(aka 'Madame Freedom or 'Madam Freedom' or 'Jayu buin')

Directed by Hyeong-mo
South Korea 1956

 

  If you were not patient you might initially dismiss this film for its apparently weak acting, however under the surface is a constraining poke at many encroaching societal trends in 1950's Korea. I had never seen a Korean film of this era - yet alone a melodrama paralleling Hollywood in so many different veins. The plot shows a professor's wife following the latest popular trend as she begins to go out dancing each night and working as a 'western goods' store manager in the day. She also ends up lending money to a friend for an investment which is uncovered as a scam. Quickly her seemingly harmless nightly flirtations soon distance her from her family with extra-marital fantasies rolling around in her head. Her husband, out of loneliness, pursues an affair with one of his attractive evening grammar students.

The film has such an unusual appeal and I have a hard time nailing down its central angst... but female aspirations and western value influences are key - it is almost like propaganda actually. I am very glad I saw it and it has stayed with me for quite a while - perhaps due its bizarre unconventional rendering - I still am unsure.

Gary W. Tooze

Poster

Theatrical Release: South Korea 1956

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DVD Review: Spectrum - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

 

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Distribution Spectrum Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 2:04:44 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Korean (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Korean, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Spectrum DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Kim Jong-won on Madam Freedom (6:32)
• Interview of Actor Lee Min (40:18)
• Interview of Art Director Noh In-Taek (22:31)
• Stills Gallery
• Poster image

• 5 Cast and Crew bios (text screen)

• Handsome 60-page booklet with articles/essays (half in English) with photos

DVD Release Date: December 2nd, 2005

Transparent Keep Case with booklet inside cardboard box
Chapters: 16

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: Spectrum is only the distributor. The "label" is the Korean Film Archive, and this is their 4th release. The other three are "Hurrah for Freedom" (the earliest surviving Korean film an the first after the liberation), "Yangsan Province" (a early supernatural drama from legendary Kim Ki-Young) and "Hand of Fate" (the first Korean film with an on-screen kiss). All DVD's have the same extensive bonus and are all English sub'ed. I think its worth mentioning because its rare that archives around the world do so many to make their stock well known. (Thanks Dennis)

****

Like their Chunhyang and Sopyonje releases Spectrum continue to distribute some Korean classics onto the DVD medium. This is quite a buried classic and I had quite a difficult time even finding it on IMdb. Regardless, a lot of effort has been put into this package. The image appears un-manipulated and was in quite good condition but there were some very visible damage points - but thankfully these were very infrequent. There were also some speckles and scratches but overall the image has some amazingly clean and pristine moments - it is inconsistent. Audio, although not perfect, was also of the acceptable category with a few gaps. The subtitles are decent with a couple of grammatical faux-pas.

Unique about this DVD are the extensive extras that are really quite a healthy bonus as there is very limited information about the film on the web at the writing of this review. The booklet is exceptionally nice. I recommend the DVD, although I have only had one viewing where it deserves at least another - certainly after digesting all the extraneous supplements.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Example of infrequent damage
 

 

 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

Distribution Spectrum Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!