London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

King and the Clown screens at the KCC

The KCC’s next screening is King and the Clown, on 9 April, Maundy Thursday. As always, preregistration is required. Synopsis below.


The story of the film focuses on a pair of clowns who perform comic plays, songs, and acrobatic tricks for aristocrats and commoners during the Joseon Dynasty.

Jangsaeng, played by Kam Woo-seong (Spider Forest), possesses a disarming self-confidence and disrespect for authority that is likely to get him into trouble one day. Konggil, portrayed by Lee Joon-ki (Flying Boys), plays the woman to Jangsaeng’s man in the comic skits they perform. Konggil also possesses a certain self-confidence and grace that turns him into an object of fascination and desire for the pair’s aristocratic patrons. In contrast to his later relationship with the insane King Yonsan, romantic tension between Konggil and Jangseung is strongly implied, but never explicitly confirmed.

After the two arrive in the capital Seoul (or Hanyang, as it is called at the time), the entrepreneurial Jangsaeng hits upon the idea of performing a skit that satirizes the king and his famous concubine Noksu. The somewhat lewd and hilarious parody earns them quick fame and piles of cash, but before long they wind up in chains at the feet of the king himself. Though the plot is solid, the film’s real highlight is the play-acting by the two clowns.


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