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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Thirst' or 'Bakjwi')

Directed by Chan-wook Park
South Korea 2009

 

Sang-hyun, a priest working for a hospital, selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project intended to eradicate a deadly virus. However, the virus eventually takes over the priest. He nearly dies, but makes a miraculous recovery by an accidental transfusion of vampire blood. He realizes his sole reason for living: the pleasures of the flesh.

***

Friar Hyan Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) is a good man; he ministers to the ill at a Seoul hospital, and counsels heartbroken nurses against suicide. Wanting to do more, he volunteers to test an experimental vaccine for Emmanuel Virus (EV), a nasty flesh-eating disease. The experiment is a tragic failure, as he's the only one of 500 to survive. But it's not the miracle it appears to be - he was somehow transfused with vampire blood. The vampirism holds the EV in check, along with having the usual side effects. And it's not just his appetite for blood that he's having trouble holding back - he's feeling a strong drive to do things that a Catholic priest, especially, shouldn't be doing.

Enter Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin). The onetime foster sister, now wife, of Sang-hyun's childhood friend Kang-woo (Shin Ha-kyun) is immensely dissatisfied with her life, running around the neighborhood barefoot at night just for a moment's escape. She's immediately attracted to the newly-virile priest, who should beware - an unhappy wife can be just as dangerous as a hungry vampire.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 13th, 2009 - Cannes Film Festival

Reviews                                                                         More Reviews                                                         DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Universal - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Palisades Tartan Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Covers

   

 

 

 

Distribution Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC

Palisades Tartan

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Kino

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 2:13:48  2:13:55.068  2:14:04.036 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,494,770,434 bytes

Feature: 34,876,299,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.81 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,027,004,788 bytes

Feature: 37,963,708,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Palisades: Blu-ray

Bitrate Kino: Blu-ray

Audio Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1)  DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 3144 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3144 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1845 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1845 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English SDH (non-removable on bottom), French, Spanish (optional on top) English, none English, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: November 17th, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,494,770,434 bytes

Feature: 34,876,299,264 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.81 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Trailer (2:01)

• Chan-wook Park interview with Jessica Mellor (13:56)

• Edited Masterclass at NFTS (13:23)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 25th, 2010
Standard (thicker) UK Blu-ray case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,027,004,788 bytes

Feature: 37,963,708,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
 NEW Audio Commentary by Entertainment Journalist and Author Bryan Reesman
 Theatrical Trailer (00:42)
 Other trailers
 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 18th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 8

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: (July 2019) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray: Chan-wook Park's twisted take on the vampire mythos, "Thirst" comes to Region 'A' Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. This disc is a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate. Showing only an iota more information on the left and right side of the frame, and slightly warmer flesh-tones, this is a very similar release to the previous 2010 Tartan disc. What is worrying here are the amount of digital artifacts and edge enhancement on display, most obvious when back-lit by oddly overexposed lighting. Many shots seem to sadly feature lots of aliasing and shimmering (see example in our zoomed-in capture and click to expand).

This is interesting since the film was apparently shot on film, then transferred to a 2K digital intermediate for visual effects work, before being transferred back to film. Whatever source this is sourced from (as well as the prior Blu-ray) seems to be a digital master, or at least a poor transfer back to film, digital warts and all. That is not necessarily a death knell (or should I say stake through the heart) for the film, as the strange and frequent digitization that pops up has a somewhat (probably un-intentional) off-putting and creepy effect that matches the tone of the film. And the film itself is paramount, what a gloriously twisted and intelligent take on the various mythologies we've seen a hundred times. 

There is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio track on this Kino release, similar to the Tartan, only sadly this time in only 16-bit. There is also the option of watching the film in 2.0 lossless DTS-HD. The score from Yeong-wook Jo is still as effective as ever, though it is a shame that we don't get an uncompressed audio track. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'A' Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

The main attraction here is an all new commentary by New-York based journalist and author, Bryan Reesman. Reesman opens up by talking about this film within the context of what he refers to as the new-wave of Asian Horror. "Thirst" came in on the tail end of this wave of films, and Reesman wrote a piece for MovieMaker magazine on this trend in 2005. The author is clearly well-versed in the genre and while going into specifics at times, the track is anything but dry. Well worth a listen for fans of the film, or Chan-wook Park in particular. The film's trailer is also on the disc, as are trailers for other Kino releases ("A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night", "Brick", and "Hannibal").

Chan-wook Park is a director of such talent that the faults of this Kino disc, however egregious, fall by the wayside as you get enveloped in the story. Until a better
Blu-ray transfer comes along, this will have to suffice. To fans that had the previous Blu-ray, I don't see any reason to upgrade, aside from an exceptional brand new commentary track from Bryan Reesman that, for many, may be worth it.

Colin Zavitz

***

ADDITION: (July 2017) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray: Thirst is a very visual film and the presentation is certainly advanced by the higher resolution image. Detail heightens and there is frequent depth. It looks significantly superior in-motion.

Palisades Tartan use a very robust DTS-HD Master track at 3144 kbps (24-bit) and it sounds very intense. The film has plenty of aggressive effects and the score, credited to Yeong-wook Jo (The Handmaiden, J.S.A.: Joint Security Area, Public Enemy, I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, Old Boy, Thirst), adds further to the ominous thrills. This is a power track. Unlike the Universal, the Blu-ray has optional English subtitles and the disc is coded region 'B'.

Extras consist of a translated 1/4 hour Chan-wook Park interview by Jessica Mellor discussing his previous work and the popularity of Thirst. There is also 13-minutes of an edited Masterclass at NFTS with students asking questions. Lastly, is a trailer.

I revisited Thirst after many years and it still holds up well - an excellently realized horror with a romantic element. I loved the 'Priest' angle and there are some terrific sequences in the film. The Blu-ray is the way to go - very reasonably priced now and carrying plenty of value - absolutely recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: Focus Film / Universal have given us a reasonably strong progressive and anamorphic transfer to this dual-layered DVD. For SD quality the image is quite striking - strong detail and bright colors. There are few artifacts and noise is minimal. For this particular format the visual appearance is impressive.

Audio is a reasonably aggressive 5.1 track with a lot of boisterous effect sounds springing form corners of the room with a decent punch. We get a bit spoiled with lossless HD - but this Dolby track seems to hold its own - and then some - if not exhibiting the demonstrative range and depth of its superior cousin.

Regarding the subtitles - I couldn't remove the English no matter what I did - even through the menu - and the French or Spanish (if chosen) appear at the top of the frame in a larger font. It's not a huge issue but it seems an odd authoring glitch or the source print already had them fixed.  

There are no extras at all which seems a bit disappointing considering the director's building reputation and following. I don't know if a commentary would be warranted but some form of 'making of..' or better yet - interviews.

For Chan-wook Park fans - this is another of his films that will get under your skin and stay there with some notable dark humor present. There is both sexual activity and violence so the R-rating is earned. Fans of the genre will definitely appreciate this one - recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus


 

Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Subtitle Sample

 

Screen Captures

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Tartan Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

   

 

 

 

Distribution Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC

Palisades Tartan

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Kino

Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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Gary Tooze

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