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Tuesday, July 19, 2016
The Throne is Korean Film Royalty (Directed by Lee Joon-ik) *****
This moving cinematic masterpiece is a dramatically daunting story of
father/son acrimony that pits King Yeonjo against his second son, Prince Sado.
Set in the 18th-century during the Joseon era, this historical work
reflects a true shameful event in Korean history that lasted for some 35 years. King
Yeonjo finds his artistic son a sorry disappointment. He is not interested in
rules and decorum and dress etiquette, and so this rule-ridden royal leader deprives
him of any kind of love, and ends up putting him in a box to starve. He dies on
the eight day. The king ensures Sado goes down in history as no traitor –
though he did consider taking his father’s life – but as a lunatic. This
protects the continuation of the throne in the family and its integrity. This
is a family fraught with power-hungry obsessions, mental illness and cruel
actions of retribution that even those trying to save the prince endured makes
this epic period piece a lingering Korean classic whose themes resonate far
The Throne garnered multiple awards
in 2105, including best actresses, music, lighting – you name it – this film
nabbed the honours. It was screened at New York’s
Asian Film Festival and at Montreal’s
Fantasia Festival in 2016.