Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 119: Sat Apr 29

Sa Bangji (Song Kyung-shik, 1988): Genesis Cinema, 6.50pm

This film is in the Queer East Film Festival. Full details here.

Genesis Cinema introduction: Presented in 4K restoration, this rediscovered classic dramatizes the mythology of Sa Bangji, an intersex person who according to historical records lived during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty. Taken in by a kindly benefactor, Sa Bangji lives in a monastery that is one day visited by a young widow, Lee So-sa, who is in mourning following the death of her husband. The pair’s meeting seems predestined, with the erotic attraction between Sa Bangji and Lee So-sa soon evolving into something far more transcendent – and dangerous. Lee Hye-young gives an incredible performance as the hero-heroine in this unsettling and provocative work, a film that refuses to shy away from the horrendous stigmatization faced by its character. While aspects of the film – its stylised depiction of female actors and sex – identify it as a product of its time, Sa Bangji is undeniably a milestone in screen representations of intersex people.

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