Saturday, January 13, 2007

About Untold Scandal

Camille posted her nice translation of a movie review about Untold Scandal by a French journalist. We got the link but I still want to paste it here for my own record. Thanks Camille!

Meanwhile, enjoy the youtube link of the movie teaser for Untold Scandal (Thanks bb for always ready to feed us the right info at the right time). It IS kinda kinky. BYJ in the art of seducing, kkhhmmm ... he did a great job! It's interesting to think that after watching every role he played, I would ask myself who else could have play it better and I would always find the same answer that no one else would be able to replace him! I think his performance in Untold Scandal is fantastic, exceptional! But I won't be able to watch it as many times as I watched the Winter Sonata, though he performed equally superb in both. On candid thoughts of comparing the contents of the works he involved, let's just compare the two movies he played, I think Untold Scandal surpassed April Snow in storyline and the morality it tried to convey.


This French review of Untold Scandal was written by a journalist who saw the movie when it was showing as the closing movie at Deauville Asian festival 2004.
A small translation about the part related to Yong Joon’s acting was posted on Quilt freeboard with the help of our dear Bae sis Helen long time ago.

This article is quite long, so I just translate the last part which relates really to the movie to share it again with our Bae sis newbies. Because the author uses some French words difficult for me to translate, please don’t mind my English.

From :
Translated from French to English by Camille

Omit …. Le roman ayant, comme vous le constatez,

The novel, as you see, having travelled a lot, took time to make a stopover in Korea and felt into the hands of people, finally well attentive. A new adaptation, a new context, a new breath, a new life within a new period with beautiful vistas from the country of the calm morning as background.

“With the sun, I tried to forget the truth… I believed I’ve succeeded…”

Korea, end of the dynasty Chosun (18th century), Lady Cho and Cho Won, two high society dignitaries, live for only one thing : the competition in love, competition of senses, passions, seduction, sex. This competition is so far very fierce, as it exists between them a true attraction. So, whereas he is immortalising his last sexual partner on art prints, Cho is asked to join as fast as possible Lady Cho, the tricky manipulator… He comes quickly, showing a victorious grin which will not leave him any more during the whole movie. Once more their meeting finishes in a challenge, or rather a double challenge, whose first price is an entire and torrid night, in the arms and legs of Lady Cho. First of all, Cho Won is challenged to seduce and especially deflower the future concubine of Lady Cho’s husband. And at the same time, and this is the real challenge, he has to seduce Lady Chung, a widow who lives recluse since the death of her husband, which occurred nine years ago.

Convinced of an easy victory, regarding to the first part of the challenge, Cho’s attention goes totally to the pure Lady Chung. His tactic is simple: to find which are the occupations and the interests of his prey and to adhere to it with all his energy. But here, since the death of her husband, Lady Chung became an enthusiastic practising catholic. The Korean government (at this time) was against the development of such a religion, the practicing meet in secrecy, at the night time ..... Blinded by his pride of a chronic seducer, Cho braves the interdict and attends the religious ceremonies, with the only purpose to draw her attention. He will even give very generous donations to the church, with a false discretion. Quickly he manages to introduce himself…

“The dead water of the pool reflects the horrible truth. I am alone… she was dead. ”

Adaptation very high on colours, this Untold Scandal draws its extraordinary force from well ordered minds of director E-J Yong. Director of several short films in 1991, with the very great Homo Videocus, and Tales of a City, a very serious documentary, E-J Yong changes to feature film with An Affair in 1998 (shown on French Arte channel before the DVD release a few months later). Since it, we will have to wait two years to see Asako in Ruby Shoes released on the screens.

It’s during the shooting of An Affair that E-J Yong had the idea to give the role of Lady Cho to Lee Mi-Sook. Moreover in an interview, E-J Yong confesses that when he’s listening to a baroque music that he wondered how such a sonority could give to the images of a period drama. When later he intended to adapt once again the epistolary novel of Laclos, all the ingredients were put together.

Untold Scandal is initially the story of a man, Cho, whose belonging to the high society could open the doors of an important decision-maker place in the government, but who prefers to seduce all the women within his reach. However this libertine behaviour only requires to dissolve, and he needs to have the contact, then the separation and finally the distance with Lady Cho to crack and to break it. Because even if Cho Won believes that he knows all about love, we’re allowed to think that he unconsciously gets confused between carnal love and true and complete love. Unconsciously because Cho is persuaded of two things. First, he is sure to know how to distinguish everything and to realize the difference between sexual surrender and sentimental surrender. And in the other hand; he is convinced that he is the only one who remains master of his feelings and the direction he wishes them to take. And he is very mistaken. Initially on what he feels for the manipulator Lady Cho, without speaking about her true intentions that he did not know to foresee. He also makes a mistake in the fact that he believes on his capacity to manipulate the young Soh-Ok. But his biggest error was not to believe in love although he held it several times in his arms by the person of Lady Chung. This Cho is definitely very lonely in the middle of his belief.

A death struggle can only exists if there is more than one person and face to him, Cho-Won confronts a great adversary, as it is his puppy love – as he believes, the cold beauty Lady Cho. So this married woman has only two purposes in her life: to prevent her husband to enjoy for the umpteenth time a defloration, due to the purchase of a concubine for the umpteenth time; and to reject for the last time Cho’s advances by an evasion disguised into challenge, which she knows he won’t refuse. As scheming as she was, Lady Cho had never envisaged the love idyll between Cho and Lady Chung. In the bottom of her heart, she always thought that Cho belonged to her although their relation was never physical. We must understand one thing. Cho Won and Lady Cho are a false couple. They know each other for years, get around since many time, using each one all their capacity of seduction. But unconsciously (once again) they know perfectly that their relation will remain platonic and I think that only Cho is a little aware about it as he will refuse her, and if it exists one thing that a person can’t refuse to Lady Cho, it is a nocturnal fluids exchange.

And I would finish on a last audacious thought, a very personal interpretation of the character of Madam de Merteuil/Lady Cho. And if in all her calculations Lady Cho had finally planned for the tragic end of Cho Won? And if all this was only an enormous masquerade which the only purpose is to divert our attention from the real desire of Lady Cho : to liberate herself from the Man? Of course with her sexual liberation and her numerous unfaithfulness towards her husband, she is somehow out of the influence of the men, as it is her who chooses which one will share her bed. But it is only a superficial liberation, because at the moment her husband wishes to have another mistress, she puts all her efforts not for getting rid of, but indeed to remove from him the joy of quiverings from a young virgin under his caresses, which is a rather nasty kind of vice. She also believes in her capacity to control her story. Of course I conceive that such a supposition would throw away the very particular machiavellism which characterizes Lady Cho. But I can’t stop myself from thinking that this woman, as bad as she is, remains tragically attaching… maybe because she did not live in a period which would fit her the most.

As you’ve seen, this Untold Scandal is so far an affair of seduction, of pride mingled with desire. But this quiet scandal constitutes a new way of considering Korean historical film. From the quality of its photography (thanks to M.Kim Byung Il) and the incredible soundtrack made by Cho Sung-Woo, Untold Scandal is simply a perfect and beautiful film. Their pictorial's qualities come to the never seen as the symbiosis between the decoration and the costume is complete. Moreover the costume designer and the decorator chief are the same person: Ku-Ho Jung. Because after all, what gets together the most than the decors and costumes on screen, especially when the movie is a period drama as sparkling and coloured as the Chosun era?

With regard to the casting, the palm undoubtedly goes to Bae Yong-Jun (Cho-Won), who managed to control the play of glance like any other actor on Earth. Every time he meets a woman, he has a glance which means two things. In the case of a lady that he knows, it is: “we have already sex together” and “it’s not too bad”. And in the case of a lady that he meets for the first time, it is: “nice to meet you, I will come between 20h to 5h if it’s convenient to you”. God what an actor - and what a movie !!!

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