Untold Scandal

Dangerous Liaisons in a Korean dynasty

Untold Scandal
Cruelty, especially the sexually alluring kind, knows no borders. How else to explain why Choderlos de Laclos's 1781 epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses has served over the years as the basis for movies made in France, England, Czechoslovakia, Japan, and America, and now, in a spicy retelling set amid the pomp and propriety of Korea's Chosun Dynasty. Maybe the details are beginning to get a little old, but the story's essential nastiness still has the power to suck a viewer in.

The decadent widower Lord Cho-Won (Bae Yong-Jun) has seduced countless women and painted most of them in the nude but has never conquered Lady Cho (Lee Mi-Sook), his cousin and soul mate in soulless scheming. "I have room for only one person in my heart," Lord Cho-Won says early on, and while some might assume he's talking about his dead wife, Lady Cho and we know he's talking about himself.

The lady and the lord make a bet: Can he seduce the Lady Jung (Jeon Do-Yeon), a virginal noblewoman so devout she's known as "the Gate of Chastity"? If he can, Lady Cho promises to give herself to him. Lady Cho is also one of the wives of an aging noble, and she would be grateful if her cousin impregnated her husband's new concubine So-Oak (Lee Soh-Yeon), simply in the spirit of revenge.

Director E J-Yong was apparently inspired to make the film after imagining a Korean period piece set to European baroque music, and the stately tunes on the soundtrack are both an interesting link to the original book and a source of cultural disorientation. Untold Scandal unfolds with graceful, flowing assurance -- metaphorically and literally, the characters undress each other slowly -- and its placid surface is as soothing as the sharks who swim beneath it are dangerous.

Untold Scandal

Sat & Sun February 26 & 27, 2005, 7:00 & 9:30, Muenzinger Auditorium

South Korea, 2003, in Korean, Color, 124 min, Unrated • official site



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Virtual titles to stream from home

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Sprocket Damage
: Sprocket Damage digs deep(ish) into current and classic films and film-related subjects to bring to you insightful, humorous, and enlightening perspectives on the industry.

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists

Thu Apr 27, 2023


At Muenzinger Auditorium

Sat Apr 29, 2023

The Illusionist

At Muenzinger Auditorium

more on 35mm...