Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Silver Knife (Eunjando)


Is virginity of any value to a girl now-a-days? Min Seo will hold her silver knife and give you a definite YES!

Min-seo (Shin Ae) lives with her family in Andong. The most precious family treasures, in the eyes of her Confucian father, are the Yeolnyeomun (gate of virtue) which is part of the historic site occupied by the family, and the Eunjangdo (silver knife), both symbols of a woman's chastity. The Yeolnyeomun, a perpetual reminder, is located conveniently just outside the house.

At the age of twelve, upon reaching womanhood, Min-seo is solemnly given the gift of a small ornamental silver knife by her father, with the admonishment that she is now responsible for her continued purity. Virginal she is, and virginal she will remain. She (also solemnly), accepts the knife, and the obligation it carries. She takes her responsibility so seriously, that she even layers herself with extra underwear to prevent any possible opportunity for assault against her state of grace. Her schoolmates, on discovering this, chide her for it mercilessly, but she remains staunchly faithful to tradition.

Fast forward to Min-seo desiring to go to college, in, of all damnable places, the great wicked city of Seoul. From home to perdition in one small leap. Her father flat out refuses to allow it of course, saying among other things, "Seoul corrupts the mind".

Aided by her mother, who doesn't want Min-seo to live the life she herself must live, and by her brother who feels the same way, she manages to leave home. The departure scene is very amusing, with the mother in a physical grappling match against the father, who is nearly foaming at the mouth in rage. The term, "going ballistic" fits here nicely.

Min-seo's train ride to Seoul is not without incident. She handles it with great aplomb…and her trusty silver knife. Of course.

Ju-haek (Oh Ji Ho) is the smitten boyfriend who is dying to get into the (now figurative) much layered underwear of the pristine Min-seo. He is the soul of chivalry and protectiveness coming undone in the grip of young lust. He plots and schemes alone, or with the help of his friends, trying to come up with a plan that will land him between the sheets with his ice princess. The situations arrived at are so ridiculous, you have to sit and laugh at them.

There are other characters always either getting it on, or trying to with mixed results, that are invariably weird and funny as hell. Think a man's private parts and saran wrap. OMG! LOL!.

Toward the end of the movie, Ju-haek makes an impassioned statement that is quite powerful, decrying the tradition of the silver knife, which was as often used for committing suicide after dishonor, as it may have been to defend honor by turning it upon the man who attempted intimacy. Oh Ji-ho shines in this sequence, and you see his potential, as yet unexpressed elsewhere. There is also a scene of tenderness between Ju-haek and Min-seo that takes place on a bridge, which will touch any heart that allows itself to be reached by a simple act of caring that says, "this is love, doing this is what makes love real...."

If you are looking for a basically jolly movie with strange characters, a lot of sexual innuendo, and buffoonery galore (a specialty of Oh Ji-ho's), this is it.

Oh Ji Ho
Oh Ji Hooh ji hoOh Ji Ho
Can you say YUMMY-LICIOUS? I haven't seen any of his dramas...but I think I will now!!

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