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"Yi" ("You") - The Original Stage Play

The play is based on a small passage from the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty that briefly mentions the exchange of words between Yeonsan-gun and his favorite clown, Gong-gil.


[More info on "Yi" needed & welcomed]



"King and the Clown" Historical & Cultural Background

  •  Joseon Dynasty

The Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) was founded in the aftermath following the overthrow of the Goryeo Dynasty. It was the longest ruling Confucian Dynasty in Korea. It was also Korea's last royal dynasty as well. The Joseon Dynasty ended with the annexation of Japan in 1910 when Korea was illegally sold off by a corrupt Korean official.


The Joseon period was dominated by a very strict caste system. At the top of the system was the king. This was followed by the yangbans, government officials and generals below him. Yangbans were influential Confucian scholars during the period. The middle class consisted mainly of merchants and craft-workers such as blacksmiths, shoemakers, etc. The bulk of the social system was in the lowest class of farmers and slaves. Slaves made up 30% of the population.


The modern face of Korea is very much influenced by the traditional thought pattern that originated from this period - including much of today's Korean etiquette, cultural norms, societal attitudes towards current issues, and even the modern Korean language and its dialects.

[more info at wiki]

  •  The True Story of King Yeonsan (Yeonsan-gun)

Yeonsan-gun (1476-1506, r.1494-1506), born Yi Yoong, was the tenth ruler of Korea's Joseon Dynasty. He was the eldest son of King Seongjong by his second wife, Lady Yun. He is remembered in history for his cruel and licentious behavior. He launched two massive purges on the seonbi elite, setting off a cycle of revenge that lasted for fifty years. He is also remembered for seizing thousands of women from various provinces to serve as palace entertainers and reducing the Seonggyungwan hall of study to a personal pleasure ground.

His biological mother, Lady Yun served Yeonsan-gun's father, King Seongjong, as a concubine until the death of his first wife. With no royal heir, the king was urged to take Lady Yun as a second wife to secure the royal succession in 1476. Several months later, she gave birth to her first son, Yi Yoong. The new queen was highly jealous of Seongjong's concubines, stooping to poisoning one in 1477. In 1479, she physically struck the king one night which lead King Seongjong's mother, Queen Insu, to order her into exile. Later, she was arranged to be poisoned by government officials.

The crown prince grew up to succeed King Seongjong in 1494. In 1498, upon learning about the truth nature of his mother’s death, the king went on a rampant to arrest and put to death the many officials who supported the idea of executing his mother – this incident was called the First Literati Purge. In 1504, he killed two of his father's concubines and his grandmother, Queen Insu and many more Confucian scholars who had urged King Seongjong to depose his mother — the Second Literati Purge. In 1506, a group of minority officials plotted against the despotic ruler, deposing and replacing him with his half-brother, Jungjong. The king was demoted to prince and sent into exile. Yeonsan-gun died in exile the same year. Because he was overthrown, Yeonsan-gun never received an official post-humane title as King.

[more info at wiki on Yeonsan-gun]

[more info at asianinfo-org on the Literati Purge]

  •  Korean Traditional Folk and Jester Culture

Orum or Chul-tagi/Jultagi or Funambulism - also known as slack-rope walking in English. Here, a performer demonstrates a variety of movements (jumping, dancing, etc) across a rope strung 3m above the ground using a huge fan for balancing, while engaging in running dialogues with his companions at the same time.

Totpogi - a form of masked dance drama founded throughout Korea. It is also known traditionally as "peoples' art" which uses witty dialogues, music, dance and drama to take a humorous and satirical look at society.

Deolmi/Tolmi - Korean's only puppet play. It uses fingers to move the nape of the puppets to tell funny stories and songs.

Pungmul - a type of group performance shown at the beginning of the film and also the climax of any Namsadang. It is usually performed by about 20-30 people using small & big gongs, hourglass and barrel drums, hand-held drums and conical flutes.

The Namsadang (literally meaning 'male-temple-players') is both a festival and a name for itinerant performing troupe. Generally comprising of both men and boys, it was founded at the end of the Joseon Dynasty. It originated at Cheongryeong Temple in Anseong and thus is also called Anseong Namsadang. It was Korea's first professional itinerant entertainment troupe performing dances, songs and acrobatics for the common folks in marketplaces and villages, usually accompanied by patter and banter with the audience

During the reign of Hungseon Daewon-gun, an extraordinary 15-year-old woman, known as Baudeogi, lead the Anseong Namsadang to achieve its greatest artistic triumphs. After a performance at the rebuilding of Gyeongbokkung Palace in Seoul, she was conferred the rank of third grade government official by the regent. Henceforth, the Anseong Namsadang also became known as Baudeogi. During the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945), this troupe was nearly disbanded and traditional folk arts nearly wipe out by the Japanese colonial government's deliberate policy of cultural obliteration. Fortunately in 1982 a group of pungmul musicians formed the Namsadang Preservation Society for the purpose of reviving all the original elements of Anseong Namsadang.

The actors for the film was trained by the "Anseong Namsadang Baudeogi" a performing troupe on the above Korean traditional folk arts. More information can be found at the troupe's English Website.

Samulnori (Percussion-based Gukak / Traditional Korean Music)
The actors for the film were trained by "Noreum Machi" a Samulnori troupe. There are basically four instruments in Samulnori: a 장구 (Jangu, the big 'hourglass drum'), 꽹과리 (Ggwaenggwari, the little gong), 징 (Jing, the bigger gong) and finally the 북 (Buk, the frame drum).

[Contributions for this section needed and welcomed]



9th Festival Du Film Asiatique De Deauville (France) 2007

Lotus Du Jury (Grand Prix Jury Prize)


Cape Town World Cinema Festival (CTWCF) 2006

Best Feature Film Awards Winner

Best Screenplay Winner, Choi Suk-hwan and Kim Tae-woong


Korea 27th Blue Dragon Film Awards 2006

Best Music Winner, Lee Byong-woo
Most Popular Star W
inners, Lee Jun-ki & Kang Sung-yeon

Best On-Screen Performing Couple Award - Karm Woo-sung & Lee Jun-ki


Korea Film Awards 2006

Best New Actor Winner, Lee Jun-ki


Korea 14th Chunsa Film Festival 2006

Best Leading Actor, Karm Woo-sung

Best Supporting Actor, Jang Hang-seon


Korean 42nd Baeksang (Paeksang) Film Festival Arts Awards 2006

Judges Special Film Awards Winner

Best New Actor Winner, Lee Jun-ki


Korean 43rd Dae-Jong Award  2006

Best Film Winner

Best Director Winner

Best Script Winner

Best Photography Winner

Best Actor Winner, Karm Woo-sung

Best Supporting Actor Winner, Yoo Hae-jin
Best New Actor Winner, Lee Jun-ki


Show Times
Original Release date in South Korea : December 29, 2005
South Korea Box Office : 12,300,000 admissions


Release Date in Canada : September 07, 2006 (Vancouver/Toronto Film Festival)

Release Date in France : April 01, 2007 (Deauville Film Festival) / Theatre Release January 23, 2008

Release Date in Germany : November 14, 2007 (Verzaubert Film Festival)

Release Date in Italy : March 30, 2007 (Florence Film Festival)

Release Date in Japan : October 21, 2006 (Tokyo Film Festival) / December 09, 2006 (Theatre Release)

Release Date in New Zealand : December 01, 2006 (Film Festival)
Release Date in Russia : August 23, 2007
(The Festival of The Korean Cinema Moscow)

Release Date in Singapore : June 22, 2006 (Theatre Release)

Release Date in South Africa : November 14, 2006 (Cape Town Film Festival)

Release Date in Spain : September 16, 2007 (6 Festival Asia 2007 Barcelona)

Release Date in Taiwan :May 12, 2006 (Theatre Release)

Release Date in United Kingdom : October 29, 2006 (London Film Festival)

Release Date in USA : On Film Festival Activities, refer to Events and News / Expected Theatre Release in Late September/Early October 2007 postponed

Release Date in Vietnam : May 31, 2007 (Vietnam Film Festival)




Available at yesasia.com.

Available at dvdasian.com.
Available at dvdfromkorea.com.
Available at dvdheaven.com.
Available at hanbooks.com.
Available at hkflix.com.
Available at seoulselection.com.

Available at www.ezydvd.com.au.


VCD/DVD Release Version & Date :
Korea VCD/Code-3 DTS Version & Special Ltd Edition DTS (out-of-print)  by Cinema Service/Art Service Korea (in Korean with Korean/English subtitle) : Released Sept 11 & July 21, 2006.

Singapore VCD/Code-3 DVD Version  (in Korean/Mandarin with English/Chinese subtitle) by Poh Kim Video Pte Ltd : Released July 20  & Aug 07, 2006.

China Code-0 DVD-5/DVD-9 Version (in Korean/Mandarin with English/Chinese/Korean subtitle) by Weikai/Guang Dong Face : Released 2006.

Taiwan Code-3 DVD Version  (in Korean with English/Chinese subtitle) by Basic Entertainment Co. Ltd : Released Oct 05, 2006.

Hong Kong VCD/Code-3 DVD Version (in Korean/Cantonese with English/Chinese subtitle) by CN Entertainment Ltd : Released Mar 02, 2007.

Japan Code-2 Standard and Collector DVD Edition (in Korean/Japanese with Japanese subtitle) : Release April 17, 2007.

Australia Code-4 DVD Version (in Korean with English subtitle) by Madman : Released September 12, 2007. (MA15+ Rating)



Reference Terms

Pyein - a Korean word roughly meaning 'the addicted'.

Wang-nam Pyein /《王男废人》meaning extremist fan of "Wang-ui namja".


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