Directed by Song Kyung-shik
“Break Through the Limits of Eroticism!” So read the title of one newspaper advertisement for SABANGJI, set during the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910) and undeniably catering to heterosexual male desire to gaze into the realm of female homoeroticism. In classic exploitation form, the title character of the film possesses both male and female genitalia, leading Sabangji to suffer an identity crisis and experience feelings of self-contempt.
And yet the film erases the protagonist’s masculine characteristics altogether. Sabangji’s penis never reveals itself even as a contour, existing merely as a crashing sound effect in the first sex scene. The erasure might be a sop to placate heterosexual men, but it also creates a space for female homoeroticism and an alternative, if tragic, form of love. In this sense, an otherwise sensationalistic phrase in the newspaper advertisement for the film is quite honest: “Hot female-to-female relations that rise above ethics and morals!” –Han Sang Kim
Cast: Lee Hye-young, Bang Hee, Kwak Jung-hee, Park Am