Untold Scandal (***)

Untold Scandal (currently available on Netflix) is the fifth filmed version of the French novel and play Les Liaisons Dangereuses. North American audiences are probably already familiar with one of the other versions: the John Malkovich costume drama, the Sarah Michelle Gellar high school version, or perhaps the Colin Firth period piece. This version was made in Korea in 2003, and while it is generally very faithful to the plot, it also offers some new wrinkles; most notably a tension between Confucianism and Catholicism, casting the innocent virgin character as the latter. I have not seen many Korean films apart from their most high-profile releases, so I do not know the actors very well, but I was impressed with the cast, especially Bae Yong-Joon as the seducer Jo-Won and Lee So-Yeon in the Cecile role. I was also very impressed with the gorgeous art direction, costume design, and cinematography; it is really quite a beautiful film, and enjoyable to watch despite the familiarity of the story.

Speaking of, Wikipedia informs me that China and Korea are collaborating on yet another version, this time entitled Dangerous Liaisons again, with HK stars Ziyi Zhang and Cecilia Cheung. I am looking forward to it.

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