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As this article points out, in 1997 the first Queer Film and Video Festival at Yonsei University was shut down when the authorities cut the power (though it was allowed to proceed the next year), and in September of 2000, when comic actor Hong Seok-chon became South Korea's first openly gay celebrity, he was fired from his job as host of a popular children's show on MBC and fired from a radio show on KBS.Cut to 2006, when one of the highest grossing Korean films of all time - - was about a gay love triangle set in the Chosun dynasty, and where a film viewable by teens can show gay, transsexual and cross-dressing characters (even if it treats them in a very light way), and it becomes clear how much can change in ten years.
The film is based on a rather sex-filled internet comic of the same name, which can be found here (on that page, click on the image of the girl seen at left here to read the comic; the most recent edition is first).
The comic is actually rated 19, while the movie is rated 15, which also makes clear that much of the material in the comic was toned down for the movie.
Still, despite this, the movie, despite not actually showing much (well, ) sex, refers to it quite often, in ways that would have likely been outrageously shocking to audiences ten years ago.
The film itself loses its steam midway and ends on a less than subversive note, but there is much in the film that pokes fun at (and simultaneously reveals) a great many things many in Korea might rather see swept under the rug.
It's not just the references to transsexuals, teen prostitution, nude video chatting, and the like that make the film stand out, but also references to cheating, ridiculous nationalism, and the cultural differences returning international adoptees face - all wrapped in a warped parody of a tacky TV drama which is interrupted by the occasional musical number.
The film not only makes references to things that some would rather be left unsaid, but also stands as a testament to how much things have changed in the last ten years, especially in terms of what is allowed to be represented in the entertainment media.The film basically begins in the classroom above with a substitute teacher who informs the students that" (about which more will be said)).From there it's learned that the 'teenage hooker' in question is one of the girls in class, and that she got the STD from her boyfriend, who got from another classmate, who... Soon the mass exodus pictured above occurs as every student except for two realizes they've slept with someone in the class and may be at risk." - just in case you're wondering), as the other, a boy with only one eye, bemoans his fate as the only virgin in the school.This scene is essentially a word for word adaptation of the first Dasepo Sonyeo comic strip, which can be seen here.In the course of the movie, we see a gay student, a pre-op transsexual student, and a crossdresser; it's worth mentioning once again that the movie is rated 15, as in, teens 15 and up can see it without their parents.My, how things have changed in a very short period of time.