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It’s been said that what kung fu movies are to Hong Kong, tearjerker melodramas are to Korea. This year’s edition of the New York Korean Film Festival, beginning Aug. 21 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, makes the point in spades.

Though “Come, Come, Come Upwards” portrays the spiritual and ethical dilemmas of young Buddhist nuns, and “200 Pound Beauty” is a slick romantic comedy about pop stardom and radical plastic surgery, they both eventually get around to inflicting emotional (and usually physical) brutality on their protagonists.

No exception to this rule of thumb is “The King and the Clown,” a costume comedy-drama about Chosun Dynasty street performers whose vulgar skit on the king’s sex life entangles them in palace intrigue. A recent Korean blockbuster, it was considered groundbreaking for its treatment of barely concealed gay romance. And from beginning to end, it could only have been made in Korea.

The 2007 New York Korean Film Festival runs through Sept. 2 at BAM Rose Cinemas (30 Lafayette Ave., at Ashland Place in Fort Greene). Admission is $11. For information, call (718) 636-4100 or visit www.koreanfilmfestiv.... — Michael Wells

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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