Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Example of World Cinema

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Lady vengeance research



Monday, 10 December 2007

Mark Hannaway

How many research methods have i used?

-Internet --> "iMDB" was useful a useful website as it provided us with core information and reviews about our chosen films such as who the producers and distributors are.
--> Wikipedia is also a useful internet source as it contains information about all the films such as when it was made and any dilemmas.
--> "Facebook" was very useful as it contains various discussion groups and message boards for all our chosen films.
--> We found a useful sight that contains statistical data regarding films within the UK.

-Textual Analysis --> Between my group we all have the DVD videos for our chosen films and have watched trailers for all of them

Which Have been most useful?

I personally found the most useful method of research so far to be the internet, however the internet is very random and often contains unimportant information. The "iMDB" film site and "Facebook" have been the most useful sources so far as on facebook there is a wide range of groups some consisting of over 1000 members.

Which other methods am i going to use?

  • Myself and my group despite having watched the film trailers which has provided us with a brief outline of the story line and film content still need to watch the actual films.
  • We still need to formulate a questionnaire and to arrange an interview.
  • We still need to look at more secondary research methods such as books and magazines.


5 most frightening japanese films

Japan's Five Most Frightening Horror Movies Of All Time!
by Steve Levenstein, October 23, 2007

Japanese horror cinema, or "J-Horror" has been making a name for itself in recent years. Hollywood chillers The Ring and The Grudge are adaptations of recent J-Horror flicks and their success will surely spawn others. To get the full impact of what J-Horror really means, you've got to go to the source.

We'll start our list with a true classic, then move to the modern age and a more insidious form of horror. First though - and fifth on the list - is the one that started it all...

Oh no, there goes Tokyo...
No discussion of Japanese horror flicks would be complete without referring to that campy classic, the original Godzilla from 1954, or "Gojira" to use its Japanese title. Sure, it looks cheesy today, but back in the early fifties the special effects were state of the art, even in Black & White.

Though later sequels did much to dilute the power and the presence of Japan's greatest movie monster, the big guy has still got what it takes to flatten a city - and nobody chews the scenery with more gusto! (iimage via Pacific Asia Museum)

It's for you...It's for you...
"One Missed Call" sets the bar for modern Japanese horror flicks with its distinctive, unsettling plot outline that's quite different from today's too typical slasher flicks Hollywood insists on churning out. If anything, One Missed Call shows some similarities to scary ghost stories past and older Hollywood films like 1967's "Wait Until Dark".

Very little blood, only brief nudity and an overall eerie atmosphere are the backdrop for one of the most chilling films you'll ever see. Titled "Chakushin ari" in its home country, One Missed Call was released in 2003 and its popularity has led to sequels in 2005 and 2006. (image via moviesonline.ca)

It's for you...It's for you...
"One Missed Call" sets the bar for modern Japanese horror flicks with its distinctive, unsettling plot outline that's quite different from today's too typical slasher flicks Hollywood insists on churning out. If anything, One Missed Call shows some similarities to scary ghost stories past and older Hollywood films like 1967's "Wait Until Dark".

Very little blood, only brief nudity and an overall eerie atmosphere are the backdrop for one of the most chilling films you'll ever see. Titled "Chakushin ari" in its home country, One Missed Call was released in 2003 and its popularity has led to sequels in 2005 and 2006. (image via moviesonline.ca)

Dating is such a pain...Dating is such a pain...
1999's Audition, or "Odishon" in romanized Japanese, is a chilling femme fatale flick with the emphasis on the fatale. One look at the actress holding a hypodermic needle on the movie poster had me horrified before the darned thing even started!

Somewhat Hitchcockian in scope and format, Audition features few special effects because they simply aren't needed. It's one of those films where you know you're going to be shocked, but you're shocked anyway, over and over again. (image via cartelia.net)

2) JU-ON
What goes around, comes around...What goes around, comes around...
You may have seen ghost stories before, but they never had ghosts like the ones in "Ju-on". Crafted with exquisite care by director Takashi Shimizu, Ju-on is an unrelenting 90 minutes of terror that will leave you gasping - for more!

"Ju-on" can be translated to mean The Curse or The Grudge, and it was indeed this film that was remade & Americanized in 2004, then released as "The Grudge" starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr and Bill Pullman. The original Ju-on is much more effective at synthesizing classic horror and delivering it, drop by excrutiating drop. (image via Toei Video Company)

You wish you had Betamax now...You wish you had Betamax now...
Remade in 2002 as "The Ring" starring Naomi Watts, the original 1998 Japanese "Ringu" is said to be creepier, scarier, and more shocking in every way. Though both films employ the same "One curse, one cure, one week to find it" plotline, director Hideo Nakata manages to create a palpable sense of horror tinged with depression, a fatalistic cocktail that will seep into your senses, leaving you cold - and in a cold sweat.

Having achieved lasting fame as Japan's top-grossing horror flick ever, Ringu was followed in 1999 by a sequel, also directed by Nakata, and a prequel in 2000 helmed by a different director. Though videotapes are rapidly fading from the A/V media scene, the VHS cassette has achieved lasting notoriety thanks to its use in Ringu (and The Ring) as a central plot device. Absolutely terrifying! (image via Max Bossa)

And there you have it. Japan may be all cute-like and Hello Kitty sickly sweet to some, but a far different aspect of the nation's culture lurks beneath. Think you have the guts to go there? Buy or rent any one of these J-Horror flicks and find out!


European Cinema - Pan's Labyrinth

Research -

UK Film Council Statistical Yearbook-

Country of origin - Spain/Mexico/USA
Gross Box Office (in UK) - £2.6 million
Distributor - Optimum
Language - Spanish

Spanish films have the largest Gross Box Office income in the UK (out of European countries) for 2006 - £5.6 million.
There were 10 Spanish releases shown in the UK in 2006.
Top Spanish performing title - volver

Films in 30 different languages (including English) were released in the UK, a decrease from 33 in 2005.

Official Website-

Director & Writer - Guillermo del Toro
Main Actors - Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi Lopez


Friday, 7 December 2007


Asian cinema information


Asian cinema's influence on hollywood articles, interesting!



Asian films being remade by hollywood:




Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Important facts and magazine articiles



57th Cannes Film Festival
Won: Grand Prix of the Jury – Park Chan-wook
Nominated: Palme d'Or – Park Chan-wook

Grand Bell Awards – South Korea 2004
Won: Best Director – Park Chan-wook
Won: Best Actor – Choi Min-sik
Won: Best Editing – Kim Sang-beom
Won: Best Illumination – Park Hyun-won
Won: Best Music – Jo Yeong-wook

Asia Pacific Film Festival 2004
Won: Best Director – Park Chan-wook
Won: Best Actor – Choi Min-sik

37th Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya - Sitges 2004
Won: Maria Award (Best Film)
Won: José Luis Guarner Award (Critics' Best Film)

Bergen International Film Festival 2004
Won: Audience Award

British Independent Film Awards 2004
Won: Best Foreign Independent Film

European Film Awards 2004
Nominated: Screen International Award

Lady Vengeance(2005):

8th Cinemanila Film Festival 2006
Won Best Actress (International Competition): Lee Young-ae

Bangkok Festival 2006
Won "Best Director"

Spain Film Festival 2005 (Sitges?)
Lee Young-ae won "Best Actress"

Venice Film Festival 2005
Won "Little Golden Lion"

Lee Young-ae won "Best Actress" at Sitges Film Festival 2005
Lee Young-ae won "Best Actress" at Blue Dragon Awards 2005

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance(2002)
Sight and sound - July 2003/Volume 13/issue 7
page 58-59


Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Asian cinema!

An interesting article written on Asian Cinema,

As a second generation Japanese-American, I spent much of my youth sitting next to my mother and pretending I could understand her Japanese soap operas and melodramatic samurai serials. What my mother and I laugh about to this day is how I "get" Japanese film and TV more than she does. I will guffaw at SMAP's sketch comedy when I don't understand a word and I will cry over an emotional monologue in a tearjerker Tokyo TV show as Mom takes a break to check dinner. She follows the dialect, but I follow the emotional language of my generation across the sea.
I now own more Japanese horror than my mother will ever know with Takashi Miike topping the list, but Azumi is next to Audition in the DVD library to show I am not above a good dose of Japanese pop culture. And as an Asian-American, I have broadened my cinematic interests to the rest of Asian film. Chinese dramas, Korean thrillers, Thai documentaries - all of the Asian cinema realm is such a bounteous treasure of culture as well as a lesson in universality.

Viewing the films as a group, you can't help being struck by the richness of global culture. Even with a film as distinctly Japanese as Mika Ninagawa's lush period piece SAKURAN, or Sherwood Hu's Hamlet adaptation, PRINCE OF THE HIMALAYAS, it is easy to see intercultural influences. When asked the difference between audiences across the globe, Hu simply stated, "Sometimes audiences respond to sensation and other times it is the suspension of reality. Worldwide, all audiences respond to good storytelling."

The beauty of Asian cinema is that filmmakers have a rich influx of foreign films to glean from. While Americans can feast on studio fodder their whole lives many Asian communities have European and American entertainment thrust upon them. Most of the filmmakers listed an American or European filmmaker as an influence next to an Asian one. Sherwood Hu mentioned Martin Scorsese and Akira Kurosawa and SOLOS co-director Kan Lume mentioned Krysztof Kieslowski with Wong Kar Wai on his laundry list of influences. And this cross-cultural influence shows in everything from lighting to editing. Watch the darkness of Diao Yi Nan's NIGHT TRAIN and see the lack of sentimentality in Robert Bresson's classic films along with Bresson's shadows and light to emphasize the criticism of an unbending cultural structure with malleable victims.

The best thing about film is that, as a visual medium, humor can translate across languages. If you are a fan of the Wes Anderson quirk + character dimension, you can find it beyond the States in films like FUNUKE, SHOW SOME LOVE YOU LOSERS! The film made me laugh and cry and squirm. While a line may be lost on an American, the characters are not. We are all from the same mold and it is best seen in the humor and romance of each story.

However, there is a difference. It is in a slight shift in focus. The proverbial light is moved just a hair on these characters. A spoiled aspiring actress in Tokyo (FUNUKE) will be explored more as a monster of manipulation than a vapid, yet skilled, whiner. The Ophelia character of PRINCE OF THE HIMALAYAS is shown more to sacrifice than madness. In NIGHT TRAIN and SOLOS, the silence is louder than words can be. In many of the films, the background sound of the city is part and parcel of the ambience. All this is not because Asians are more manipulative or loving or quiet, but because the filmmakers have geographic and political influences that flavor their style, different challenges to confront, different social secrets to bring to light. As Kan Lume pointed out "Every country with a thriving film industry began with films that pushed the boundaries and broke the rules...found ways to circumvent their constipated system."

To sum it up best, when asked if the filmmakers "think in another tongue," Zihan (SOLOS) stated, "I think filmmakers think in a whole variety of tongues which we can't verbalize and that's why we make films." The bridge is not language, but passion and visual communication. And NIGHT TRAIN director Diao Yi Nan spoke similarly, "...[T]hinking with images is crucial. I like it when a particular space can decide the texture of the entire film. A sequence of interesting images can make me change the story in my script." So after seeing these films and hearing these filmmakers, I am realizing how much of an influence watching foreign films can have. Of course, I took for granted my "other" heritage and how Japanese and other Asian films influenced me. But now I see how foreign films influenced these filmmakers, added to their cinematic currency. Maybe just as I laughed and cried without subtitles as a child, I can experiment with turning off the subtitles of a German film or a Nigerian film.

So, what does the Asian film fan have in store for them at AFI FEST this year? Well, when I was given SAKURAN to watch, I expected it to be the guilty pleasure one would expect from a Tokyo pop diva trying her hand at acting by playing a period-piece hooker based on a popular manga. I was pleasantly surprised by not only a strong dose of eye-candy, but also a hearty serving of filmmaking acumen flavored with Tokyo punk attitude. The vibrant cinematography, catty characters, and Harajuku punk-pop score mixed amazingly well. One caveat: this is not a movie to see with Orson Welles junkies. This is one to see with your bitch-fest girlfriends. Taste the culture, guzzle the camp. It's been years since I've seen a "normal" Japanese film. By that, I mean it's not about geishas, samurais, or pretty women with corpses in their spare bedrooms. FUNUKE, SHOW SOME LOVE YOU LOSERS! is a refreshing return to "normal" by being far from it. A sort of Royal Tenenbaums set in Japan, this film journeys from quirky to twisted while staying relatable throughout. While some of thehumor may be inside jokes to the Japanese, the characters are across the board relatable in their obsessions, secrets, and manipulations.

Next up is the Chinese action thriller MAD DETECTIVE. Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai don't disappoint by balancing corruption of people and distortion of the mind. While the premise has been done (crazy cop comes out of retirement to help newbie cop find a serial killer), the style and character development takes some new and interesting turns. And someone cuts off a body part. Which I love.
Finally, of course, as AFI FEST always does, there are many good arthouse Asian films. Sherwood Hu has done an amazing piece of work with PRINCE OF THE HIMALAYAS. He has dropped the characters and premise of "Hamlet" into an ancient Himalayan kingdom. The rich scenery and costumes are impressive, but it is obvious that Hu's theatrical background has made him put his laser focus on character and story. Hu varies (or sometimes clarifies cinematically) the relationships and arcs of these Shakespearean archetypes.
NIGHT TRAIN explores the world of sexuality in a setting of sexual persecution. While uniquely Chinese in plot, the desperation and darkness of the heroine's sexual hunger and loneliness lets director Diao Yi Nan stand tall next to the likes of Troussard, Bresson, and Fellini.
The very first AFI FEST entry from Singapore (SOLOS) is well worth the wait. Loo Zihan and Kan Lume's daring film traces the remnants of a gay teacher-student affair and the mother of the student who fears her son is lost to her forever. More than a twist on a triangle, the film shines an uncompromising light on the principals that illuminates their loneliness.
Finally, both documentaries on my list, PLEASE VOTE FOR ME and HOLLYWOOD CHINESE (Latin Cinema) BY JUAN PACHECO (Asian Cinema) are not to be missed. PLEASE VOTE FOR ME is beyond compare in how frustratingly involved the audience can become with these ambitious children. The drama of competing for class monitor - who knew? And I will dare to say that HOLLYWOOD CHINESE should be viewed by every casting director, filmmaker and writer. The journey of Asians in the Hollywood wheel can be enraging. While there is a long road ahead, the Asian American film community is getting stronger and wiser and that spreads hope to cinema around the globe.

Links for other interesting reads:-



Friday, 30 November 2007

martial arts cinema link



Thursday, 29 November 2007

Reference: Sympathy for the devil: Jonathan Romney on the films of park Chan-wook.(Critical essay)

Second article:

Sympathy for the devil: Jonathan Romney on the films of park Chan-wook.(Critical essay).

Full Text :COPYRIGHT 2006 Artforum International Magazine, Inc.

IN PARK CHAN-WOOK'S 2002 feature Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, a young woman tells her boyfriend the story of a man who believes he has two heads. Suffering from headaches, he shoots one of the heads. The boyfriend pauses to contemplate the tale, then asks, "The left or the right?"

Although this is only a throwaway moment, it is a prime example of the blacker-than-black narrative logic of South Korean filmmaker Park. The story evokes absurdity, futility, inevitability: Park's characters are, as it were, always destined to shoot themselves in the head, and although it will always be the right head--the one that hurts--it will also be the wrong one, for all action in Park's universe is doomed to catastrophe.

This is a philosophy that adds up to something harsher than just "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." In Park's films, it is a foregone conclusion that a man who gouges out his enemies' teeth (Old Boy, 2003) will end up shearing off his own tongue; that a man who kidnaps a child to fund his sister's kidney transplant will wind up with a dead sister, a dead child, and one less kidney himself (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance); and that a woman seeking both revenge and atonement for her sins, in Park's latest film, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, 2005 (being released in the US this month simply as Lady Vengeance), will still feel unconsoled even after organizing the ritual slaughter of her foe.

One of the latest cult stars on the festival circuit, Park Chan-wook is that gift to world cinema, a genuinely controversial figure. He established himself in South Korea in 2000 with a record-breaking box-office hit, Joint Security Area (his third feature); set in the demilitarized zone between North and South, this elegantly shot thriller about friendships between soldiers on opposing sides might be described as a cross between Michael Mann's Heat and Renoir's Grand Illusion. By contrast, his follow-up, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance--the first in his so-called revenge trilogy--failed commercially, perhaps because of its exceptionally cool ironic detachment. Park's worldwide breakthrough came in 2004, when Old Boy, his next revenge film, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes by a panel headed by Quentin Tarantino. The trilogy's final installment, Lady Vengeance, was feted in Venice the following year and drew more than four million moviegoers in South Korea.

Many Western critics have eagerly acclaimed Park as the real deal, a feral visionary whose determination to take his viewers to exceptionally uncomfortable places is currently unsurpassed. But there are dissenters. Last winter in Cineaste, German critic Olaf Moller included the Korean director in a list of "frauds" ripe for debunking, while Asian cinema specialist Tony Rayns, writing in Sight & Sound, called Lady Vengeance "awesomely insincere" and accused Park of cynically catering to a "lad" market of violence-addicted cultists. The latter argument cannot entirely be denied: When the hero of Old Boy chews on a live octopus, you either relish this stomach-turning image as authentic sicko surrealism or you pity the several mollusks that must have given their lives for the cause.

Without a doubt, Park relishes extreme unpleasantness: However much you attribute his films' violence to revenge-thriller conventions, he brings a special edge of gourmet refinement to his displays of gougings, slicings, and guerrilla dentistry. Even the most tolerant viewer may feel that he has a tendency to go too far, as in Mr. Vengeance, when he stages the cremation of a little girl who has drowned: Not content merely to show her frantic mother's grief, Park takes his camera inside the burning coffin, where we see the child's hand turning to ashes. In Lady Vengeance, a group of parents are shown videos of their terrified children, filmed by the kidnapper who subsequently killed them. Park spares no one, neither the fictional parents nor the real-life viewer--and you fear that the child actors may not have had an entirely cozy time on set either.

One can deplore Park's excesses even while being spellbound by his visual panache, the grim ebullience of his imagination, and the byzantine complexity of his narratives. There's no denying Park's auteur signature: It's all very well wishing that his vision were easier on the nerves, but then he wouldn't be the filmmaker he is. Besides, his films are no more extreme, no more gloatingly punitive, than the great Jacobean dramas. They belong to a tradition of Korean cinema that has long dwelled on the sordid side: A favorite director of Park's is Kim Ki-young, whose career stretched from the '50s to the '90s and whose films exemplify, according to critic Chuck Stephens, Korean cinema's "passion for the putrid and the perverse." Park is hardly the only contemporary South Korean director with such a streak. Equally controversial is cult favorite Kim Ki-duk, who specializes in a somewhat sentimentalized brutality, while Jang Joon-hwan's revenge story Save the Green Planet! (2003) displays images of torture in a context of out-and-out farce.

In their perverse, merciless logic, Park's narratives recall not only Jacobean revenge dramas but also the crime novels of Ruth Rendell, in which the innocent or inept commit transgressions that lead inexorably to perdition. In Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Ryu (Shin Ha-gyun), a deaf-mute, needs money for his sister's kidney transplant; he sells his own kidney to a gang of organ racketeers, who rob him. He and his girlfriend, Cha Young-mi (Bae Du-na), then kidnap a businessman's young daughter, but just as a new kidney becomes available, Ryu's sister kills herself. Then the little girl accidentally drowns, and her father (Song Kang-ho) sets out for revenge. One by one, each character meets a sorry end--including the father, via an outrageous deus ex machina--in an all-out sweep of universally assured destruction.

In Old Boy, middle-aged salaryman Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is mysteriously abducted and imprisoned for fifteen years in a hotel room-cum-cell. Abruptly released, the shaggy-haired Oh, now a self-styled "monster," sets out to find answers as well as to deliver payback. But we gradually learn that his wealthy persecutor has himself been taking a viciously slow-burning revenge on Oh for the catastrophic result of a careless remark years earlier. Everything Oh does to realize his goal actually contributes to his ruin as he heads deeper into a maze custom-made for him by a master villain: Reaching the labyrinth's center, Oh learns that he has been tricked into sleeping with his own daughter.

Old Boy is similarly manipulative of its audience. We may think we are seeing a gratuitously surreal display of violence and visual non sequiturs, when Park is really giving us a minutely plotted story about a minutely planned revenge plot: a double narrative and a dazzlingly cunning sleight of hand at the viewer's expense.

No less byzantine in its design, Lady Vengeance may lack a touch of its predecessors' fiendishly wrought coherence. It feels at first sight like a jigsaw construction designed primarily to perplex and disorient. With its multiple narrators and complex flashback structure, the narrative zigzags between transparency and opacity, and its expansive flamboyance creates a seemingly less controlled, though often more thrilling, fragmentation than is seen in Park's two previous films.

Lady Vengeance begins with the release from prison of Lee Geum-ja, a young woman whose years behind bars have supposedly transformed her from child-killer to secular saint; her pious Christian admirers wait outside the gates (absurdly, in Santa suits) with a traditional gift of tofu. Geum-ja's nobility of soul has made her a legend, and her angelic aura is highlighted in the casting of Lee Young-ae, a popular television actress who played the earnestly demure investigator in Park's Joint Security Area. But Geum-ja's first act on emerging from jail is to spurn her devotees' gift with an icy sneer. Throughout, the film plays on the shifts in her demeanor, between her seemingly seraphic blankness and the sudden eruptions of cruelty and demented grief that her blankness sporadically registers. Yet Park never allows us to know Geum-ja too well; her protean nature is mirrored in the film's collagelike structure of brief episodes.

As Geum-ja's back story falls into place, we learn that she was imprisoned for a boy's kidnapping and murder but that the real culprit was Mr. Baek (played by Old Boy's Choi Min-sik), a primary-school teacher and habitual child-killer. Released from prison, Geum-ja rebuilds her life, making contact with her daughter, adopted as a baby by a couple in Australia. At the film's climax, Geum-ja offers the parents of Baek's victims the opportunity to avenge their children personally. After the briefest debate on what is socially and morally appropriate, these law-abiding middle-class families jump at the offer; in an extraordinary sequence suggestive of an elaborate performance ritual, they line up to attack Baek with the assorted weapons that Geum-ja provides. This grimly cathartic episode is typical of Park's stygian comic sensibility. One parent asks another, seemingly equipped only with a short stick, whether he needs a more substantial weapon; the man reveals that he is actually holding the shaft of a fearsomely oversize axe.

But Lady Vengeance approaches its sobering payoff by a very indirect route. Much of the film's narrative is presented through several different female voice-overs, as Geum-ja's cell mates lead us into flashbacks to her prison career and to their own pasts, which are largely unrelated to the principal plot. One such detour introduces Geum-ja's prison archenemy, a tough lesbian who, as a suburban wife, barbecued and ate her husband; the cartoonish shot that shows her in flagrante delicto brings to mind a certain digressive exuberance that Park has in common with overtly "novelistic" filmmakers such as Wes Anderson, who similarly goes out of his way to set up elaborate single images that serve as the briefest visual "footnotes."

Conversely, Park elsewhere makes a point of extreme concision. He tells us very little, for example, about Geum-ja's involvement in Baek's crimes. We learn that her daughter is in Australia from a single shorthand stroke: a photo of a baby with a kangaroo. Elsewhere, concision becomes an excuse for extravagant technical showing-off. At one point we see Geum-ja walking in the street; the camera suddenly cranes up to a window floors above, revealing her already upstairs in an office--a thrillingly artificial ellipsis.

It is no surprise to learn that Park conceives his films visually from the outset. In an interview published two years ago in London's Daily Telegraph, he remarked that "the visual style is decided when I write the script. Line by line, I decide the shots." It is as if the films are storyboarded as much as scripted from the start--which is another way of saying that Park has a comic-strip imagination (Old Boy was based on a Japanese manga). Old Boy's showstopper is a sequence in which the camera tracks back and forth along a corridor while Oh Dae-su single-handedly battles an army of heavies. Strictly speaking, however, this sequence owes less, perhaps, to the single-frame logic of comics than to a model of continual action imagined as a sort of illustrated scroll or frieze.

Park's films are threaded with strong visual leitmotivs. In Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, bright color markers guide us from episode to episode. The political pamphlets that Young-mi distributes--and that directly cause her death--are the same orchid pink as her T-shirt, while Ryu always stands out with his green dyed hair and loudly striped shirts. In the sardonically harrowing drowning scene, the kidnapped child's death is revealed from a distance, deep in the background: Her dress is a beacon of bright orange that suddenly disappears from view as she falls into the water.

Park's most extremely aestheticized film, Lady Vengeance is patterned in red and white, from the stylized credit sequence of tattoos unfurling on snow-white skin to the leitmotivs of snow and blood. The antinaturalistic sets designed by Cho Hwa-sung evoke a world of concrete and psychic enclosure. The hair salon where Geum-ja finds accommodation, with its overlapping squares and planes and its tiger-stripe wallpaper, suggestive of prison bars, reflects her mental disorder and emotional imprisonment; it also echoes the nightmarish cell in Old Boy, with its window looking out not on the real world but only on a patently fake trompe l'oeil landscape.

Such baroque stylistic involutions surely defuse accusations that Park is a sensationalist purveying quick-fix thrills. It comes to mind watching Lady Vengeance that the Western filmmaker Park most resembles, both in his narrative complexity and visual artifice, is Pedro Almodovar. Both directors are fascinated by metamorphosis and multiple identity. The salaryman/revenger in Old Boy and the murderer/madonna in Lady Vengeance recall Almodovar's vamps who turn out to be male judges, nuns who become bohemian mothers. Both directors define their fictional worlds through stylized sets and exaggerated emphasis on realistic milieus (a hospital and a dance school in Almodovar's Talk to Her, a prison and a patisserie in Lady Vengeance, a smelting plant in Mr. Vengeance) that in fact suggest a parodic naturalism, as if to mock the notion that fictions must be rooted in a recognizable world to be believable.

Park's films, in fact, are no less rooted in Korea's social reality than Almodovar's are in that of Madrid. In Mr. Vengeance, Young-mi is fondly lampooned as a hipster revolutionary, handing out pamphlets against American business and "the new liberalism that ruins the lives of the people." In one sequence of Old Boy, news coverage of fifteen years of international and local history flashes by, showing that when Oh Dae-su reemerges in the new Korea--more than a decade after the end of the South's military regime--he is effectively an extraterrestrial. It may be that the revenge theme itself expresses particular tensions in contemporary Korea, but Park's trilogy is never as politically precise in this respect as Jang's Save the Green Planet!, in which the demented hero's rage is traceable back to specific repressions under former regimes, including the massacre of demonstrators at Gwangju in 1980. But it can certainly be argued that Park's revenge films rehearse the traumas of South Korea's recent social change, in that they all concern painful imprisonment and no-less-painful release (in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, imprisonment is represented by Ryu's workplace and claustrophobic living quarters). They also suggest, as does Bong Joon-ho's '8os-set police procedural thriller Memories of Murder (2003), that some social scars can never fully be healed.

Park himself claims to favor the revenge theme simply because it is universal. He also chooses, convincingly or not, to represent himself as a moralist. "I want to show how violence makes the perpetrator and the victim destroy themselves," he said in the 2004 Daily Telegraph interview. "I think I give more moral lessons to the audience than Disney." More intriguingly, in a contemporaneous interview in The Times, he remarked of his films, "The vengeance represented is merely the transferring of a guilty conscience by people who refuse to take the blame themselves." Hence the eventual punishment of the bereaved father in Sympathy and the comeuppance of Oh Dae-su in Old Boy, who finally learns he is being punished for crimes he never even realized he committed.

Lady Vengeance, however, rings a change on that theme. Geum-ja craves absolution as much as she seeks revenge for sins against her: On leaving prison, her most violent act is to sever her own finger in front of the parents of the boy she supposedly killed. But displaced guilt catches up with her--and with us. Rather than redeeming Baek's crimes, she ends up spreading the guilt, making it universal, as she shows a group of respectable victims that they too are capable of the worst. Park's point is that violence is not just the prerogative of "monsters" but can tempt the mildest bourgeois when it comes to the crunch. So, apart from being elated over his stylistic virtuosity, we also leave Park's films with a certain sick feeling: the awareness of being implicated ourselves. Park Chan-wook stuffs his horrors down our throats and we find ourselves swallowing them, avidly. His films may be unpalatable, but watching them becomes hideously compulsive--very much like chewing on a live octopus.


Source Citation:Romney, Jonathan. "Sympathy for the devil: Jonathan Romney on the films of park Chan-wook." Artforum International 44.9 (May 2006): 270(8). General OneFile. Gale. Long Road VI Form College. 29 Nov. 2007


Even more references - Rottentomatoes.com

From: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1153496-lady_vengeance/about.php

CRITICAL CONSENSUS - Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Stylistically flashy and gruesomely violent, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance fits in nicely with the other two films of Park's revenge trilogy.


South Korean maestro Park Chan-wook concludes his Revenge Trilogy with the operatic, mesmerizing SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE. Unlike the first two films in the trilogy--SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE and OLDBOY--this time around, the hero is a heroine. On the heels of her release from prison, Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) embarks on a mission to track down the man responsible for her imprisonment, which also resulted in her being forced to give up her daughter for adoption. Hardened by years in the penitentiary and endlessly fantasizing about the right way to exact revenge, she enlists the help of former cellmates to accomplish her goal. But what she uncovers is a secret so horrifying that no revenge seems fitting.

Employing the same techniques (symphonic music, electrifying cinematography, sharp editing) that made OLDBOY such a thrilling cinematic experience, Park Chan-wook concludes his trilogy on a somber note. Beginning as a flashy, almost lighthearted spectacle, SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE gradually reveals itself to be a poignant commentary on the futility of revenge. Fortunately, the director’s sheer audacity and technical virtuosity keeps it from succumbing to total darkness.

This filmed screened as part of Lincoln Center's 2005 New York Film Festival.


More references.

I have found several articles on the revenge topic of Park Chan-Wook's vengeance triliogy.

First of all I will watch all three of the movies in the triliogy and analyse how I think he represents revenge in them.

Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

So far i have seen the two movies in bold. I will also watch the dvd interview with the director to see if he says how he thinks he represents it. I will also look at interviews with him in magazines, newspapers etc.

I found these articles using the InfoTrac News & Onefile subscribtion on the long road moodle site. ( http://find.galegroup.com/menu/commonmenu.do?userGroupName=longr&finalAuth=true ), I have marked all the articles that could aid me in my research.

I searched "revenge narrative oldboy " and came up with one useful newspaper article from The Guardian. I will highlight the information in the article that i think is important and could help me in my research.


Film & Music: Film reviews: DVD releases: Lady Vengeance 3/5 Rental and retail (pounds 17.99) Tartan. Cert 18.(Guardian Film and Music Pages).

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2006 Guardian Newspapers Limited

Byline: Rob Mackie

The conclusion of Korean director Park Chan-wook's revenge trilogy is very different from the second film, Oldboy, which won him a Cannes prize and recognition in the west. This one has its shock moments but concentrates more on exquisite framing and lyrical interludes, sometimes at the expense of a narrative that is loaded with flashbacks within flashbacks. Park refers to it as a "fairytale" in a DVD interview, though it's equal parts nightmare. And, as in Oldboy, Park uses Vivaldi's soothing music in counterpoint to the action. Various actors from the earlier film recur too - including its stars, Choi Min-sik and Yu Ji-tae. But it's dominated by a spellbinding performance by Lee Yeong-ae, who turns from charmer to cold-eyed murderer in pursuit of the paedophile who framed her into a 13-year jail sentence.

To order any DVD/video with free UK p&p, call 0870 836 0712

Source Citation: "Film & Music: Film reviews: DVD releases: Lady Vengeance 3/5 Rental and retail (pounds 17.99) Tartan. Cert 18." The Guardian (London, England) (May 5, 2006): 8. InfoTrac Full Text Newspapers Database. Gale. Long Road VI Form College. 29 Nov. 2007


Wednesday, 28 November 2007

German Cinema

My focus is on representaions of fear and isolation in German cinema circa 1960 and how they relate to the cold war.

Useful sites:

Scholarly articles on Google after search for Isolation in post war german cinema.
www.cornerhouse.co.uk/education/course.aspx?ID=14&page=0 - 17k -

Magazine Articles:

Sight and Sound May o7- Eyes without a face. Article about Das Leben der Anderen ( The Lives of others)
by Anna Funder

Sight and Sound Dec 06- New German Cinema by Various Authors. Reviews of contemporary films and an
article about the current state of German cinema.

Films to reference:

Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) - Dir: Florian Henkel Von Donnersmarck (2007)- Film about a member of the Stasi (East German secret police) who has a change of heart and decides to save the life of a writer he is 'monitoring'.

Valerie - Dir: Brigit Moller (2007) - A model in Berlin whose career is failing finds herself homeless and alone at christmas. Film is a bout isolation and desperation.

Heimat - Dir: Edgar Reitz (1984)- A Trilogy of episodic films chroinicling the life of one German family throughout the 20th Century.


Focus Area

I'll be focusing on the work of Park Chan Wook and how he represents revenge in his films.

Interesting sites for research:



Japanese Cinema

Jidaigeki Conventions

There are several dramatic conventions of jidaigeki:

  • The heroes often wear eye makeup, and the villains often have disarranged hair.
  • A contrived form of old-fashioned Japanese speech, using modern pronunciation and grammar with a high degree of formality and frequent archaisms.
  • In long-running TV series, like Mito Kōmon and Zenigata Heiji, the lead and supporting actors sometimes change. This is done without any rationale for the change of appearance. The new actor simply appears in the place of the old one and the stories continue.
  • In a sword fight, when a large number of villains attacks the main character, they seldom act simultaneously. Instead, the villains wait their turn to be dispatched, often standing motionless until their turn to be easily defeated arrives.
  • On television, even fatal sword cuts draw little blood, and often do not even cut through clothing. Villains are chopped down with deadly, yet completely invisible, sword blows. Despite this, blood or wounding may be shown for arrow wounds or knife cuts.
  • On film, most often the violence is considerably stylized, sometimes to such a degree that sword cuts cause geysers of blood from wounds. Dismemberment and decapitation are also common.

Clichés and catchphrases

Authors of jidaigeki work clichés into the dialog. Here are a few:

  • Tonde hi ni iru natsu no mushi: Like bugs that fly into the fire in the summer [, they will come to their destruction]
  • Shishi shinchū no mushi: A wolf in sheep's clothing (literally, a parasite in the lion's body)
  • Kaji to kenka wa Edo no hana: Fires and brawls are the flower of Edo
  • Ōedo happyaku yachō: "The eight hundred neighborhoods of Edo"
  • Tabi wa michizure: "Travel is who you take with you"


Monday, 26 November 2007

...Bollywood's Representation of Women...


Source Citation:"Shilpa's so arresting; Exclusive." The Sun (London, England) (Jan 5, 2007): 6. InfoTrac Full Text Newspapers Database. Gale. Long Road VI Form College. 26 Nov. 2007

japanese animations.

secodary resources:

  • studio gibli
  • Clarke, James, 2004 , Animated Films, Great Britain, Virgin books ltd.


Friday, 23 November 2007

Secondary Research

Two sources:

Fifty Contempary Filmmakers by Yvonne Tasker, 2002 Routledge, Page 403

Film Directors A-Z: A Concise Guide To The Art Of 250 Great Film-Makers by Geoff Andrew, 2005 Carlton Books, Page 3

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Animated Films - A Book Reference

Clarke, James, Animated Films, Virgin Books, 2004

A comprehensive look at animated films spanning both genre and origin, including Disney and Japanese animation.