In an age when women were treated as if they were invisible, Hwang Jin Yi, the celebrated Korean courtesan-singer-poet of the 16th century, was larger than life. Her beauty, wit and intellect propelled her from obscurity into the company of Korea’s most powerful aristocrats. The defining romance of her life broke across Korea’s rigid class lines and was in turn shattered by tragedy. A symbol of art and individuality, the subject of countless novels, movies and operas, Hwang Jin Yi remains a powerful feminist figure in Korea to this day.
Directed by Kim Cheol-gyu (More Beautiful Than Flowers) and written by Yoon Sun-Joo (The Immortal Lee Soon Shin), the acclaimed KBS TV drama series Hwang Jin Yi retells the tumultuous life story of Korea’s most famous kisaeng (courtesan). Top actress Ha Ji-won’s portrayal of Hwang Jin Yi made the series an instant television event when the series first aired in Korea in 2006, causing a nationwide rediscovery of the role kisaeng played in Korean history.
Part Two: The Birth of a Kisaeng
Hwang Jin Yi's mother fears that her young daughter will follow in her footsteps and become a kisaeng: a singer, dancer and hostess who lives a life catering to the whims of the yangban elite. Determined that her daughter should become more than a mere plaything for men, she sends Hwang Jin Yi deep into the forest to be cared for by an old monk. But when Hwang Jin Yi slips away and glimpses the beauty of a kisaeng dance, she is drawn to her destiny.
Actress Jeon Mi-seon (the mother) will appear from Korea through an exclusive video conference to discuss the making of Hwang Jin Yi and answer audience questions.
This series continues with screenings on the second Wednesday of the month through February 2009. For the complete schedule and to view photos from the series, click here.
All screenings presented in Korean with English subtitles.
Tickets: $5 for members, $10 for non-members
Order tickets online or call The Korea Society at (212) 759-7525, ext. 323.