THE ROYAL TAILOR
Directed by Lee Won-Suk
Audience Award, 2015 Udine Far East Film Festival
Centerpiece Film, 2015 New York Asian Film Festival
Official Selection, 2015 Busan International Film Festival
Leading his own wing in the king’s palace is the royal tailor, a staunch traditionalist who designs the royal couple’s outfits to assert their dignity and power. Down the road though is a tailor named Kong-jin (played by Ko Soo) with a different fashion philosophy. For him, clothes shouldn’t fit social status, but should fit the body. This he proclaims with a sly smile, winking to the fact that around town, he’s known as a bit of a philanderer, a specialist in not only clothing women, but disrobing them as well.
One day, Kong-jin’s quick thinking lands him in the royal palace where he’s tasked to mend the king’s ceremonial robe but ends up catching the eye of his young queen (Park Shin-hye). Before long, Kong-jin’s designs are the hit of the palace, injecting dazzling color and cool with his runway-ready garments, disturbing an already-fragile power balance and inadvertently setting off a hilarious standoff of court fashion politics.
Lee Wonsuk (How to Use Guys With Secret Tips, SDAFF ’13) has emerged as Korea’s most exciting comedy director, and with his latest, infuses the costume picture with pop culture savvy, mocking the stodginess of tradition while relishing in the glamour and spirit of its beauty. Delightfully anachronistic and featuring a performance by Ko Soo so wily it seems time-machined from a future century, THE ROYAL TAILOR wears sexy on its lavish sleeves and struts all kinds of anarchic fun. –Brian Hu