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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)      Oldboy (2003)       Lady Vengeance (2005)

 


(aka "Oldeuboi" )

 

directed by  Chan-wook Park
South Korea 2003

 

Oh Dae-su is an ordinary man, who one day is kidnapped and imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years, then one day, just as sudden as he was kidnapped, is released, with new clothes, money and a cell phone. Thus begins Oh Dae-su’s search for an explanation, for who was behind it and for revenge. But this is just the second part of the plan, the kidnapper has for Oh Dae-su.

Winner of the Grand Prix de Jury in Cannes, “Oldboy” is Park’s today most complex and cruel film. Where all his films study cause and effect, “Oldboy” is a Kafka-ian ping pong game.

Park has always created extremely fascinating visuals, and here, as the book is based upon a comic book, he goes over the edge, literary adapts comic compositions to the screen in terms of mise-en-scene, and creating his to date most visual film, which has to be seen on the big screen to be experienced at full force.

Interesting is Park’s directorial choices. He did chose a very popular comic and did cast the two most popular actors in Korea, but never altered his auteurist signature nor his leitmotif. As such, one can see this as an attempt to create an auteurist blockbuster.

Be advised to ignore the rave from Tarantino about this film, as it reduces the quality of the film. Instead, sit back and enjoy one of Korea’s greatest filmmakers taking you on a roller coaster ride. Park is not everyman’s taste, but an acquired taste, which ones you get the hang of it, never can let go again.

 

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: 21 November 2003 (South Korea)

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DVD Review: Palisades Tartan (Vengeance Trilogy Box Set) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:59:44
Video

2.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.7 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 DTS-ES 6.1; Korean Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.31:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by director Park Chan-wook
• Audio commentary by director Park Chan-wook, cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon
• Audio commentary by director Park Chan-wook and actors Choi Min-shik, Yoo Ji-tae and Gang Hye-jeong
• DISC TWO:
• Behind the Scenes (4:3; 71:38 - Making, Design, Music, CGI, Flashback)
• Cast and Crew Interviews (4:3; 41:13; director Park Chan-wook, writer Tsuchiya Garon, Choi Min-shik,
• Yoo Ji-tae, Gang Hye-jeong, Yoon Jin-seo, Chi Dae-han, Kim Byoung-ok, Oh Dal-soo, Oh Gwang-rok, and
• Lee Seung-shin)
• Deleted and Alternate Scenes (4:3; 24:54, with optional commentary)
• LE GRAND PRIX AT CANNES featurette (8:49)
• DISC THREE:
• AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF OLDBOY video diary (4:3; 209:20)
• Trailers for LADY VENGEANCE, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, NATURAL CITY, R-POINT, A TALE OF TWO
• SISTERS, and MAREBITO

DVD Release Date: 16 March 2010
One of Three Bifold Digipacks in Slipcase

Chapters 16

 

Comments

All of the VOB files on the OLDBOY disc date from 2006 suggesting that the release is a direct port of the previous 3 disc collector's edition tin released by Tartan in November 2006 minus the 35mm film cell and graphic novel. While it is nice to have all of the DVD contents of that edition in a set with the other two films at a price near the cost of the 2006 set (which has not fallen that much in value unlike some other Tartan DVDs), it is unfortunate that Palisades Tartan create new progressive SD down-conversions from the HD master used for the Blu-Ray edition of the film (also available in the Blu-ray VENGENACE TRILOGY set) as the previous Tartan transfers have been interlaced as it here. OLDBOY is the only film in the set to get a DTS-ES 6.1 option (the other two films have DTS 5.1) and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 dub (in addition to the Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 track).

The three subtitled commentary tracks from the 2006 collector's edition are present (the very first Tartan US edition only had the director's commentary). The second DVD9 disc features the bulk of the extras including individually playable featurettes and interviews (both groupings have "Play All" options as well), and deleted scenes with optional director commentary. The third DVD9 disc features a 3 hour 22 minute video diary on the making of the film along with the usual Tartan trailers.

 -Eric Cotenas

 



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(aka "Boksuneun naui geot" )

 

directed by Chan-wook Park
South Korea 2002

 

Ryu is a deaf-mute, whose sister needs a kidney transplant. As the hospital informs him, that no kidney is available, the turns a black market organ dealers, who demand his own kidney and 10 million won in return for a kidney for his sister. But hardly has he made the deal, before he wakes up, naked in the middle of nowhere, without a kidney and without any traces of the dealers.

The next day a donor is found, but as Ryu has spend the money intended for his sisters operation and stay at the hospital, the sister cannot get the operation. Desperate, Ryu now, with the help of his girlfriend, kidnaps the daughter of his former boss. The plan works, he gets the money he needs in ransom, but as he returns home, he find that his sister has committed suicide. While burying her at their favourite spot at the river, because of him begin deaf, he doesn’t hear the kidnapped daughter shouts for help and thus she drowns. When the rich businessman, Dong-Jin, discovers that his daughter is dead, he vows to avenge her death.

Directed by Park Chan-wook, who also made “JSA” and “Old Boy”, the film is a elegy on what desperation can lead to, and as such about simple everyday human beings and what they will do out of single minded zeal. It can be approached as having two halves, the first, a tragic comic point-of-view of Ryu, the second, a violent point-of-view by Dong-Jin. And just like in the other films by Park, he examines both sides, having one side as a cause, the other as the effect.

Returning to work with Park is Song Kang-ho, who also plays one of the leading detective in “Memories of Murder”. He is a great actor, and perfectly embodies the as ordinary as they come Korean businessman, who turns into a single minded sadistic monster.

The film is less visual than both “JSA” and “Old Boy”, almost seductive in its minimalist style, and takes full advantage of Ryu being deaf-mute to play with inventive mise-en-scene, where the composition is far more important than the sound, and where the lack of hearing enables for some beautiful elliptic compositions. A extremely powerful film by a great director.

Henrik Sylow

Poster

Theatrical Release: 29 March 2002 (South Korea)

Reviews     More Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Palisades Tartan (Vengeance Trilogy Box Set) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 2:00:52
Video

2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.16 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 DTS 5.1 (half-bitrate); Korean Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.28:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Director Park Chanwook and Seung-wan Ryoo (Korean language with English subtitles)
• DISC TWO:
• MY BOKSU STORY interviews with the cast (4:3; 17:23)
• Crew Interviews (4:3; 21:49)
• The Process of Mr. Vengeance (4:3; 32:03)
• Soundtrack and Photos (4:3; 12:34)
• Storyboards (4:3; 9:58)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:48)
• Jonathan Ross on Park Chan-wook (16:9; 16:47)

DVD Release Date: 16 March 2010
One of Three Bifold Digipacks in Slipcase

Chapters 16

 

Comments

Whereas OLDBOY in the set was a port of the previous 2006 3 disc collector's edition, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE has been newly authored (note the difference in menu design compared to other Tartan titles) and keeps the DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes while ditching the stereo downmix (Tartan UK's reissue of the film had DTS-ES and 5.1 EX tracks but it was an NTSC-PAL transfer).

The subtitled commentary has been carried over from the previous release. The anamorphic transfer is still interlaced unfortunately (despite the availability of the HD master used for the Blu-Ray release). Disc two sports extras not featured on the previous Tartan US and in fact looks like the contents of disc 2 of the Tartan UK release (the third release of the title by Tartan of the title in that country) which combines some extras from the Korean edition with a piece by Jonathan Ross on the director which is quite informative if you can get past his joke about "Korrywood."

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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(aka "Chinjeolhan geumjassi" or "Shed Tears for Lady Vengeance" or "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance")

 

directed by Chan-wook Park
South Korea 2005

 

Acclaimed filmmaker Park Chan Wook returns to the director's chair to helm Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, one of the most highly anticipated Korean films of 2005. The film marks the end of Park's hugely popular "Vengeance Trilogy", a series of films that began with 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and continued with 2003's internationally successful Old Boy. Unlike most trilogies, this trio of pictures is united not by plot or by characters, but by its thematic content, namely, revenge and its terrible consequences.


Actress Lee Young Ae (Joint Security Area, Jewel in the Palace) takes up the leading role in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, portraying Geum Ja, a beautiful woman just released from jail after thirteen years of imprisonment. Her crime? The kidnapping and brutal murder of a young child. Through the use of flashbacks, it is revealed that Geum Ja was extremely kind and generous to the other prisoners during her internment, earning a widespread reputation as a veritable saint among the imprisoned women.
 

****

Finishing his trilogy, writer/director Park Chan-wook makes this movie no less easier, or no less worse than the previous movies. This is a perfect ending to a great trilogy. Here, Miss Lee Geum-ja gets out of prison after 13 years, tells a priest to go screw himself and sets her plan into motion. This plan unfolds through flashbacks and scenes taking place in the present.

Kind-hearted Geum-ja helps everybody out while incarcerated, but once she’s out she’s wearing blood-red eye-shadow and dreams of killing. The flashbacks explain why she was so nice and the present tells you why she’s not being so nice now. Lee Yeong-ae, in a far cry from her role in the ridiculously popular ‘Jewel in the Palace’, is spot-on as Lee Geum-ja. Her range is great and her look is deadly. Her cold exterior mirrors the cinematography, and it only adds to the overall atmosphere of the piece.

As things get bleaker and bleaker, that red eye-shadow seems to dim further and further into blackness. The extra addition of the movie going from colour to darkness is quite intriguing (in the director’s version, in any case). The first half is the same, but after the one-hour mark, things get interesting. It’s a really nice touch by the director and cinematographer. The camera also flows everywhere, as if it has a life of its own, and movement is always in the frame. Something is always going on in the movie. The music, once again, plays an important part in the movie and the score is great. All the little moments, all the little touches, all add up to create a fitting end to the trilogy.

All the nice touches aren’t necessary, but they really make the movie a lot more intriguing. The movie is just steeped in symbolism, themes and styles are carried over from the rest of the trilogy. The squiggles on the wall resemble something else in the movie; her child, the snow, the tofu, the cake and even the cinematography on the director’s cut all add to the layers and mystery of the movie. The symmetry in ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance’ is fun to watch, and it comes full circle in ‘Sympathy for Lady Vengeance’. (Even the names of the movies in the trilogy show symmetry!) Analysis of the trilogy as a whole would so easily be possible, and I’m sure will be done many times, but suffice to say that anybody interested in doing so will be happy, to say the least.

This movie is a tremendous piece of work. Park Chan-wook has a very brutal, yet lyrical way of showing the ills of society. The movie is not easy to take and the ending is not as sweet as vengeance might seem. It’s real and brutal. Nothing is too easy in this world and everybody has to pay a certain price.

 

Pat Pilon

Posters

Theatrical Release: 29 July 2005 (South Korea)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

Palisades Tartan
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:55:28 1:54:56
Video

1.74:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.32:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.35 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:

 

Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version)

 

Bitrate:

 

Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version)

 

Audio Korean DTS 5.1 (half-bitrate); Korean Dolby Digital 5.1, Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Korean DTS 5.1 (half-bitrate); Korean Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English, Spanish, none English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.74:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
•  Audio commentary by director Park Chan-wook and actress Lee Young-ae
• Audio commentary by director Park Chan-wook, director of photography Jung Jung-hoon and art director
• Audio commentary by Richard Peņa, Associate Professor of Film, Cambridge University
• DISC THREE:
• Making of LADY VENGEANCE (4:3; 10:44)Deleted and Alternate Scenes (16:9; 14:09)
• LADY VENGEANCE EPK (4:3; 28:06)
• Style of LADY VENGEANCE (4:3; 37:07 - seperately playable chapters on Visualization, Production
• Design, Costume & Make-up, Special Art, and CGI)
• Interview with Park Chan-wook (16:9; 42:02)
• Park Chan-wook, Mr. Vengeance (16:9; 17:20)
• Park Chan-wook's on-set photography (16:9; 9:47)
• Park Chan-wook recommends short film THE FREAKING FAMILY (16:9; 3:08)
• Character Interviews (4:3; 25:35 - seperate interviews with Lee Jeong-ae, Choi Min-sik, The Prisoner
• LADY VENGEANCE in Venice (4:3; 8:23)

DVD Release Date: 16 March 2010
One of Three Bifold Digipacks

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.32:1

Edition Details:
•  Audio commentary by director Park Chan-wook and actress Lee Young-ae
• Audio commentary by director Park Chan-wook, director of photography Jung Jung-hoon and art director Jo Hwa-sung
• Audio commentary by Richard Peņa, Associate Professor of Film, Cambridge University
• Director's Introduction (16:9; 1:21)
• DISC THREE (continued):
• Alternate Scenes with Commentary by Park Chan-wook, Choi Min-sik and Lee Young-ae (16:9; 14:09)
• Get Together (16:9; 9:25)
• TV Spot (4:3; 0:38)
• Korean Trailer (4:3; 1:52)
• American Trailer (4:3; 1:36)
• Poster Gallery (4:3; 1:39)
 

DVD Release Date: 16 March 2010
One of Three Bifold Digipacks

Chapters 16

 

Comments

The regular color version of LADY VENGEANCE on disc 1 of the set has been encoded without a 16:9 flag and plays back at a squeezed 4:3 letterbox. Most widescreen televisions (and software DVD playback programs) should be able to adjust for this but it remains to be seen whether they will recall or replace the disc. The "Fade to White" version is correctly flagged for anamorphic playback and is also progressive whereas the regular color version is interlaced. The difference between the two in color palette during the full color scenes is identical to that of the palettes for the two versions on the CJ Korean 2-disc edition. Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 stereo tracks as well as half-bitrate DTS 5.1 are offered (Tartan UK's 2 disc features a DTS-ES 6.1 soundtrack) along with subtitles for the feature and two of the commentaries (the critic commentary is in English). Extras are all featured on a third disc and include several featurettes on various design aspects, interviews with the director (including one where he recommends a short film), character interviews, the Venice Film Festival appearance, and alternate/deleted scenes with commentary by the director and star.

The LADY VENGEANCE EPK seems to be a recording of the press kit DVD including a few seconds of the main menu before it plays the extras (they really should have given it its own menu rather than lumping everything in one 28 minute video stream). Whether the incorrectly flagged disc 1 is recalled or not, if you prefer to see the film as the director intended it and regard disc 1 as an extra feature, then disc 2 should be more than definitive since it carries over the three commentary tracks and the three audio options and is a progressive transfer.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Palisades Tartan (Disc 1 - Normal Color Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Palisades Tartan (Disc 2 - Fade-to-White Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC



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