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[Movie 2005] A Bittersweet Life 달콤한 인생

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May 19, 2019


25 best revenge movies of all time


Source: USA Today
 24/7 Tempo took 343 movies found on the user-created lists of revenge films found on Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and narrowed them down by choosing films that were the most popular with both amateur and professional viewers, considering the Rotten Tomatoes average critic and audience ratings and the IMDb average user ratings. 


25. "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976)
24. "Hamlet" (1996) 



23. "A Bittersweet Life" (2005) • Genre: Action, Drama • Directed by: Jee-woon Kim • Starring: Byung-Hun Lee, Min-a Shin, Yeong-cheol Kim, Jung-min Hwang • Average critic rating: 8.06/10 • A Korean film that pays homage to directors Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese tells the story of a rising gangster in the Korean underworld tasked with watching the mistress of a crime boss with orders to kill her if she cheats on him. He discovers that she is unfaithful, but rather than kill her, he lets her go, and the crime chief goes after him and tortures him. The young gangster escapes and seeks his revenge.

22. "Boyz n the Hood" (1991) 
21. "The Revenant" (2015)
20. "Straw Dogs" (1971) 
19. "Inglourious Basterds" (2009)
18. "True Grit" (2010) 
17. "The Virgin Spring" (1960) 
16. "Gone Girl" (2014) 
15. "Se7en" (1995) 
14. "The Great Silence" (1968) 
13. "The Princess Bride" (1987) 
12. "Django Unchained" (2012) 
11. "The Avengers" (2012) 
10. "The Killer" (1989)
9. "Memento" (2000) 
8. "Mad Max: Fury Road" (2015) 
7. "No Country for Old Men" (2007)
6. "Unforgiven" (1992) 
5. "Taxi Driver" (1976)
4. "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) 
3. "Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) 
2. "The Dark Knight" (2008) 
1. "The Godfather"

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Published on June 14, 2019 by JTBC Entertainment


Movie Room ep.59



6/25 update: Found a streaming of episode 59 but there's no English subs. Unlike reality/variety shows, there's never been subs available for this program.



Anyway, to watch the feature on LBH and Dir.KJW, click here. But the site could be 'problematic' with pop-ups or redirects. 



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Source: What The Kpop @whatthekpop1


#KFILM RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK: The classic gangster film "A Bittersweet Life" tells of a hitman (#LeeByungHun) who disobeys a mob boss' orders to kills his cheating girlfriend (#ShinMinAh). The decision may have been the right one, but he soon faces terrifying consequences.

This is one of the most famous crime/gangster movies from Korean cinema and a must-watch for those who are fans of the genre... a truly stunning film!


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October 23, 2019


Film Review: A Bittersweet Life (2005) by Kim Jee-woon


BY BEN STYKUC Asian Movie Pulse


Sun-woo (Lee Byung-hun) is a gangland enforcer in the employ of Mr Kang (Kim Yeong-cheol). Mr Kang, before departing on a trip, asks Sun-woo to keep an eye on his girlfriend Yoon Hee-soo (Shin Min-ah) who due to the age difference suspects may be having an affair. Should this be the case then Sun-woo is left with no uncertainty as to what would be expected of him. Sun-Woo comes into conflict with Baek Dae-sik, a rival gang member after an altercation with some henchmen in a nightclub. Sun-woo follows Hee-soo and discovers her at her apartment with her lover. In a moment of uncharacteristic kindness, he allows them both to live provided they never see each other again. This leads to a chain of events that will ultimately result in betrayal and bloodshed.

Since Kim Jee-Woon’s earlier film “A Tale of Two Sisters” there is a real depth to his mise-en-scene, from the elaborate nightclubs to Sun-Woo’s sparse apartment littered with cardboard boxes that add to the feeling that here is a man merely existing through life.


During the opening scenes of Sun-Woo following Hee-soo, he is seen observing through windows, or from the outside as if he were an outsider looking on. This sense of detachment is further reinforced when, after letting Hee-soo g,o he talks about how easy it is to forget memories. Here we have a man who has clearly repressed his own life and his burgeoning attraction to Hee-soo is presented as almost childlike in it’s naivety. The fate of his character is almost preordained with the impossibility of the romance clear from the outset. Sun-woo is almost unable to explain his own actions but unable to return to whom he was before, effectively sealing his own fate.


The film is slickly directed and very stylized. There is no pretense that this movie is set in reality and instead exists within its own cinematic universe. The action sequences are clearly shown and in tune to Sun-woo’s emotional state. During the opening sequences, his moves are crisp and swift. In contrast, during his escape from his captors later in the movie, there is a more desperate edge to the fighting. The camerawork is showy and flashy but never to the detriment of the story and features a final shoot-out that is reminiscent of  Hong Kong’s “Heroic Bloodshed” genre.

The elements of film noir are in place but played with. The professional that makes one mistake that leads to their downfall and the femme fatale that is the catalyst. Hee-soo is never truly that though as Sun-woo and Mr. Kang’s mutual destruction is over a woman that neither are really in love with. A streak of black comedy runs through the movie also. A highlight being the tied up Sun-woo trying to attract the attention of the cleaner mopping up a pool of his own blood.


Lee Byung-hun is excellent as a man finding himself at odds with himself and unable to understand his own actions. His final scenes are powerful as he seeks to rid himself of his “bad memories” in the only way he knows how. Opposed to him are a suitably loathsome Hwang Jung-min and Kim Yeong-cheol as a man ultimately doomed by a desire for a woman that he doesn’t understand. Shin Min-ah as the cause of the mayhem is a sympathetic character in her few scenes as a woman that just wants to live her own life and not be controlled.


With the festival showing the best of Korean Cinema, it is an ideal time to rediscover an action classic with a sense of style.

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February 4, 2020


Welcome to Hallyuwood:

10 South Korean films to watch after Parasite

From South Korea’s first big budget blockbuster to a revenge flick with a deadly assassin, here’s a cinematic guide for those who loved Bong Joon-ho’s hit

James Balmont DAZED Digital


Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite recently made history after becoming the first South Korean film to receive nominations for best picture, best director and best international feature film at the Academy Awards, and has cleaned up across this awards season. A masterful amalgamation of family drama, black comedy, and psychological thriller, the film marks the apex of a South Korean film industry that has been steadily establishing itself as one of the world’s best over the past two decades.


Despite a tendency to frequently place as “runners up” at some of the world’s biggest competitions, films of the South Korean New Wave, or “Hallyuwood” (with “Hallyu” roughly translating as “flow from Korea”) are no stranger to global acclaim. The South Korean cinema renaissance has seen directors like Kim Jee-woon and Park Chan-wook pick up countless international awards, while native acting stars like Choi Min-sik, Ma Dong-seok and Lee Byung-hun have capitalised with successful ventures into Hollywood.


Parasite has already bagged a Palme d’Or, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors’ Guild Award. In February 2020 it may take home the biggest gong of them all at the Oscars ceremony. But beyond Parasite, South Korea is home to a broad host of cinematic excellence. In the words of Bong Joon-ho, “once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”


Here are ten of Dazed’s favourite films of the Korean New Wave to watch after Parasite.



For fans of: The Rock, Heat, Hard Boiled




Award-winning psychological horror A Tale of Two Sisters established Kim Jee-woon as a force to be reckoned with in 2003, but it was 2005 revenge thriller A Bittersweet Life that really cemented his place as one of South Korea’s leading directors.


The film tells the tale of a conflicted mob enforcer, hunted by his own gang after he refuses to kill the boss’s unfaithful mistress. The sensational Lee Byung-hun stars in the leading role, in one of the coolest and most memorable performances on this list. Smartly dressed and played with charismatic subtlety, Byung-hun also excels as a robust action star in the film’s many ultra-stylised combat scenes. The film’s final shot superbly combines the two sides of his character, with the protagonist smiling as he shadow-boxes with his own reflection while gazing out over the Seoul skyline at night.


Brilliantly combining film noir and western genre tropes, A Bittersweet Life also features an Ennio Morricone-influenced orchestral score by Dalpalan, who would later score the psychological horror The Wailing. The film takes plenty of tips out of the book of Kill Bill – with a live burial scene that mirrors a scene from Kill Bill: Volume 2 being a notable nod to the Tarantino classic.


For fans of: Kill Bill, A Fistful of Dollars, Oldboy


For fans of: Godzilla, Jaws, Cloverfield


For fans of: Leon: The Professional, Straw Dogs, Death Wish


For fans of: Life Is Beautiful, JSA, The Bird People of China


For Fans of: La Femme Nikita, John Wick, Atomic Blonde


For fans of: Lost Highway, The Machinist, Audition


For fans of: 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, Snakes on a Plane


For Fans of: The Departed, The Godfather, Infernal Affairs


For fans of: The Wicker Man, The Exorcist, Memories of Murder

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Source: Simon (Korean film enthusiast)


Although A BITTERSWEET LIFE may not be a life-changing movie for some people. It is a very meaningful movie to me.
This is because in the 11 to 12 years that I have been working as a director. 
Although this is neither a short or long period of time.
This movie expressed my style as a director, and the mood which I was in at the time of filming.
It was also a period in which Lee Byung-hun was re-discovered as an actor.
Some people might even consider this movie to be similar to the 2nd
prime time in his career.
It gave him the opportunity to become a big-time actor.



Furthermore it introduced the Noir genre to the general Korean audience and it clearly showed them what type of movie this genre entailed, and its view of the world.
So even though this may not seem like a big deal. It makes it more special and meaningful to me.
Although I already mentioned it a few times in previous interviews, 'it was a pleasure to be able to capture Lee Byung-hun's best moments on camera' during his middle 30s when he was still young.
I also consider it an honor to have able to film these special moments with 
the Noir genre and the use of Blu-ray Disc.


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