‘Sabangji’(played by Lee Hye-young) is equipped with both male and female sexual organs. The widowed daughter-in-law of the Kim family, Madame Lee (played by Bang Hee), becomes passionately involved with her maid, ‘Sabangji’. However, jealousy from her neighbors and difference in social rank causes great turbulence in their relationship. ‘Sabangji’ becomes a sex toy for numerous lonely women, from high society wives to salon mistresses, but in the end she rejects her fate by cutting off her ‘male organ’. Madame Lee ends her life by hanging herself.
Depicted as a being endowed with the soul of a snail whose ‘top is woman and bottom is man’, ‘Sabangji’ is a hermaphrodite. Her appearance and her behavior are those of a woman, yet the sexual pleasures she/he offers are presented as ‘male,’ and for such deviation, love and sex with other women are condemned as ‘improper’. By changing sex and ruling over women who are privileged with power in a traditional society but deprived of their sexual desires - such as widows and mistresses of noble families and wives of eunuchs- ‘Sabangji’ fights a war against an oppressive and hierarchal society with her ambiguous sexual identity and liberal attitude to sex.
Song Kyeong-shikSong Kyeong-shik
Song Kyeong-shik graduated from the Department of Theater and Film at Chung-Ang University. He made his feature film debut with Sabangji in 1988.