A Princess’ One-Sided Love 공주님의 짝사랑 1967

Director Choi Eun-hee

A Princess’ One-Sided Love is a lively costume drama setthe middle of the Joseon era. It is refreshingly free of sentimentality and high-seriousness. Shin Films had the resources to produce a number of sagŭk historical dramas, but few achieve the humour of Choi’s. If only it had been shot in colour! Audiences nowadays can still appreciate how comically outrageous princess Suk-gyeong’s behaviour is: chasing a man-- lower-status at that, defying her mother, insulting her grandfather, prowling the capital dressed as a man. As part of the film’s promotion, a special pre-release screening was held for a women-only audience. Maybe just a gimmick, but it would be nice to know what the reaction had been.

Suk-gyeong is the vivacious sixth and youngest daughter of late king Hyojong (d. 1659). Her brother is now King Hyeonjong, while her five sisters have been married off to important but fairly dull court nobles, a fate she is determined to avoid. After she spots a handsome young scholar of the Confucian Academy, Suk-gyeong sallies forth into the capital to track him down, with the connivance of some family members and to the fury of others. Outside the protective cocoon of the palace, she experiences the life of those less fortunate – but that doesn't dim her refreshingly reckless nature.

Suk-gyeong seems a polar opposite to the long-suffering Jum-soon of Choi’s first film. She is played by Nam Jeong-im, one of the wildly popular young stars displacing Choi and her generation at the box offices by the late-1960s. How popular? This is only one of some 53 films Nam appeared in that year.

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