Tuesday, January 31, 2006

my untold scandal

patience is not the best of my god given virtues and by becoming a byj fan, it is seriously putting me to the test.

it has been quite a while since yong joon made his public appearance & i'm definitely not counting his 2006 greeting in kob coz he was just sitting there, the reception of the vod in my pc is not that clear and its so darn fleeting ! i like watching yong joon when he's on the move. i like the graceful strides of those long legs, the elegant turns of that manly torso....& those big capable hands...i simply want to have a longer glimpse....a full back & frontal body glimpse.

so, i guess it will still be a few more agonizing weeks of waiting, and its time for my plan B again...while waiting, do something... in 2 words, continue blogging..

now, this definitely sounds pretty corny but i just realized another french connection to yong joon.what else but his debut film Untold Scandal!! well...ok....i'm trying to sound surprise here!!! as every warm blooded byj fan and die hard korean movie fanatics know, this film was based on the classic 1782 French epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos (1741-1803). once again, i will try to do a very quick trip down memory lane to have an overview on this famous piece that somehow made an indirect association to the acting career of yong joon.

though its 2 years behind, this will also be some kind of a homage to Untold Scandal since i was not yet around & missed the fun when its success was celebrated by byj fans & the fact that its also one of my favorite films!! obviously, i like the daring performance of yong joon in this film.i think he brought elegance & humor to the character of Cho Won/Valmont and he was such a suave and poised playboy !! and i also like the performances of the two lead female actors.

the film in its entirety is an artistic experience for me and in particular, i love the exquisite art design, the unique & impeccable baroque music, the stunning cinematography. i've seen the film a number of times and it always amazes me whenever i see its visual elegance, those gorgeous period costumes, the lush but subtle colors of the characters. actually, while watching the film, it feels like you're watching a living painting, as if you're walking through a mural breathing with life....so tantalizing^^

i came on board as a byj fan long after the hoopla on Untold Scandal but i was able to catch up with the readings of all the movie related news articles, interviews, watched the vods & got to know how yong joon landed this role, the hardships he went through to capture the very essence of the character of cho won. i guess the koreans were just as excited to see their tv drama king show off his acting skill together w/ 2 of korea's respected actresses. as a result, the film became one of the biggest hits in korea in 2003. its no. 6 in top 10 highest grossing films (including hollywood films) selling 3,345,268 tickets (figures from korean film council) .

ok, just to reprise the gist of this novel,Les Liaisons Dangereuses is the story of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two rivals who use sex as a weapon to humiliate and degrade others, all the while enjoying their cruel games. It also depicts the decadence of the French aristocracy shortly before the French Revolution, the novel is simply filled with dark undertones simply because it explored the themes of seduction, revenge, and human malice.

i learned something here....it says that the book is an epistolary novel, which basically means a literary technique in which a novel is composed as a series of letters or diary entries written by the various characters to each other. in the case of the novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the story unfolded entirely via correspondence among the characters. the epistolary form used by Laclos somehow added greater realism to the story, greater dramatic impact and offered subjectivity of interpretation. however, this novel, which was published in paris only seven years before the french revolution, -- was rumored to be not a work of fiction but a collection of letters actually circulated concerning true events. hmm, even then, the public's fascination for spreading rumors is so like today !!Les Liaisons Dangereuses was made into a number of films, tv adaptations, a famous stage play by Christopher Hampton (1985) and even an opera. it was also translated into English many times, with Douglas Parmée's recent translation (1995) generally being the preferred version. It is the origin of the saying "Revenge is a dish best served cold", a paraphrased translation of Laclos' "La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid.". Untold Scandal, which was effectively transposed & depicted in late 18th century korea, was the fifth film adaptation after Roger Vadim's Les Liaisons dangereuses (1959) starring Jeanne Moreau, Gérard Philipe; Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons (1988) starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer (based on Hampton's play) ; Milo Forman's Valmont (1989) starring Annette Bening, Colin Firth, and Meg Tilly and Roger Kumble's Cruel Intentions (1999) starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Philippe, and Reese Witherspoon.

inside stories here.....co-stars John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer gave memorable performances as the illicit lovers, but they also made headlines by having an affair during production. -- a situation later paralleled by Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon, who fell in love and conceived a child while filming Cruel Intentions (& they're happily married now !) . ha, that got me thinking.....hmm, no...of course not....nothing remotely similar happened during the filming of untold scandal though i wont be surprised if one or two ladies in the cast or crew got attracted to yong joon aka Cho Won.

this reminded me of the article in quilt translated by happiebb.

yong joon was doing this love scene with jdy and the camera moved slowly and rested on yong joon’s buttocks. suddenly he gave a loud shout, “no! you can’t shoot like this!” yong joon stood up, pulled the clothes to wrap around himself * OMG !!* and said “my buttocks is not my best part, can you shoot more muscle instead? that’ll be better.” & everyone in the set broke into laughter.

huh? hello? his buttocks not his best part? how can he say that? was that a joke or what? i can stare at that part of his heavenly anatomy for as long as it takes.......oooppss, i did it again... *blush*blush*blush*

anyways, Untold Scandal was shown in a number of international film festivals and got good reviews from foreign critics. in rottentomatoes.com, a popular online database of film reviews, the film got a high "fresh reading" rating of 89% (out of 100%) from 27 film reviews & this rating was derived from the critics' ranking of the film . unfortunately, Untold Scandal got a very limited screening in the states and europe (confined only to filmfests, special screenings in various film societies) and it failed to make the cut of at least 50 reviews to qualify for rottentomatoes' annual "golden tomato award" for 2005!!!!! seriously, if it only got a wider distribution in the states, it would probably have made a louder noise in the critics' circle.

Marta Barber, a critic from Miami Herald wrote that "Bae Yong-joon is not as devilish as John Malkovich, who played the role in the American film, but he is more playful in his deceits. He's also more believable as a man for whom the ladies would fall." oh yeah, she is so right & i like the fact the he gave a different twist to the Valmont character. as Cho Won, he definitely convinced us of his love for Lady Sook much more so than Malkovich for Pfeiffer.

this is really so awkward, but better late than never. i think director E.J. Yong did a great job in this film. this boyish looking 41 yr old really see to it that an almost perfect marriage should be orchestrated when east meets west in his film version. the pre production alone of the film took 10 months including the period for studying on the architecture, customs, and clothings. In order to find places where the graceful scenery is melted in, they spent one year for the site-hunting before shooting the movie and used Okyeon Jeongsa in Andong and Woonrim Sanbang in Jindo as the main stages. i would like to make special mention to 3 people: the art director, Park Sang-hun ( my mother the mermaid), music director, Lee Byeong woo (rules of dating) and cinematographer, Kim Byeong il ( sympathy of mr vengeance) for their exquisite work. i usually just sit it out watching a film and concentrate on the character development w/o that much thought on the aesthetics, but it all changed after Untold Scandal.

to quote Erika Franklin, film critic from Firecracker Mag, who gave this advise to those who have not yet seen untold scandal -

"If all else fails to tempt the would-be viewer, consider this: with so many Western remakes of Asian origin now in circulation, this film affords a rare opportunity to see a remake working in the opposite direction: how many people can claim to have ever seen a Korean period drama based on a classic French novel?"....... and what a delicious remake.

sources of info- byj's quilt, wikipedia, nytimes.com, koreanfilm.org, firecracker media, answers.com, rottentomatoes.com, imdb, tiscali/soda pictures, cine21, film2.0


Blogger Toujours_BYJ said...

Frances, Frances, you make me laugh so hard with his buttocks !
Once again, thanks for your great posting and research about Les liaisons dangereuses.
Recently, French television has made a mini-serie with Catherine Deneuve and Rupert Everett.

4:00 AM  
Blogger bb said...

enjoyed this one, as i've enjoyed your other blog entries. thanks, frances!

4:49 AM  
Blogger mishio said...

hi again
thought the same thoughts and "blushed" with you all along the way! :) Yeah, I wouldn't be such a latecomer had Scandal gotten more press and playtime here in the States.
Loved reading all the background details.

1:03 PM  
Blogger marissa said...

I've watched Dangerous Liaisons and Cruel Intentions but Untold Scandal is the best not not because I'm a self confessed Yong Joon fan. The cinematography is so outstanding and directors style is so refreshing. Remember how he likes top shots?

And those buttocks! Who is not guilty of holding the remote and rewinding that scene over and over (me blushing). Bravo sis.

10:11 PM  
Blogger frances said...

hi camille,
actually, i have this silly smile while writing about the "behind" episode ^^
oh, i like rupert everett! just love the guy the 1st time i saw him in my best friend's wedding.

12:10 AM  
Blogger frances said...

hey bb,
thanks a lot for the encouragement :) onni, i know your very busy w/ the lunar new year celebration & your work, but i just want to say that i'm eagerly waiting for your latest blog entry !!

12:14 AM  
Blogger frances said...

hello mishio !!
haha, we ain't misbehaving, right? those blushes are just the results of "innocent" afterthoughts ^^

12:22 AM  
Blogger frances said...

hi there marissa,

thanks sis :)
i also watched the glenn close & reese witherspoon versions. i like them both but i find untold to be more artistically exhilirating. we're too familiar w/ the storyline but its like seeing a new story unfold while watching untold. geez, i'm gushing here !!!

12:28 AM  
Blogger liezle said...

another great entry frances! *clap, clap, clap* haha, i remember reading that "buttocks" incident. i also remember reading article about Yong Joon "taping" himself and something happened. ^^

5:29 AM  
Blogger joycebay said...

Hi Frances, Hi BB
Clap, Clap, Clap! Hey can somebody give me the site for BB's translation which was mentioned.

4:31 AM  
Blogger bb said...

here's the link to that translation....

http://www.baeyongjune.com/zboard/view.php?id=freeboard&page=22&category=&sn=off&ss=on&sc=on&keyword=untold scandal&select_arrange=headnum&desc=asc&no=4483

5:04 AM  
Blogger joycebay said...

Thanks BB

8:50 PM  

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