Untold Scandal (2003)

Posted By: TinyBear
Untold Scandal (2003)

Scandal - Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa – Untold Scandal (2003)
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Language: Korean | Subtitle: English/Korean/Japanese Included | 2h 4mn | 604.93MB | 3% Recovery
Genre: Drama | 6 wins & 3 nominations.
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10 (1,440 users)

Director: Je-yong Lee
Based on the novel 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses,' this film is set in aristocratic 18th-century Korea at the end of the Chosun Dynasty. The irresistible temptress Lady Cho asks her cad of a younger cousin, Jo-won, to deflower the innocent young Soh-ok, who is to become her husband's concubine. But, his attentions soon shift to the graceful and aloof Lady Sook, who lives according to her convictions as a Catholic. Jo-won becomes obsessed with seducing this chaste woman who has remained celibate for nine years since her husband's death. However, conquering the most virtuous woman in the land proves to be more difficult than Chosun's notorious playboy expects.

An IMDb Review: Best All-Around Adaptation of "Les Liaisons dangereuses":
"Untold Scandal (Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa)" is the best all-around adaptation of "Les Liaisons dangereuses."

Others have struck the right note with singular elements, but went flat on others. This has terrific, believable, very attractive casting – from the young love-struck innocents to the older central cynics; an appropriate mise en scene of a rigid society with strict, hypocritical rules about women's behavior, here 18th century Korea; the epistolary format of the original to drive the machinations, helped by beautiful calligraphy and even writing positions; a varying tone that ranges from Shakespearean romantic comic bashing of human foibles to the diabolical thrusts that playing with people's hearts can really hurt, particularly communicated through the changing tone of the music.

This very frank version is particularly good at closely examining the full ramifications of lust vs. love, chastity vs. celibacy, experience vs. naivete, foreplay vs. consummation, and of course, men vs. women. This is a battle of the sexes with a lot of sex.

While it is a bit slow, the lush costumes, production design and settings fill the eye.

Though the opening credits are translated into English, the closing ones aren't – but you must stay past them as the plot concludes devilishly with closing images that demonstrate that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I wasn't sure about the accuracy of the English subtitles in describing the familial relationships among the characters as I was a bit confused about who was an in-law of whom how.
Untold Scandal (2003)