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Special Features, Reviews and Comments



I) KatC Fansite Special Features & Collections


We welcome articles and write-ups to submit@wang-ui-namja.com for inclusion under our "special features and collections" for discussion. You can also go to our KatC Forum to share your thoughts.


KatC Special Features & Collections

《王的男人》 - 只是虛空 (O) [AL]    |    "King and the Clown - It is but all an illusion" (T) Coming Soon!!!

孔吉与长生 - 对于王男的理解 (O) [AL]    |   A Different Viewpoint on "King and the Clown" : Who leads and who follows (T)

《王的男人》中的东方命题 - 哲学审美与社会 :一却关乎命运 (O) [AL]    |   The Asian Concept of "Fate" in King and the Clown (T)

《王的男人》 - 淡淡的悲喜,深深的感動 (O)   |   King and the Clown : Simple Emotions, Deeply Moved (T) [Dec-08, 2006]

《王的男人》 - 王男观后感 (O)   |    What is destiny...but the choices made (T) [Dec-06, 2006]  


On-line Reviews and Collections (Click here) Now Available!!!
This is the place where we gather other reviews and viewpoints on "King and the Clown" for your pleasure reading.



II) Reviews and Comments


"The King and the Clown" - Moviehole.net (2005) [AL] - Clint Morris (added Dec-06, 2007)

The King and the Clown - Reel Affirmations 2007 [AL] - Sean Bugg (added Oct-23, 2007)

"There's so much to enjoy in King and the Clown...a moment when Gong-gil entertains the king with a puppet show...just one moment out of many in a film that stands out as a supreme work of craft...an ending that, while sad, is uplifting in its implication. The King and the Clown is a great accomplishment that shouldn't be missed." (Critic's Pick 5 out of 5)


Montreal Fantasia Film Festival 2007 - King and the Clown, The [AL] - Lorraine Carpenter (added July-28, 2007)

"The King and the Clown ties into today's socio-political climate, with themes also explored in recent Western films such as Marie Antoinette and Brokeback Mountain...director Jun-ik Lee achieves a commendable balance of drama, comedy and tragedy. And while the physicality of the central romance, and the ensuing love triangles, is almost entirely absent from the film, its emotional core is key to this universal story."

New York Asian American International Film Festival 2007 - LOVEFOOL [AL] - Pete L'Official   (added July-25, 2007)

"...the film's greatest triumph: though it has the shape of what you know to be mildly charming, thematically-challenging art-house fare, fit almost impossibly within is a well-engineered piece of pop entertainment...the figurative fine line between being risque and literally risking your neck is cleverly made literal in the film... yet KING AND THE CLOWN probes slightly deeper into the intimate dynamic between lampooner and the lampooned...the film's scorn for secrecy, and faith in the therapeutic, expressive power of artistic performance is both well-placed and comforting."


Atlanta Film Festival'07 by CinemaATL - King and the Clown [AL] - Kevin Stewart  (added July-05, 2007)
"The King and the Clown (Wang-ui Namja) directed by Lee Jun-ik gets this phrase: "the pageantry of life". The movie uses the love interest of the King to weave a tale of human activity at its most base level of political and social upheaval...it manages to intertwine this American's imagination (subtitles aside) into its allegorical webs, even while one sits thousands of miles away from its Korean audiences...magnificent delivery of the characters portrayed. You'll feel comfortable lost and found in The King and the Clown. "


2007 Insideout Gay & Lesbian Film and Video Festival - Death of a minstrel [AL]- S. James Wegg   (added July-05, 2007)
"In King and the Clown, Lee Jun-ik has a truly spectacular view of this tale of tyranny, treachery and love...every colour, fabric, musical instrument, weapon and utensil has been meticulously created, restored or polished to convincingly reconstruct the era of autocratic rule.  The cast is universally engaging...Lee Byung-woo's string-rich score, with an entrancing flute marking the beginning and end, verges on the saccharine but provides the overt passion that largely remains hidden away in the principals' inner souls. " - ****

25th SFIAAFF 2007 - King and the Clown [AL] - Jonathan L. Knapp (added May-05, 2007)

"Equal parts ribald comedy, historical epic and melodramatic love story, Lee Jun-ik's movie is popular filmmaking at its finest: ambitious, entertaining and thoughtful...A prime piece of popular entertainment, KING AND THE CLOWN succeeds as a finely tuned drama that's both funny and meaningful, offering a nuanced view of two issues that a lesser film would gloss over: free speech and homosexuality."

VCFF 2007 : Screening Room - Moving Journeys [AL] - Robert Abele (added April-30, 2007)

One of the festival's more wildly entertaining and pointed films...director Lee Jun-ik's 16th century costume drama that pits two nomadic street satirists - one a shaggy-haired grouch, the other a delicate female impersonator - against the tyrannical king they bawdily, and dangerously, mock. Before the plot gets too sexually tortuous and densely tragic, it's an exhilaratingly trenchant story about proximity to power and the lot of society's truth-tellers, not to mention the fraught implications when a mentally unhinged ruler utters the phrase, "Let's play."


The Washington DC Int'l Film Festival 2007 - King and the Clown [AL] - Eddie Cockrell (added April-06, 2007)

"Lavish and raucous, dramatic and absorbing, this rousing drama of royal skullduggery in the 16th century Chosun Dynasty appeals to a broad range of audiences...Moving from a lusty physicality in the first hour to a Hamlet-like complexity in the second, this is an ambitious, broad-ranging adventure about the have-nots thumbing their noses at the haves. "The king's bed," we're reminded, "is where the money is."


Cinema D'aujourd'hui - Festival Du Film Asiatique De Deauville 2007 [AL] - A. Barguillet (added April-06, 2007)
"Le film magnifique de Lee Jun-Ik "KING AND THE CLOWN" sortira officiellement en France en septembre prochain. Inscrivez-le d'ores et deja sur vos tablettes, car ATTENTION, chef-d'oeuvre. (Lee Jun-ik's magnificent film KING AND THE CLOWN will be officially released in France next September. Mark it here and now on your calendar: ATTENTION - masterpiece.)"


SF Int'l Asian American FF 2007 - King and the Clown [AL] - David Lamble (added Mar-17, 2007)
"Part low comedy, part tragic melodrama, this kinetically staged slice of history cooks with a surprisingly modern homo sensibility, while delivering speeches that hint of the Bard. "The world's but a stage! Kingly is he who struts for a while, then exits in style!""


The Examiner : Asian American FF kicks off 25th year [AL]- Janos Gereben (added Mar-17, 2007)

"No matter how gritty, vulgar, and violent, the film is remarkable for its storytelling, direction and the appealing performances from the large cast."


The Seoul of a newcinema at MFA 2007  [AL] - Damon Smith (added Jan-22, 2007)

"Banned in China for its risque repartee and homoerotic themes, "King" is a grittier film than its Hong Kong echo, "Farewell, My Concubine," ... Anchored by robust performances, "King" is an enthralling movie that hearkens back as much to Shakespeare and commedia dell'arte as to Korea's own cultural traditions."


KBT Presents : King and the Clown [AL] - Kurt Halfyard (added Jan-14, 2007)

"If this movie were made in English and a Hollywood studio film (not that I'm suggesting a remake, the film is universal in its appeal, but Korean at its core) it would likely get an Academy Award nomination for best picture."


"Shakespeare has never been brought to the big screen like this, and the world is a better place for it."


Asahi.com : In theaters - Movie Review [AL] - Philip Brasor (added Dec-15, 2006)

"Although occasionally crude and sentimental, "King and the Clown" is ace entertainment that has important things to say about free speech, not to mention free love. *** out of ***"


42th Chicago Int'l Film Fest. 2006  - Robert Keser (added Nov-16, 2006)

"South Korea's baldly ribald costumer King and the Clown (Wang-Ui Namja) concerns an impudent troupe of acrobats and minstrels that tweak attention by rampantly satirizing the volatile tyrant ("The king's bed is where the money is," they sing), his jealous mistress ("A whore and her tongue's work is never done") and his equally corrupt court. Making fine use of its spectacularly agile performers, the raunchy and zany first hour raises a vigorous middle finger to power and privilege with earthy double-entendres and broad caricatures and shameless slapstick, not neglecting spit takes. Cloaked in splendiferously colorful costumes, these theatricals run the gamut of performance history from tightrope walking to hand puppets and shadow plays, and finally enact a Hamlet-like demonstration of hidden motivations and murders. The film equally functions as an unstressed gay love story of unshakable devotion between an aggressive acrobat, passionate for freedom and willing to risk a flogging, and a delicate drag performer who must resist overtures from various power-brokers ("There are things you shouldn't sell"), though director Lee Jun-ik strains to negotiate the switch from comic to tragic thanks to wearyingly conventional filmmaking choices, not least the unaccountably sludgy musical score."


Alex Crawford (The Times BFI 50th London Film Fest. Review) [Link no longer available] (added Nov-16, 2006) "It's the sort of film that carries you along on its bawdy charm, it's rude and funny and crazily disrespectful, which makes it an enormous amount of fun. What surprises you is your emotional attachment to the characters by the end, which is a genuine shock. King and the Clown is a fine example of mainstream, populist filmmaking."


50th London Film Fest. 2006 [AL] - Tony Rayns
"An off-the-scale hit in Korea...this vivid historical drama pushes some very unexpected buttons...Lee Jun-ik (hitherto better known as a producer) gets spirited performances from his cast and stages and cuts with great brio. In many ways, the film that Farewell, My Concubine wanted to be."


2006 Toronto Film Fest. - Ken Rudolph (added Nov-16, 2006)
"This is an extremely well done Korean historical film in the vein of the Chinese film Farewell My Concubine. Actually, I think it's a superior film. It concerns an actual 16th century king, a tyrant who is ultimately deposed. The king falls for a member of an itinerant troupe of clowns and acrobats whose act satirizes and scandalizes the aristocracy of the court...The object of his affection is a beautiful boy with skin smoother than his own lady concubine. The costumes and sets are superb and the film is a delight. *** 1/4 out of ****."


TIFF 2006 Discovery Preview [AL] - Matthew
"This has been referred to as the Korean Brokeback Mountain already and probably will be many times yet, but that is in fact a terrible disservice, as itís actually a far more subtle, deeper film than that...the film is shot and staged utterly beautifully, in particular the captivating scenes of Jang-seng and Gong-gil's performances..."


25th Vancouver Int'l Film Fest. 2006 - Tony Rayns
"...I think it's rather wonderful that a film as simple as this did better than those blockbuster films with very big stars, huge production budgets, lots of special effects and all the stuff that is supposed to make a hit these days."


Toronto International Film Fest.2006 [AL] - Giovanna Fulvi
"The unusual outfit of a period drama cloaks South Korea's all-time box office record breaker, King and the Clown. Lee Jun-ik's film wins the audience's heart with pristine performances elicited from a charged, charming script..."


DVD Times [AL] - Noel Megaheye
"What the film most successfully achieves however...is the power of art and drama to express emotions and communicate with audiences important messages about life, love and politics...The King and The Clown is all about entertainment and entertain is just what the film does...For two hours the superbly paced King and the Clown is utterly gripping and as pure an entertainment as you are likely to see. It mixes comedy and tragedy, action and adventure, drama and political intrigue, into a moving story of an unusual friendship that never falters and never fails to convince."


(2005 Korean Film Reviews) (Ohmynews.com) [AL] -Darcy Paquet
"The closing days of 2005 saw the debut of a rather different sort of Korean blockbuster.  King and the Clown, with its lack of star casting, its period setting, its focus on the traditional arts, and an obvious gay subtext...despite screening at the same time as big budget films Typhoon, Blue Swallow and King Kong, this was the movie that got young viewers excited and talking during the winter vacation..."


Leonard Klady (moviecitynews.com) [Link no longer available] - "...based on a true life ruler's infatuation with a group of street performers. The film has a nice ragged energy with the traveling players providing the humor and acrobatics against the backdrop of rather fierce political intrigue."


Seoulstyle Film Review [AL] - "...a historical drama which has the same cinematic beauty as Untold Scandal or Farewell my Concubine, with the added bonus of a unique plot and highly talented actors."


Richard Lim Jr. (MovieExclusive.com) [AL] "...On one hand, it had an ambiguous love story between two male clowns and another it has a emotional power struggle in the kingdom which made it an interesting combo for a film."


Derek Elley (Variety.com) [AL] - "A B.O. sensation in South Korea, 16th-century costumer "King and the Clown" is a well acted but extremely talky dramedy about amorous jealousies between a king, his lady and two male traveling performers."


Comments at IMDB [AL]
"I highly recommend this movie. I watched it with high expectations, and it exceeded them. It is heartrending, touching, profound, and comedic in parts."


"...it truly delivers the goods in the form of a highly original, intelligent, sensible, and engrossing script as well as truly compelling acting."


"I knew this movie was extremely popular in South Korea, but I never had a chance to watch it until today. And I am very glad to report that it exceeded my already high expectations. Not so many excellent movies draw my full attention from the beginning; they tend to pull me in toward the climax. With this movie, I found myself completely immersed after the first few minutes."


"This is an amazing film, it has everything in it, the visuals are beautiful, the soundtrack fits the film perfectly and the acting is amazing! ...all in all I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS FILM ENOUGH!"


"Well I had seen commentary about this one several weeks ago and at last got to see it last night. It was actually so good that the action alone could carry most of the story since I did not understand the dialog."

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