Среди нас оказался вчерашний школьник, мальчик с нефритом, на строжайшей диете. Вся еда ему не годилась, вся без исключения. Но кто это будет учитывать в бараке? Жри, что дают! Узнал об этом старик, отсидевший по тюрьмам семнадцать лет, принес назавтра пару плиточек шоколада. На свои купил, на запрятанные деньги.
— Кто против них, — сказал, — тот мой друг. Где бы их ни давили, я рад.
Это он притащил горстку конфет, пачку вафель, белый хлеб для школьника. В жестокий шмон умудрился пронести под стелькой ботинка еще одну плитку шоколада. От тепла шоколад расплавился, потек, пропах лишним запахом: пришлось его выкинуть.
Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King, distributed internationally as Masquerade, is billed by its distributors as a ”2012 Korean Historical Movie version of [Mark Twain’s] ‘The Prince & Pauper’“. I saw it on 22 September 2012 at CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, a reliable local venue for the latest Korean film releases.
Last seen two years ago as a secret agent opposite Choi Min-sik’s superhuman sociopath in Kim Jee-woon’s superb neo-Elizabethan revenge tragedy I Saw the Devil
, Lee Byung-hun plays both titular characters: Prince Gwanghae, the ill-fated fifteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty, and Ha-sun, the lowly comedian pressed into service as a stand-in for the monarch who faces the threat of assassination. This speculative fiction draws upon an episode in the eighth year of Gwanghaegun’s reign, when the court chronicles omit all records for the fortnight that followed his statement, ”Do not put on record what is meant to be hidden.“ The central conceit of the plot is that the king’s loyal and able adviser Heo Gyun (Ryoo Seung-Ryong) forced Ha-sun to impersonate Gwanghaegun while he recovered a coma after an apparent poisoning attempt. While this contemptuous potentate starts out by micromanaging his puppet through his official court functions, he soon develops an appreciation of Ha-sun’s patriotic and humanitarian concerns for the kingdom and its subjects. Meanwhile, the head of an opposing Greater Northerner faction, Park Chung-seo (Kim Myung-gon), the Queen Consort Lady Ryu (Han Hyo-joo), and the king’s bodyguard Captain Do (Kim In Kwon), all become suspicious of the sudden shift in the king’s behavior.
Said to have been filmed in the real historical palaces in Seoul, the movie combines lavish mise en scène with competent direction of fine actors playing strong characters in a familiar story. While not quite Kagemusha
caliber, being far more affected than Kurosawa’s masterwork, it makes for a compelling spectacle in its own right, marred slightly by Ha-sun’s tendency to emote by shedding tears on demand. The climactic confrontation between Captain Do and a band of assassins dispatched by the recovered king to retire his stand-in with extreme prejudice, is especially notable as a vivid illustration of the vital difference between slashes and cuts in a sword-fight. I recommend this movie to all fans of international costume drama.
The best reason not to have sex in public is to avoid exposure to well-meaning second-guessers. Thus the late Robert Hughes ably illustrated the stupidity of judicial censure of sexual deviance:
Why so few [sodomy] convictions? Ernest Augustus Slade, who had been superintendent of the convict barracks at Hyde Park in Sydney from 1833 to 1834 (his resignation was forced by sexual scandal, though over a woman), testified that “among [the lower] class of convicts sodomy is as common as any other crime.” It was an ineradicable part of jail culture. But only about one case in thirty could be proven. Molested youths lodged complaints but then prevaricated in court; and other evidence tended to be vague, since “shirtlifters” were rarely caught in the act of buggery. “If you had it proved” Slade told the Molesworth Committee in 1838, “that men were found with their breeches down in secluded spots, and they stated that they had gone there to ease themselves, and upon examination it was found that they had not done so, what could have occurred?” But no jury would convict on such grounds. Out in the bush, the dreaded act became more obscure still, as there was nobody to watch the assigned convicts. Bishop Ullathorne believed that sodomy was less frequent among the shepherds, who tended to live alone, than among stockmen, “a much more dissolute set” who practiced “a great deal of that crime” and even taught it to the formerly innocent Aborigines. And if the Man from Snowy River’s convict forebear was not content with the brusque embraces of Jacky-Jacky, there were always sheep. “As a juryman,” one witness told the committee, ”I have had opportunities of hearing many trials for unnatural offences, with animals particularly. … I think they are much more common than in any other country inhabited by the English.” “That is, among the convicts?” interjected one committee member. “Yes,” said the witness, dispelling the thought of the colonial gentry practicing abominations on their own merinos.
Would that the indicters of WikiLeaking condoms took heed of rapidly dwindling chances of securing a jury conviction of Julian Assange.