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(aka "A Frozen Flower" aka "Ssang-hwa-jeom")

 

directed by Ha Yoo
South Korea 2008

A Frozen Flower does a remarkably good job of balancing its erotic thriller and palace intrigue sides; even though those have always been two sides of the same coin. Writer/director Yu Ha does a good job of showing us the situation in the kingdom so that we may admire the King's strength as a leader even as we may start to harbor doubts about how he handles his personal life. At the same time, he makes sure that the King, Queen, and Hong-lim are interesting individuals so that the needs of the kingdom don't overwhelm what affection we develop for the characters. The triangle he sets up is interesting, not just for the homosexual nature of one of its legs, but for how we perhaps don't initially realize quite how unevenly the power is distributed in practice as well as in theory, so that by the end we have to wonder whether it was that way from the start - although Yu manages to make it much more ambiguous than he otherwise might have. He's also good at cranking up the heat in both senses of the term - the tension is thick as relationships disintegrate into mistrust and plotters tighten their nooses, and the sex scenes are equally exciting, not just for being titillating (if a studio released it in the U.S., it would be a very hard R), but for being in turns blissful, awkward, and passionate enough to leave an impression for when we see the characters later.

Excerpt from the eFilmCriticlocated HERE

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A Frozen Flower (Ssanghwajeom) is a 2008 South Korean historical erotic film. It is directed by Yoo Ha and stars Jo In-sung, Joo Jin-mo and Song Ji-hyo. The historical film is set during Goryeo Dynasty and is loosely based on the reign of Gongmin of Goryeo (1330–1374), but it does not strictly comply with historical facts. The controversial story is about the characters’ violation of royal family protocol and their pursuit of love. It was released in South Korea on 30 December 2008 and was the 6th most attended film of 2008 with 3,772,976 tickets sold.

 

Excerpt from the Wikipedia located HERE

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Under the influence of the Yuan Kingdom, the King of Goryeo (Joo Jin-Mo) is pressured to produce a successor to the throne, but the king is in love with his loyal general Hong-Lim (Zo In-Sung). The King then asks his lover Hong-Lim to sleep with the Queen (Song Ji-Hyo), with unexpected consequences.

Excerpt from the AsianWiki located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Premiere: December 30th, 2008

 

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DVD Review: Tai Seng - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Tai Seng

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 2:12:08
Video

2.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.78 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 Dolby Digital 5.1 (Korean), DUB: Dolby Digital  5.1 (Thai)
Subtitles English, Thai, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tai Seng

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 2.31:1

Edition Details:
• Making of (no English subs) (28:57)

• Trailer (1:40)

DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2012
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments

There is pressure on the, unreported-ly homosexual, King to produce a crown heir maintaining the royal dynasty. The King, slyly, selects his lover, Hong-rim, to impregnate the Queen as there was, presumably, no fear of them becoming romantic. The discomfort of the two participants soon blossoms into, you guessed it, full-fledged love leaving the King empty handed. What a cool, if unlikely, concept!

It's single-layered, anamorphic and interlaced in the 2.31:1 aspect ratio and looks good aside from the combing. Colors are bright, but there is some high-frequency edge-enhancement used to sharpen negligibly and some compression artefacts when zoomed-in. It's clear and consistent, with a shade of depth in the SD format.  Quite pleasing, though, if not scrutinized too closely.

Lossy Dolby surround tracks in both original Korean and a Thai DUB are available. The film has some separation - in a few fight sequences and a score by Jun-seok Kim that benefits the film's epic qualities. There are optional English (and Thai), large white, subtitles (see sample below) on the NTSC DVD.

There is a 1/2 hour Making of and a trailer - but neither are English-friendly.

This is quite an advanced production - art design, costumes, sets, extras... and it's a genuinely compelling film with intriguing historical content and a epic feel about it. Perhaps the 'sex' scenes gave it a bad rap?!? but it's a film worthy of Blu-ray status, imo. With only this minor and flawed digital representation, it seems another Asian film, unjustly, tossed to the dust bin. I'm glad I watched it... and own it.

  - Gary Tooze

 



 

DVD Menu
 

 


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Combing from interlacing

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Tai Seng

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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