2019-03-26 11:39 KST  
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
What Drove the King Crazy?
[Film review]"King And The Clown" transports us to the court of Joseon's most notorious tyrant
Lee Jun Ho (junolee)     Print Article 
Published 2006-01-09 18:18 (KST)   
Korea's Joseon Dynasty was one of world history's longest, starting in 1392 as it ushered in Confucian ideals and finally collapsing with a government handover to the Japanese in 1910.

The poster of "King And The Clown"
©2006 Eagle Pictures
"King And The Clown" (2005) takes us to the court of the dynasty' most notorious tyrant, King Yeonsan, also one of two monarchs dethroned by a coup d'etat. This film focuses on the relationship between king and clown, not on the king's downfall. But Yeonsan's tyranny, which led to the coup, is a key setting of this film.

Some historians compare Yeonsan to Rome's Nero. To understand why Yeonsan (played by Jeong Jin Yeong) ruled his nation with a heavy hand, we are introduced to Jang Seng (played by Kam Woo Seung), a clown who says, "If I had known that the king is in his subjects' hands, I would have not tried to enter the palace." Yeonsan, who couldn't bare to be in this situation, solves his anxieties by slaughtering his subjects.

And like Oedipus, Alexander the Great, and Sigmund Freud's landmark analogies, we see Yeonsan's mother warring on his psyche. Jang Seng and fellow clown Gong Gil (played by Lee Joon Ki) perform a play in front of his mother in which a queen falls into a snare with the king's concubines and is later killed.

But in this story, Yeonsan's mother is the queen. After seeing the play, Yeonsan killed two concubines on the spot. According to the True Record of the Joseon Dynasty, Yeonsan slaughtered his subjects who were responsible for his mother's death.

Actor Jung Jin Young, playing King Yeonsan
©2006 Eagle Pictures
"King And The Clown" is fictitious, but the movie borrows some documented spoken lines from the True Record of the Joseon Dynasty, which records, "The clown named Gong Gil told the king, 'If the king isn't like a king, then rice isn't like rice.'" Gong Gil was promptly executed.

This film also focuses on the friendship between Jang Seng and Gong Gil. But if you don't understand Yeonsan, you may have difficulty following this film.
©2006 OhmyNews

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
  copyright 1999 - 2019 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077