Friday, May 11, 2012

A brief review of The King and the Clown (2005)

The story of two performers who, after getting in trouble in the country, head for Seoul. They  hook up with a local Seoul theatrical troop and meet success lampooning the king. When they are brought before an official who wants to execute them, they plead their case and ask to play before the king. They insist that they will make the king laugh...They do, and in the process find that they have entered a minefield as the mandate to entertain the king also puts them into the middle of court intrigue and sends shock waves through their everyone's personal lives.

This really good drama is not what I expected. I was expecting something a tad more humorous than what a got. Yes the film is funny, but this is a a mix of genres, comedy, drama, political intrigue and romance that will touch the heart and the head. As the film and the destiny of the two actors played out I found I was touched by their fates. At the same time it raised many things I'm still pondering, such as how we are tied to our parents, the place of political satire in a dictatorship, and any number of questions concerning the heart.

I'm sorry if that sounds a bit conflicted, but this is the sort of film that hits you from all angles making it difficult to instantly process what you've just seen. Sitting at home watching the film on an import DVD, I found that I need to just sit and reflect about the film and the characters, I wanted to just sit and let the credits role while I pondered it all and collected myself. Sadly I was interrupted by my dad who came in and wanted to catch the end of the Met game. I gave up the TV and then scooted off to try and piece it all together in a post. What I could piece together is what you're reading.

Honestly I should have rearranged my schedule and went to the Korean Cultural Service screening Tuesday night. Part of it is that I could have sat and pondered this great film before being forcibly moved to the next thing. Another part of it is because this is a great spectacle. Seriously this is a great looking film with lots of wonderful sets and costumes, not only on those in the court of the King but also on the performers who provide a catalog of various theatrical motifs to put on their plays (circus,masks, puppets).

I really like this film a great deal. Its a film that has moved me. You really should make the effort to see it. While I don't think it's going to be on my best of the year list,  I do suspect that it's going to be one that hangs with me for a while, as well as one I revisit.

This is playing Tuesday. Do yourself a favor head down to the Tribeca cinemas and see this.

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