Directed by Je-yong Lee
following film notes were prepared for the New York State Writers
Institute by Kevin Jack Hagopian, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
at Pennsylvania State University:
If it sounds like you've seen it before, if you go to the movies, you have: this is the 10th screen adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses. There's Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons, there's Cruel Intentions, there's Milos Forman's Valmont, there's Roger Vadim's Les Liaisons Dangereuses… Laclos' story seems easily detached from its original pre-French Revolution setting. Any class-bound society that generates a class of romantic idlers draws Laclos' sexual gamesmanship like iron filings to a magnet. This is a world in which romance is like chess or jai alai, diversions which reward style more than victory. Here is a ritual entertainment in which the languorous, embroidered joys of seduction vastly overmatch in enjoyment the routine moment of consummation.
Untold Scandal's allusions are as cosmopolitan as its elaborate system of sexual exchange. Director/screenwriter E. J-yong melds Korean and 18th century French music in the film's underscore, and the introduction of missionary Catholicism adds a light touch of social criticism to the film, a moment of political sincerity in a film which is otherwise gorgeously jaded. The real politics of Untold Scandal, however, are in its geometric patterns of multiple deflowerings and deceits. And in these cloisters, the sacred devotions are to the pleasures of the body. It is a society whose mores are as baroque as its music. Untold Scandal is a well-tended garden of eros where lust purrs from under every green vine.
When Jo-won says, "The world is so full of vice and men are beasts," he isn't editorializing, merely stating a fact, though his beastliness is strangely mesmerizing, like the bright colors and silken, stiff-collared cinematography of Untold Scandal.
— Kevin Hagopian, Penn State University
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.