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Janghwa, Hongryeon

A Tale of Two Sisters

South Korea 2003
produced by
Oh Jeong-wan, Oh Ki-min for Masulpiri Films
directed by Kim Ji-Woon
starring Lim Su-jeong, Mun Geun-yeong, Yum Jung-ah, Kim Kap-su, Lee Seung-bi
written by Kim Ji-woon, music by Lee Byung-woo

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Coming back from an extended stay at some clinic, Su-mi (Lim Su-jeong ) & Su-yeon (Mun Geun-yeong) have to come to terms with their home, that still holds some sad memories of the loss of their mother for them, and with their new stepmom Eun-joo (Yum Jung-ah), who tries to assume the role of their real mother, while their father Mu-hyun (Kim Kap-su)  proves to be little help with either of these problems.

But Eun-joo is also put under increasing emotional stress, as the girls not only fail to accept her but also commit acts of hate against her, like killing her pet bird.

And then there's of course Su-yeon's mysterious closet that holds some sad memories of the girls' mother ...

The situation sulminates to a point where Eun-joo tortures Su-yeon by locking her inside the closet, much to the dismay of Su-mi, who complains about this vividly to her father ... But then we find out Su-yeon has been dead for quite some time & only existed in Su-mi's imagination. And the following attempts of Eun-joo to kill Su-mi might not be real either ...

An explanation might be that the mother of the girls hanged herself in Su-yeon closet when finding out about the affair of her husband & Eun-joo, & when Su-yeon found her, she got accidently squashed by the closet when trying to get her mother out. Eun-joo found the 2 of them, with Su-yeon still alive - if barely. When she went to look for help though she got in a fight with Su-mi, that lasted just long enough for Su-yeon to die ...

There might be other explanations for the ending, though ...


That the ending of the movie is left open to a myriad of interpretaions & explanations works actually for the film that is less interested in telling a murder mystery than a spooky tale - that might have ghosts in it, but that depends on your interpretation.

The movie itself is a masterpiece in creating a creepy atmosphere without any extravagant & expensive techniques but - it seems - the sim,plest of means: never before were old fashioned furniture & wallpapers put to such sinister a use (that this in fact needs an extraordinarly talented director should be out of the question).

The relative lack of dialogue & the slow pace only add to the brooding atmosphere of the movie.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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