A Frozen Flower
|A Frozen Flower|
|Directed by||Yoo Ha|
|Produced by||Lee Tae-heon|
|Written by||Yoo Ha|
|Editing by||Park Gok-ji|
A Frozen Flower (Hangul: 쌍화점; RR: Ssanghwajeom) is a 2008 South Korean film. It is directed by Yoo Ha and stars Jo In-sung, Joo Jin-mo and Song Ji-hyo. The historical film is set during Goryeo Dynasty and is loosely based on the reign of Gongmin of Goryeo (1330–1374), but it does not strictly comply with historical facts. The controversial story is about the characters’ violation of royal family protocol and their pursuit of love.
The Goryeo King (Joo Jin-mo) is married to a Yuan Dynasty princess (Song Ji-hyo), but they do not have any children. There is constant pressure on the King both from the Yuan emperor and the Goryeo Kingdom to produce a crown prince and ensure the continuity of its royal dynasty. The King's palace guard is composed of thirty six young soldiers, led by military commander Hong-rim (Jo In-sung) who is also the King's lover. The King finally decides to charge Hong-rim, with a strange commission: make love to the Queen and beget a child. Hong-rim and the Queen are uncomfortable accepting the royal order, but they finally comply. However, their relationship does not stop at procreation, but a true love blossoms between the two, and in this intimate relationship there is no place for the King.
The two lovers surpass their "official mission" and continue to meet each other at midnight in the library. The King begins to suspect Hong-rim's infidelity and soon gains evidence through another subordinate. To punish them and to also gauge the depth of Hong-rim's affection for the Queen, the King brings the two together to his chamber. The king tells them that he has decided that the Queen's "consummation" for an heir will continue, but only with another subordinate. The king remains firm in his decision despite entreaties from both the Queen and Hong-rim.
In despair, the Queen attempts to kill herself by slitting her wrists but fails. In a last-ditch effort to change the King's mind, Hong-rim asks the Queen to stay away from him and goes to the King to offer his own life in exchange for forgiveness. The King pardons him after hearing that Hong-rim's involvement with the Queen was purely lust. He decides to overlook everything that had happened and instead sends Hong-rim away for a while to have him clear his mind and settle his emotions.
The night before Hong-rim's departure, the Queen's personal maid secretly informs him that the Queen wishes to meet him for one last time. She also bears news that the Queen has finally conceived. Hong-rim sneaks out from the King's bedside to meet the Queen in the library. They end up making love in the library, and the King catches them in flagrante delicto. When the two lovers attempt to save the other by begging the King to "kill me instead," the King realizes how strong their love for each other is. In a fit of jealousy, he has Hong-rim castrated and sent to prison. The Queen finds a way for Hong-rim to escape with the aid of Hong-rim's closest subordinates.
Upon finding that Hong-rim has escaped, the King demands to know where he is from the Queen, who refuses to answer. In response, he kills her personal maid. The King is aware that the Queen is with child and by this time, everyone who knows that the Queen's child is not the King's, is exterminated.
Meanwhile Hong-rim, upon realizing that the Queen is still in the palace and not on the run as his subordinates told him in order to quickly escape, heads towards the palace on horseback despite his subordinate's protests. He stops in his journey when he realizes how futile it would be, and returns to the refuge where his subordinates took him to but find that they have been captured.
At the palace, the King tortures the subordinates to find the whereabouts of Hong-rim, and when they remain silent, beheads them. Their heads are put up on posts on the palace gates along with the Queen's personal maid. But the female head is wearing the Queen's necklace in order to lead Hong-rim to believe the queen was also killed and return to enact revenge. When Hong-rim sees this, he is indeed enraged and goes to the King to kill him. An intense sword fight ensues. However, the King manages to stab Hong-rim in the shoulder, and while he is pinned, he asks Hong-rim a last question: whether or not Hong-rim had ever felt real love for the King. Hong-rim replies that he had never felt love for him. Hearing his response, the King is shocked, giving Hong-rim time to throw a lethal stab of his own sword through the King. One of the royal guards, having watched part of the battle, now intervenes by fatally stabbing Hong-rim. The Queen comes upon the scene with the guards at her heels, trying to hold her back. She calls out for Hong-rim. As she is taken away out of sight by the guards, he turns his head from her direction and faces the dead king, realizing that the king had not killed her after all. He dies facing the king, his eyes filled with realisation of the King's test.
The last few seconds of the film show a flashback to when the King showed young Hong-rim the view of the city and asked if Hong-rim wished to live together, to which the young Hong-rim replied yes. The film ends on a montage of the King and Hong-rim happily hunting together, referring back to a dream the King once had.
- Jo In-sung as Hong-rim
- Joo Jin-mo as King
- Song Ji-hyo as Queen
- Shim Ji-ho as Seung-gi
- Im Joo-hwan as Han-baek
- Yeo Wook-hwan as Im-bo
- Song Joong-ki as No-tak
- Jang Ji-won as Bo-deok
- Kim Choon-gi as Eunuch Hwang
- Lee Jong-goo as Tae-sa
- Kwon Tae-won as Jo Il-moon
- Do Young-goo as Gi Won-hong
- Ko In-beom as Yeon Ki-mok
- No Min-woo as Min-woo
- Do Ye-seong as Choi Kwan
- Yeo Jin-goo as young Hong-rim
- Lee Poong-woon as young King
- Seo Young-joo as young Han-baek
Awards and Nominations
- Nomination - Best Cinematography
- Nomination - Best Art Direction - KIM Ki-Cheol
- Nomination - Best Visual Effects
2009 Grand Bell Awards
- Best Art Direction - KIM Ki-Cheol
- Best Music - KIM Jun-Seok
- Nomination - Best Costume Design
- Orient Express Section Special Jury Award - Yoo Ha
According to historical records, after the death of his Mongolian-born queen, Noguk, King Gongmin descended into a life of homosexual debauchery, hiring a team of handsome male bodyguards of noble birth to serve in the palace in 1372. When one of the bodyguards made King Gongmin’s second wife pregnant, Gongmin tried to kill him to quell the scandal, but was killed by the bodyguard’s friends instead. But some historians disagree with this account, insisting that Gongmin was slandered in an attempt to justify the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, and that the youths were just bodyguards.
A Frozen Flower takes its title from a song of that era which described the sexual relationships between men and women. It is the fifth feature film by director Yoo Ha, who wanted to make a change from his previous works by doing a historical film, saying, "I always felt uncomfortable with the genre but I felt I should try to overcome those feelings. It is also a new challenge for me to focus on a melodrama." He also stated that the film was "a love story between men."
Jo In-sung was on board from the beginning of the project, and turned down other acting roles to make A Frozen Flower his last work before enlisting for military service. He chose to appear in the film without knowing the exact details, having faith in the director following their earlier collaboration in 2005 on A Dirty Carnival. Jo began training for the role in August 2007, learning martial arts, fencing, horse riding and geomungo. The casting of Joo Jin-mo as the king was announced in December 2007.
- List of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender-related films by year
- List of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender-related films by storyline
- "Box office by Country: A Frozen Flower. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-06-04
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- Han Sunhee. "Jeonju unveils studio and prod'n incentives". Variety. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-01
- "Frozen Flower Sold to 7 Countries at Berlin" KBS Global. 17 February 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-11
- Official website (Korean)
- A Frozen Flower at HanCinema
- A Frozen Flower at the Internet Movie Database