The King and the Clown

Watch The King and the Clown

"Forbidden desire, sumptuous tragedy."
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 1 hr 59 min
  • 7.3  (5,891)

The King and the Clown is a 2005 South Korean historical drama film directed by Joon-ik Lee. It tells the story of two clowns, Jang-sang and Gong-gil, who perform for the King and end up getting caught in a web of palace intrigue. Set in the Joseon Dynasty in the late 15th century, the film follows the two performers as they travel from town to town, entertaining audiences with their acrobatics, music, and comedy. Jang-sang is the more ambitious of the two, constantly looking for opportunities to increase their fame and fortune, while Gong-gil is more introspective and psychically gifted as a transvestite.

One day, they are invited to perform at the royal palace for the King, who is known for his fondness for the arts. Their performance is a great success, and they are invited to perform again. However, they soon discover that there is more to their invitation than meets the eye.

The King, who is married to a cold and indifferent queen, becomes infatuated with Gong-gil, finding his beauty and grace irresistible. As the two clowns become embroiled in the intrigue and politics of the palace, they start to realize that they are in danger and that their lives may be at risk.

The film deftly explores themes of power, lust, love, and loyalty. The performances of Woo-seong Kam as Jang-sang and Jin-young Jung as Gong-gil are nothing short of exceptional. They capture the sense of desperation and fleeting hope that comes with their journey.

Seong-Yeon Kang also turns in a remarkable performance as the queen, who may be more than meets the eye. Her presence in the film is subtle yet powerful, and she delivers some of the most memorable scenes in the film.

The King and the Clown is a gorgeously shot film, with the rich colors and textures of traditional Joseon Dynasty costumes and sets. Besides the beautiful Cinematography, the film also features outstanding music compositions and acrobatic performances by the actors themselves.

Despite being a historical drama, the film is surprisingly modern in its approach. It deconstructs the concept of masculinity and femininity, explores the emotional complexity of love, and examines the conflicts between sexuality, duty, and identity that are still relevant today.

Overall, The King and the Clown is a remarkable film that combines stunning visuals, exceptional performances, and a nuanced exploration of human nature. It is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that will stay with you long after the final credits roll. The movie also became a roaring commercial success, and it received numerous domestic and international awards for best film, direction, and acting.

The King and the Clown
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 59 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (5,891)