Words from the Webmaster
    -  Soonlan aka Nslan (
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Call for Contribution :

Hi Wangnam fans and non-fans alike,

Finally, after much toiling and many sleepless nights, our unofficial fansite www.wang-ui-namja.com (www.king-and-the-clown.com) was launched online on October 29th, 2006! Three cheers for us!!!

This website was set-up to champion the South Korean film “King and the Clown” (Wang-ui namja) produced and directed by Lee Joon-ik.

More than a simple tale of the relationship between a king and his royal clowns, the movie craft-fully blends in many other subtexts (life, love, politics, fate, etc) making it a much subtle and deeper film. Not only is the film highly entertaining but it also gives different experiences to different people at the same time.

Through our website, we hope to share the multiple facets of this movie with the world. To do so, we need your generous help and supports to contribute original and/or good articles and write-ups on the movie. These can be analytical pieces, reviews, after-thoughts or just about anything that might be of interest. Please send to us at submit@wang-ui-namja.com.

We prefer the submissions to be in English (Translation is acceptable with the consent of the original author) as we only have limited translation resources. However, if you would like to assist us with the translation, please also feel free to contact us at contact@wang-ui-namja.com.

Once again, we are counting on your continuous supports and contributions to make our site an invaluable resource for the “King and the Clown”.
 


Yours sincerely,
Soonlan (aka Nslan)
Webmaster
(nslan@wang-ui-namja.com)
WWW.wang-ui-namja.com
Unofficial Fansite for “King and the Clown” (Wang-ui-namja)
(Co-founders : Lady Wakasa and Majou)
 

-- Nov. 10, 2006


Quote :

The "King and the Clown" (or Wang-ui namja) is one very unique kind of film. It is multi-faceted and presents different themes to difference people. Not only that, it offers a different experience every time you watch it."

-- Nslan (Oct. 22, 2006)


Review/Comment :

King & the Clown : An earthy feast for the eyes, an emotional trip for the heart, a re-awakening for the soul

1500s Joseon Dynasty Korea, two street entertainers or clowns are on the run after an unfortunate fatal fallout with their troupe leader. They decided to head to Seoul (or Han-yang, as it was called at that time) to make their fortune. Upon their arrival, the disarming self-confidence Jang-saeng (played by Gam Woo-sung) hits upon the idea of performing a vulgar skit that satirizes the king and his famous concubine Nok-soo, which brings them lot of fame and piles of cash but also get them arrested for insulting the king. By a twist of event, they escape execution and are instead installed as court jesters. When his deliciously feminine younger partner (who play the woman to his man in the comic skits) Gong-gil (played by relative new comer Lee Joon-ki) starts receiving urgent summonses from the king (played by Jung Jin-young) for private performances, all hell breaks loose from the court ministers to the jealous concubine.

Never pretending to be perfect, this uniquely outstanding film surpassed expectation in term of storytelling (A job well done by Director Lee Joon-ik!). The film, with “seeming” gay subtext, is in fact multi-faceted mixing comedy, tragedy, romance, political intrigue and much more to tell a tale of social inequality, life hardship, fate and destiny but more importantly human choices and soul-awakening. Brilliant and captivating performances from all around (especially enjoyable are the skit plays and emotive displays between Jang-saeng and Gong-gil) will keep you entertained and glued for 2 hours. If you are expecting more, not to worry, there are enough themes and hidden ideas behind the emotions and actions to satisfy any craving. A very unique film in its own right.

 

-- Nslan (Oct. 10, 2006)


The “King and the Clown” is certainly one movie that has no big stars, no lavish sets and no special effects to sell. The art direction is not perfect, the costumes and the script are nothing as majestic or marvelously sophisticated as some of today’s so-called mega-productions, the sound tracks do not impress on their own, yet the show is still very mesmerizing because it draws on one straightforward fact which many producers and directors have clearly forgotten – good storytelling.

First, “King and the Clown” draws you in with a very captivating and controversy storyline (It seems to be a love story with a twist – a king and his favorite clown who happens to be deliciously feminine). Then, it engages you with intense characters portrayed by equally talented actors (Jung Jin-young and Gam Woo-sung are awfully convincing as the “insane” Yeosan and “Gung-ho” Jang-saeng although undeniably it is Lee Joon-ki as Gong-gil who is stealing the show with the kind of effeminate beauty that charms women and intrigues men and that truly unforgettable innocent of smile more beautiful than any woman). All the characters in the film are essentially multi-dimensional with complex personality. Strong characterization, very good acting coupled with a tight story development makes the story fly. Everything else simply blends in to make it a unique film…one which I have not seen or been inspired in a very long time. It is totally engaging and well-worth 2-hrs of entertainment.

For first watch, “King & The Clown” is easy enough to follow (even without sub-titles) and not too complex as entertainment. Yet, at the same time, there are always something new and interesting to be discovered for those who wanted something more (It’s not what happened or shown but what’s hidden behind that e.g. the “I’m here, you’re there” scene between Jang-saeng & Gong-gil, the puppet play by Gong-gil, the scar on Jang-saeng’s face, etc), making it re-watchable again and again. While leaving a lot of space to the imagination, the "King and the Clown” gives enough hints to guide you towards its central theme, that of fate and self-identity. It is a film that is multilayered – a comedy, a tragedy, a romance, a political drama and more added together. There is humor, love, loyalty, jealousy, betrayal, sacrifice and more. Basically, there are enough diverse elements to appeal to anyone.

Many online reviewers have classified this film under the category of a gay-themed movie, which is not only a huge disservice to the show but also to audiences. It also does not do the film any justice to be compared with Lee Ang’s Brokeback Mountain or Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine. While there is some similar undertone, there are more facets than this and the central theme of fate/destiny and finding/knowing one's identity as a person first and foremost and how that is defined through one’s relationship with another…something which everyone can relates to...can only be slowly savored like a glass of good wine.

In short, the “King and the Clown” is not perfect and never pretends to be one. Nevertheless, it is an exceptionally inspiring and unique film not seen in a long time. Miss it at your own loss.

 

-- Nslan (Sept'06)


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