Untold Scandal

Director: E.J. -yong

South Korea| 2003. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 120 min

Pictorially sumptuous and sexually provocative, Untold Scandal is a Korean period erotic drama that turns into a tragic romance. The source of Scandal’s scenario is Choderlos de Laclos’ famous epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, and director E.J.-yong (a.k.a. Lee Jae-yong) has cleverly transplanted the tale from 1782 France to late-19th-century Korea. The wastrel artist and brilliant seducer Jo-won (Bae Yong-joon) bets his seductive married relative Lady Cho (Lee Mi-sook) that he can seduce the most famously chaste widow in the province, Lady Jung (Jeon Do-yeon), a secret Catholic convert who has remained pure in the nine years since her husband’s death. In the film’s sumptuous period setting, the games of eros seem inevitable. But as anyone familiar with the original story knows, the turn comes when the cold-blooded rake, successful in his seduction, finds himself madly in love. In Untold Scandal’s hothouse interiors, amoral joy ripens into romantic anguish.

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