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Saharial at the Terracotta Festival: Dancing Queen

This second film of the Korean Breakfast Club double bill was a comedy with a little more social punch, dealing with gender roles in Korean society, politics and show business. The story focuses on Jung-Hwa (Uhm Jung Hwa), once known as the Madonna of Shinchon, who once dreamed of being a singer before marrying her childhood friend Jung-Min (Hwang Jung-Min), whose dream of being the president had also long faded with the responsibilities of marriage and a child. Stuck in a rut they have lost touch with themselves as well as who they once were until the opportunity presents itself to them to finally fulfill the dreams they hold dear, the only problem being that one might have to sacrifice for the other.

Uhm Jung-hwa in Dancing Queen

Uhm Jung Hwa is a wonderfully versatile actress who has taken on a varied number of roles in her career ranging from the crime thriller Princess Aurora to the romantic Mr. Hong. Here in the role of Jung-Hwa she can excel as her first career is that of a K-pop dance queen, often named the Madonna of Korea. (Its actually a pet peeve of mine that Korean singers and actors often are compared to Western artists, but that’s a whole other post for another time.) In this role she has chosen she gets to show off all her skills as singer, dancer and actress and as you might have guessed, I think she did a very good job.

Hwang Jung-Min who plays her husband Jung-Min whose drama Korean Peninsula is currently airing is excellent as the often bewildered husband with excellent comic timing and expression.
It’s hard to elaborate on the story without giving too much of it away, but it did well using a more mature family unit to demonstrate the gender dynamic in a relationship rather than a young couple. Settled and yet in between the old Korea and the new, they have to examine their expectations of themselves as much as what they think is expected of them and what they really want. I know I am making the film sound more serious than it plays out, but comedy is often the best way to get a point across about a more serious truth. Dancing Queen does it well.

The soundtrack is of course catchy pop as you would expect and might just be sneaking onto my next CD order.

Lee Seok-hoon (이석훈): Dancing Queen (댄싱퀸) (2012) score-2score-2score-2score-1score-0

Originally posted on Saharial’s blog,

Dancing Queen poster

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