Korean Gay-Themed King and the Clown Submitted to Oscars
South Korea has chosen the gay-themed The King & The Clown as its official submission for Best foreign Language Film at this year's Academy Awards:
"Lee Jun-Ik's film about an effeminate male clown caught between the affections of a 16th-century tyrannical king and the love of a fellow performer, became the unexpected all-time highest-grossing film in the republic early this year - it was reported that one in four South Koreans saw it in cinemas."
The King & The Clown received much hype last year not only because of its high box office but because its gay theme is something of an anomaly in Asian cinema. Gay Korean actor Hong Suk-Chun was quoted as saying, "While I was sitting in the theater, I thought, Oh, my god, director Lee, thank you so much."
And because it came out shortly following the massive attention that greeted the success of Brokeback Mountain, many in the media compared it to that. However, one Towleroad commenter responded that those comparisons are unwarranted:
"As an expat living in Korea for my 5th year, partnered with a Korean and on a first name basis with Hong Sukchun, I feel like I really should comment...the attention 'The King and His Clown' is getting as this 'gay' movie is misplaced. I've seen the movie and it's beautiful and really interesting but unfortunately NOT a gay movie. Based on a true story, King Yongun does a number of violent and bizarre actions. Watch the movie to learn about Korean history and culture. But if you watch it hoping to see the Korean version of Brokeback Mountain, take it from me, you'll be sorely disappointed."