Eoh Wu-dong

Eoh Wu Dong
Film info

Director: Lee Chang-ho
Cast: Lee Bo-hee, Ahn Sung-ki, Kim Myung-kon
110mins, 1985

A young noble woman marries into an even higher family. Her self-important husband can’t manage to get her pregnant, so the family boots her out, and her own father won't take her back. After a failed suicide, Eoh Wu-dong becomes a famous courtesan, eventually making her way to the king’s bed. Elite yangban society, including her own father, is outraged and plots to kill her. Alongside runs a story about her childhood and puppy-love with a low-caste boy– that boy was castrated by her father. He comes back into her life, first as potential assassin, then as protector.

Based on a historical figure, the film made full use of the new openness about sexual imagery. Lee’s Eoh Wu-dong is clearly focused on showing Confucian social codes in all their brutality. Lee Bo-hui, Lee’s most important female collaborator, is stunning as the brazenly fallen woman. Much criticized for being exploitative, the film is quite tame compared to more recent big-budget soft-porn re-imaginings of the Korean past.

Close-up Film Centre, 10 Nov 2016 8:00 pm

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