A Tale of Two Sisters

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A Tale of Two Sisters

Poster for A Tale of Two Sisters
Hangul장화, 홍련
Hanja,
RRJanghwa, Hongryeon
MRChanghwa, Hongnyŏn
Directed byKim Ji-woon
Produced byOh Jeong-wan
Oh Ki-min
Written byKim Ji-woon
StarringIm Soo-jung
Moon Geun-young
Yeom Jeong-ah
Kim Kap-su
Music byLee Byung-woo
CinematographyLee Mo-gae
Editing byGo Im-pyo
StudioB.O.M. Film Productions Co.
Distributed byCineclick Asia
Big Blue Film
Release date(s)June 13, 2003
Running time115 minutes
LanguageKorean
Budget$3,700,000[1]
Admissions3,146,217[2]
Gross revenue

$72,541 (US only)

[3]
 
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A Tale of Two Sisters

Poster for A Tale of Two Sisters
Hangul장화, 홍련
Hanja,
RRJanghwa, Hongryeon
MRChanghwa, Hongnyŏn
Directed byKim Ji-woon
Produced byOh Jeong-wan
Oh Ki-min
Written byKim Ji-woon
StarringIm Soo-jung
Moon Geun-young
Yeom Jeong-ah
Kim Kap-su
Music byLee Byung-woo
CinematographyLee Mo-gae
Editing byGo Im-pyo
StudioB.O.M. Film Productions Co.
Distributed byCineclick Asia
Big Blue Film
Release date(s)June 13, 2003
Running time115 minutes
LanguageKorean
Budget$3,700,000[1]
Admissions3,146,217[2]
Gross revenue

$72,541 (US only)

[3]

A Tale of Two Sisters (장화, 홍련 Janghwa, Hongryeon literally 'Rose Flower, Red Lotus') is a 2003 South Korean psychological horror film written and directed by Kim Ji-woon. The film is inspired by a Joseon Dynasty folktale entitled "Janghwa Hongryeon jeon", which has been adapted to film several times.

A Tale of Two Sisters opened to very positive critical review and won Best Picture at the 2004 Fantasporto Film Festival.[4] It is both the highest-grossing Korean horror film and the first to be screened in American theatres.[5] An American remake titled The Uninvited was released in 2009.

Contents

Plot

A teenage girl named Su-mi is being brought to a psychiatrist. Although the psychiatrist attempts to illicit a response from her, she is unresponsive until a picture of her family is shown in front of her. She is taken home by her father, Moo-hyeon, along with her timid sister, Su-yeon. There, they are met by their difficult stepmother, Eun-joo. During their stay, both sisters encounter a ghostly woman at night. Additionally, tensions grow worse between the sisters and their stepmother especially after bruises are discovered on Su-yeon's arms, oblivious to Moo-hyeon.

Later, at a dinner party, a guest and relative convulses from a condition she has. The guest, while convulsing, notices the same ghost woman under the kitchen sink the sisters have been seeing. Eun-joo also notices the woman the next day and insists to Moo-hyeon that strange events have become frequent since Su-mi and Su-yeon returned. Her pet bird is killed and found in Su-yeon's bed. Thoughtlessly and in a fit of rage, she locks Su-yeon in the wardrobe, and after Su-yeon is freed, Moo-hyeon asks Su-mi why she is making trouble. Su-mi insists that the stepmother harasses Su-yeon, locking her in the closet. Moo-hyeon informs her that Su-yeon is dead, and that she is not getting better.

Su-mi believes her stepmother has killed Su-yeon and placed the body in a bag. A fight ensues between the two and Su-mi is rendered unconscious. Moo-hyeon returns home to find an injured Su-mi, however the stepmother and bag are nowhere to be found.

A flashback ultimately reveals that Su-yeon is really dead and that the stepmother has been absent throughout the whole film. In the past, Eun-joo was a live-in nurse caring for the girls' sick mother. The girls sensed that Eun-joo and Moo-hyeon were attracted to each other. Su-mi displays her disapproval toward Eun-joo, who in turn takes her anger out on Su-yeon. Su-yeon then returns to her room and Su-yeon's mother is shown trying to comfort her. In the present, Eun-joo goes into Su-yeon's room, where she hears a noise coming from the closet. The ghostly woman crawls out (either Su-yeon or her mother) and takes vengeance. However, it can be debated on whether this scene happened in real life, or whether it is a "fantasy" imagination scene created in the mind of Su-mi.

The flashback picks up again from when Su-yeon, after being comforted by her mother, wakes up and opens the wardrobe door, finding her mother who has hung herself. Terrified and confused, she accidentally pulls the wardrobe down on top of herself. Eun-joo hears and goes to investigate but leaves rather than helping Su-yeon. She changes her mind and goes back. En route, she passes Su-mi and an argument starts between them. Eun-joo warns Su-mi that she may come to regret this moment. Su-mi dismisses the warning as nonsense and angrily marches out of the house. Su-yeon continues clawing at the wardrobe until she eventually dies. This flashback sets place just before Su-mi goes to the psychiatrist at the beginning of the film after her mother and sister both died.

Cast

Production

The film is based on a popular Korean fairy tale "Janghwa Hongryeon jeon" which has been adapted into film versions in 1924, 1936, 1956, 1962, 1972, and 2009.

In the original Korean Folktale the sisters' names are Janghwa and Hongryeon (Rose Flower and Red Lotus). In the film, they are Su-mi and Su-yeon (still mean Rose and Lotus).

Im Soo-jung (Su-mi) originally auditioned for the role of Su-yeon (played by Moon Geun-young).

Kim Ji-woon originally wanted Jun Ji-hyun to play Su-mi, but she refused it because she thought the script was too scary. Ironically, her next film was an unrelated horror film, The Uninvited.

Reception

Director Kim Ji-woon.

It is both the highest-grossing Korean horror film and the first to be screened in American theatres.[5] With a limited American release starting December 3, 2004, it grossed $72,541.[3] A Tale of Two Sisters garnered very positive reviews, with a 87% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[6] Meanwhile, Metacritic scored the film 65 out of 100, meaning Generally Favorable Reviews from 19 critics.[7]

Kevin Thomas of Los Angeles Times described A Tale of Two Sisters as "a triumph of stylish, darkly absurdist horror that even manages to strike a chord of Shakespearean tragedy – and evokes a sense of wonder anew at all the terrible things people do to themselves and each other."[8]

Awards and nominations

2003 Blue Dragon Awards[9]

2004 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film

2006 Chlotrudis Awards

2004 Fant-Asia Film Festival

2004 Fantasporto Film Festival

2004 Gérardmer Film Festival

2003 Pusan International Film Festival

2003 Screamfest Horror Film Festival

2003 Sitges Film Festival

Remake

DreamWorks announced the two lead actresses on June 28, with Emily Browning as Anna Ivers (Su-mi), and Arielle Kebbel as Alex Ivers (Su-yeong). Although originally titled A Tale of Two Sisters like the original film, it was later renamed as The Uninvited.

See also

References

External links