Madonna in a gay themed film, as Madonna? Well, not exactly. But there were a few seconds of a blond woman, dressed up in a cone-sharped golden bra. Cheonhajangsa Madonna is about Oh Dong-ku (Deok-Hwan Ryu), a Korean boy who wants to go through surgery, to become a girl. He tries to save up money, but ends up using the money to bail out his useless drunken father. When Dong-Ku finds out that there is a 5 million won to be won if he becomes No.1 in ssireum, Dong-Ku takes up this Korean style of wrestling. Accompanied by hilarious wrestling teammates, this gay themed film delivers the story of a boy's challenges to earn the money, falling in love with his school teacher and also the confrontation with the devilish father, and runaway mother.

This film resembles another gay themed film offering from Thailand, Beautiful Boxer (2003), also on a male wanting to earn money to go through sex operation to become a female. However, Cheonhajangsa Madonna is lighter. This gay themed film is one of the best gay offerings from South Korea. The wrestling team is not as nasty as their appearance. They are comical, and they are funny, convincingly. Even the teenage crush on the school teacher is cute. The only reservation I had was the brutal face off with the father, which I thought could have been toned down.

Deok-Hwan Ryu won himself the Best Actor award in Grand Bell Awards, South Korea 2007. The movie was also nominated for Best Screenplay.


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