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[Movie 2005] A Bittersweet Life 달콤한 인생

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Guest xxoranjeesanxx

i'm a little past an hour in the movie..i can't watch it it's so violent and scary but i'll finish it sometime since everyone says it's so good. LBH is so good at the action scenes!

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Nominations for the 26th Blue Dragon Awards Announced


Although the Grand Bell Awards still remain the most prestigious in Korea, their biggest rival have always been the 청룡영화상 (Blue Dragon Awards). The Blue Dragon Awards have reached their 26th edition, handing the first awards in 1963. Back then couple Shin Sung-Il and Eom Aeng-Ran respectively won Most Popular Actor and Actress, and Kim Soo-Yong's 혈맥 (Blood Linkage) took home 6 Awards.

That film joins two others [잉여인간 (The Extra Mortals) - Yoo Hyun-Mok (1964); 서편제 (Sopyonje) - Im Kwon-Taek (1993)] as the most awarded film ever at the Awards, but things could change this year. In 2004, Kang Je-Gyu's 태극기 휘날리며 (Taegukgi) took home 4 awards.

You can check more interesting info at the Official Site of the Blue Dragon Awards, including a complete list of past winners. The Ceremony will be held on November 29 at the KBS Hall in Yeoui-Do, and shown on KBS. Here's the nominees:.

작품상 (Best Film)

- 너는 내 운명 (You Are My Sunshine)

- 말아톤 (Marathon)

- 웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome to Dongmakgol)

- 친절한 금자씨 (Sympathy For Lady Vengeance)

- 혈의 누 (Blood Rain)


감독상 (Best Director)

- Kim Dae-Seung (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

- Kim Ji-Woon (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)

- Park Jin-Pyo (너는 내 운명, You Are My Sunshine)

- Park Chan-Wook (친절한 금자씨, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance)

- Im Sang-Soo (그때 그 사람들, The President's Last Bang)


남우주연상 (Best Leading Actor)

- Park Hae-Il (연애의 목적, Rules of Dating)

- Ryu Seung-Beom (주먹이 운다, Crying Fist)

- Lee Byung-Heon (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)

- Jo Seung-Woo (말아톤, Marathon)

- Hwang Jung-Min (너는 내 운명, You Are My Sunshine)


여우주연상 (Best Leading Actress)

- Kang Hye-Jung (연애의 목적, Rules of Dating)

- Kim Jung-Eun (사랑니, Blossom Again)

- Son Ye-Jin (외출, April Snow)

- Lee Young-Ae (친절한 금자씨, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance)

- Jeon Do-Yeon (너는 내 운명, You Are My Sunshine)


남우조연상 (Best Supporting Actor)

- Kong Hyung-Jin (가문의 위기, Marrying The Mafia 2)

- Park Yong-Woo (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

- Ahn Sung-Gi (형사, Duelist)

- Im Ha-Ryong (웰컴 투 동막골, Welcome To Dongmakgol)

- Hwang Jung-Min (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)


여우조연상 (Best Supporting Actress)

- Kang Hye-Jung (웰컴 투 동막골, Welcome To Dongmakgol)

- Kim Soo-Mi (마파도, Mapado)

- Kim Eul-Dong (마파도, Mapado)

- Na Moon-Hee (너는 내 운명, You Are My Sunshine)

- Seo Young-Hee (내 생애 가장 아름다운 일주일, All For Love)


신인남우상 (Best New Actor)

- Park Geon-Hyung (댄서의 순정, Innocent Steps)

- Yoon Gye-Sang (발레교습소, Flying Boys)

- Lee Tae-Sung (사랑니, Blossom Again)

- Cheon Jung-Myung (태풍태양, The Aggressives)

- Tak Jae-Hoon (가문의 위기, Marrying The Mafia 2)


신인여우상 (Best New Actress)

- Kim Ok-Bin (여고괴담4: 목소리, Voice)

- Kim Ji-Soo (여자, 정혜, This Charming Girl)

- Jung Yoo-Mi (사랑니, Blossom Again)

- Jo Yi-Jin (태풍태양, The Aggressives)

- Han Ji-Hye (B형 남자친구, My Boyfriend is Type B )


신인감독상 (Best New Director)

- Park Gwang-Hyun (웰컴 투 동막골, Welcome To Dongmakgol)

- Lee Yoon-Gi (여자, 정혜, This Charming Girl)

- Jung Yoon-Cheol (말아톤, Marathon)

- Chu Chang-Min (마파도, Mapado)

- Han Jae-Rim (연애의 목적, Rules of Dating)


촬영상 (Best Cinematography)

- Kim Woo-Hyung (그때 그 사람들, The President's Last Bang)

- Kim Ji-Yong (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)

- Jung Jung-Hoon (친절한 금자씨, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance)

- Choi Young-Hwan (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

- Hwang Gi-Seok (형사, Duelist)


음악상 (Best Music)

- Dalparan and Jang Young-Gyu (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)

- Kim Joon-Sung (말아톤, Marathon)

- Bang Joon-Seok (너는 내 운명, You Are My Sunshine)

- Jo Young-Wook (친절한 금자씨, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance)

- Hisaishi Jo (웰컴 투 동막골, Welcome To Dongmakgol)


미술상 (Best Art Direction)

- Ryu Sung-Hee (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)

- Min Eon-Ok (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

- Jo Hwa-Sung (친절한 금자씨, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance)

- Lee Hyung-Joo and Jo Geun-Hee (형사, Duelist)

- Lee Joon-Seung (웰컴 투 동막골, Welcome To Donmakgol)


기술상 (Technical Award)

- Kim Seong-Beom (친절한 금자씨, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance) EDITING

- Moon In-Dae (내 생애 가장 아름다운 일주일, All For Love) EDITING

- Shin Jae-Ho (혈의 누, Blood Rain) SPECIAL MAKE UP EFFECTS

- Jang Sung-Ho (형사, Duelist) CG

- Jo Yi-Seok (웰컴 투 동막골, Welcome To Dongmakgol) CG


각본상 (Best Original Screenplay)

- Go Yoon-Hee and Han Jae-Rim (연애의 목적, Rules of Dating)

- Park Jin-Pyo (너는 내 운명, You Are My Sunshine)

- Yoo Sung-Hyeop (내 생애 가장 아름다운 일주일, All For Love)

- Jang Jin, Park Gwang-Hyun and Kim Joong (웰컴 투 동막골, Welcome To Dongmakgol)

- Jung Yoon-Cheol, Yoon Jin-Ho and Song Ye-Jin (말아톤, Marathon)


조명상 (Best Lighting)

- Go Nak-Seon (그때 그 사람들, The President's Last Bang)

- Kim Seon-Gwan (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

- Shin Kyung-Man (형사, Duelist)

- Shin Sang-Ryeol (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)

- Park Hyun-Won (친절한 금자씨, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance)

Via Official Blue Dragon Awards Site

» Posted by X at November 20, 2005 12:17 AM


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A Bittersweet Life

Sun Woo (Lee Byung-Hun) is the proprietor of a hotel bar, La Dolce Vita but also the right-hand man to the powerful gang leader, Mr. Kang. When Kang suspects that his beautiful young mistress Hee Soo might be having affair with another man, he asks Sun Woo to resolve the matter by commanding him to follow her around. Sun Woo’s order is simple. If he catches Hee Soo cheating, he must execute her. However, when Sun Woo catches Hee Soo with her lover, he makes a decision without knowing its consequences.


BSL banner by ~M~

A BITTERSWEET LIFE is a super stylistic, ultra-violent action film that has more life in it than all the Hollywood films that have been released so far this year. The director Kim Jee-woon (TALE OF TWO SISTERS) superbly twists and tweaks the gangster genre and brings it a fresh and different life. The film has been critically labeled as "action noir" in Korea and there are plenty of reasons why. Much of the action occurs beautifully in the dark shadows of Seoul. The danger is always waiting in the contrast between light and shadow created by the city itself. This is a world where no one can be truly trusted.

Lee Byung-hun brings sheer excitement in his performance. He is an angel dressed in vengeance. At the beginning of the film, he is stone cold and heartless. But once his fury is unleashed he loses it, transforming into a guy who has no problem taking people out while still maintains his vulnerability. He wants to know the motivation of his torment. So does the audience. Lee Byung-hun conveys a dangerous mix of charm and intelligence.

All the gangsters fight to the death. It is down and dirty. Kim Jee-woon’s creativity in fight scenes is a mix of realism and pur cinema. When someone gets shot, they don’t get hit in a place that kills them instantly. It takes several shots to actually hit in critical point. The guns are uncontrollable. The characters are unpredictable. The pain is visually felt. The violence is cruelly innovative. The stylistically photographed images become another characters of the film. It is fascinating that this mixture of grittiness and elegance creates such a poetic images. Everything is carefully designed with details. From Le Dolce Vita restaurant to the girl’s home, the care spent on small details of space and time, until now, could only be seen in Wong Kar Wai films.

That all said, A BITTERSWEET LIFE is a film that manages to gives gangster film a new meaning. It is poetically stylistic, ultra violence with a cool and sometimes humorous edge. It is by far the best film of 2005. You will smile with enthusiasm at the end as Lee Byung-hun smiles for the first time in the entire film.

Review by: Shogo!

Credits: Cinema Eye


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"Not as graphic as a film like Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or Save the Green Planet, but just as striking."

- Equinox21


This is one of those movies that might be talked about for some time. At least I hope it is. The film is called A Bittersweet Life because the main character, Sun-woo (Lee Byung-hun), is the manager of a bar called La Dolce Vita (Italian for A Bittersweet Life). In addition to being the manager, he's also the right hand man to a local mob boss.

When Sun-woo fails to carry out a specific order, because his conscience gets the best of him, he's put on the boss' hit list. From then on it's a struggle to survive, and get answers. This bloody, violent and noir movie ends up with an ultimately ambiguous ending. Did everything really just happen or was it a fantasy concocted by Sun-woo because he's bored with his life?

A Bittersweet Life was a very interesting movie to watch, and painful to look at in certain parts. Not as graphic as a film like Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or Save the Green Planet, but just as striking. What I really liked was Sun-woo's journey to obtain a gun. It wasn't like America, where you can just walk into a store and walk out armed like The Terminator. Sun-woo had to go through a rigorous process in the underworld to get a gun. Of course, this added to his ultimate downfall. Plus, having never fired a gun before, his aim is not as perfect as "in the movies", this adds to the realism and, to be quite honest, the enjoyability of the film (which also adds to the ambiguousness of the ending).

I would have to say that my thoughts on the film are that it was all a fantasy. Not just because of what is said at the end, but also because of how much punishment Sun-woo takes and stays on his feet (after dozens fall before him, after taking much less in the way of physical bodily damage). This doesn't make it any less enjoyable, it just makes it more fantasy than an attempt at realistic gunplay action.

A Bittersweet Life is highly recommended.




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Movie Review


By Dave Davis



I try to avoid too much hype whenever I can help it, which is no easy feat in this gig. Whether succumbing to it myself from advanced buzz or dispensing it here on the site through various recommendations… either way it tends to lead to a degree of disappointment for somebody.

With the Korean movie A Bittersweet Life, I'd only heard that it was an outstanding new gangster flick from Ji-woon Kim, the director of the wrestling comedy The Foul King and the spook story A Tale of Two Sisters (which I previously covered HERE). The story is simple enough: gentlemanly Sun-woo (Lee Byung Hun of JSA) is the chief enforcer for Mr. Kang, a powerful crime lord. Kang suspects that his young mistress Hee-soo (the gorgeous Shin Min-a of Volcano High) is cheating on him, and assigns Sun-woo to follow her while he's out of town and to call if his doubts are correct... which they are.

But something else has happened. The reticent Sun-woo isn't ordinarily the type to be affected by emotion, but he yields to it just this once, because simply watching Hee-soo has awakened an unspoken appreciation for beauty and made him suddenly cognizant of his stark, solitary lifestyle. Upon discovering the expected affair Sun-woo opts not to contact his boss with the revelation, knowing full well Mr. Kang's instructions would be to exterminate the lovers. Kang is contending with other gang relation issues instigated by Sun-woo and when the news that he ignored orders ultimately arrives, Kang decides to make an example of his former right-hand man by having his henchmen put him down. But Sun-woo escapes (in a vicious demonstration of the abilities that obviously made him such a valuable asset) and, too blunt to fully comprehend Kang's ambiguous motivations and too stubborn to let matters slide, his existence is reduced to a single purpose: pure bloody revenge.

And now, the dispensing of the hype: A Bittersweet Life is a fantastic (if not wholly original) film noir that's somehow both superstylish yet minimalist, part Point Blank, Peckinpah, Woo and Melville filtered through a distinct (and yet uniquely Korean) vision. Darkly poetic, the film constantly juggles clichés so they land in unanticipated ways. It's not a traditional love story – Hee-soo is merely a catalyst for emotions that have become practically alien to Sun-woo. With his angular handsomeness and measured fury, Lee Byung Hun balances Sun-woo's preternatural physicality with a dignified vulnerability. In fact, Sun-woo has relied solely on his "interpersonal" skills in his vocation, so when he finally acquires some guns (in one of the film's most effective moments of black comedy) he has all the marksmanship of an Imperial Stormtrooper, awkwardly brandishing firearms as if half-expecting them to detonate in his hand. The film's punctuations of vivid violence are kept realistically raw thanks to actor/stuntman/fight choreographer Jung Doo-Hong, who's done similarly astonishing work on Taegukgi, Arahan, Natural City and several other films – the prolonged scene where Sun-woo brawls through a crew of thugs using whatever means available is a masterful orchestration of carnage.

Kim's film is immaculate from the score to the supporting cast to the production design, and there are numerous layers in the disarmingly straightforward premise, implicit in the relationships and communication – Kang views the perceived infatuation and sudden unreliability in gang affairs as disrespectful and an immediate threat to his authority; Sun-woo can't understand how seven years of absolute loyalty could be discarded so frivolously for a single independent decision, or that his brief display of emotion is only a gateway to further weakness in his chosen profession. But then, if they cleared up their misunderstandings, we wouldn't have all that beautiful bloodshed.

Credits: CHUD.com


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Nothing new actually, just found previous update to share...

March 22, 2005

Words from A Bittersweet Life


A Bittersweet Life director Kim Jee-woon spoke to the Korean press yesterday after a preview screening of his latest film.

"This movie basically deals with relationship breakups resulting from small communication breakdowns," Kim said. The characters in the film are very stylish, but the movie is actually about "the foolishness of men" who don’t know how to communicate, the director said. "Just one trivial mistake or decision leads them to an irrevocable situation. And I think that’s what life is like."

Lee Byung-hun, the star of the film said, "I decided to take part in the film because I really liked the story... And as a fan of Kim, I was also very curious about what it would be like if he made a noir film."

50 minutes of footage was cut during post production, trimming the film down to 2 hours. Some scenes not included in the film were used by Lee Byung-hun as part of a music video he directed for singer Yangpa which we featured here a couple weeks ago. So if there was something in the video that you really liked don't be upset if it's not in the film.

Release date in South Korea : 2005/04/01

via TheKoreaTimes.

Link for the Music Video:



» Posted by Mack at March 22, 2005 07:54 PM


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A Bittersweet Life (2005) A Movie Review by Nix

In many respects, Kim Ji-woon's "A Bittersweet Life" is the anti-thesis of a traditional Asian gangster film, and the script seems to take most of its hints from American revenge movies like Tony Scott's recent "Man on Fire" and "The Punisher", albeit without the idiotic nature of the latter film. Narratively, the film resembles the Kevin Costner 1990 picture called, appropriately enough, "Revenge" (which, coincidentally, was also directed by Tony Scott). None of this makes "A Bittersweet Life" any less original; if anything, Kim seems keenly aware that he's not re-inventing the wheel, and uses the audience's knowledge of similarly themed films to his advantage.

Byung-hun Lee ("Joint Security Area") is our anti-hero, a somber, friendless enforcer for a vicious gangster named Kang (Yeong-cheol Kim). When Kang plans a trip out of town for a few days, he sends trusted Sun-woo (Lee) to ferry his moll (Min-a Shin, "Volcano High") about town, with explicit orders to execute her if he discovers she is having an affair. It shouldn't come as a surprise that she is indeed having an affair, and Sun-woo does make the fateful decision not to kill her, a decision that turns his own organization against him, setting the cold killer off on a quest for vengeance, although one suspects he isn't quite sure why.

Director Ji-woon Kim ("The Quiet Family") shows the initial encounters between enforcer and moll from Sun-woo's perspective, using camera angles and tight shots to give us insight into what Sun-woo sees: not the woman, not Hee-soo, but the hair, the way she brushes her hair, the smooth skin on her shoulder, the way she plays with her spoon when she eats. When Sun-woo makes his choice, it's easy to decipher that it's not because he's fallen in love with Hee-soo, because "love" is a word not in his vocabulary. She is simply the spark, the catharsis that frees him to see that he's living a solitaire existence, and that, despite his cavernous apartment, fine suits, and expensive meals, he really has nothing.


As such, it's not the story that is important in "A Bittersweet Life", because frankly, the story is of the inevitable kind. It's the moments in-between the formulaic beginning and ending that matters. The scene where Sun-woo is spurned into a fit of measured and controlled road rage, or when he hurries to pick up Hee-soo from her violin practice, nervously flicking at his hair as he bounces up the hallway like a ball of energy, only to take a sudden u-turn -- physically and emotionally -- when Hee-soo's other lover shows up first. Kim knows he's crafted a story from a foundation of genre clichés, and instead of pretending otherwise, the director uses them to play games with the audience.

In-between the stylized violence, the harsh bloodletting and dead bodies that pile up with amazing speed, "A Bittersweet Life" is surprisingly funny when you least expect it. In one scene, gangsters are digging a grave for Sun-woo when one of them stops just long enough to see Sun-woo make his escape, to which the gangster turns to his oblivious buddies and quips, "Stop digging. We are so [expletive]." This, mind you, after a sequence of such grand violence orchestrated so insanely that you just know a stuntman or two, or a dozen, must have gone to the hospital that night. Later, Sun-woo tries to buy a gun from some amateur gun smugglers with disastrous results -- for them.

The first half of "A Bittersweet Life" occupies itself more with its leading man's personality, following him as he discovers that he has a need he had never acknowledged before, and the desire to achieve that need overcomes all else. The second half is all sound and fury, and Kim delivers a staggering bodycount, all achieved in brutal, realistic fashion. A major detour from the usual Korean gangster films is the prominent appearance (and needless to say, uses) of firearms in "A Bittersweet Life". To watch Sun-woo strolling about town, capping gangsters in every body part with the cool of Steve McQueen and the cold, focused efficiency of the Terminator, you would think it was Tarantino, or Peckinpah, or perhaps McQuarrie (for those who have seen "Way of the Gun") at work instead of a Korean director.


Alas, there's no real deeper meaning to "A Bittersweet Life", and assigning one to the film would be foolhardy. This is a simple story of a man who wants more than what he has, but has absolutely no idea how to achieve it. He isn't in love with Hee-soo, and vice versa. Sun-woo's quest is, in every way, a pure revenge fantasy played out against a backdrop of blood and violence and gang coda, but as his final encounter with Kang proves, there is no other purpose, no higher calling, to the carnage that the two men have wrought. It is, indeed, a bittersweet life, but it sure was a hell of a roller coaster ride from point A to point B.

Movie Grade: 4/5

July 27, 2005

Credit: BeyondHollywood.com


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Copied from the NEWS thread, credits to CindyW88

For more photos of the celebrities at the Blue Dragon



The results of the 26th "Blue Dragon Film Awards" (11/29/05):

Best Picture:

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance: Moho Film

Best Director:

Park Jin Pyo: You are My Sunshine

Best Actor:

Hwang Jung Min: You are My Sunshine

Best Actress:

Lee Young Ae: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Best Supporting Actor:

Im Ha Ryong: Welcome to Dongmakgol

Best Supporting Actress:

Kang Hye Jung: Welcome to Dongmakgol

Best New Actor:

Chun Jung Myung: The Aggressives

Best New Actress:

Kim Ji Soo: This Charming Girl

Best Cinematography:

Kim Ji Yong: A Bittersweet Life < :)

Best Screenplay:

Go Yoon Hee, Han Jae Rim: Rules of Dating

Best New Director:

Jung Yoon Chul: Marathon aka Running Boy

Best Music:

Kim Joon Sung: Marathon aka Running Boy

Movie attracting most audiences Award:

Welcome to Dongmakgol: Filmitsuda

Most Popular Actors:

Kang Dong Won

Jo Seung Woo

Most Popular Actress: thanks to Shirley

HA Ji-won

KIM Soo-mi

Lee Byung Hun, Lee Young Ae (이병헌, 이영애)





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December 05, 2005

Korean Weekly News - 12/05

Park Gwang-Hyun's 웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol) completely dominated the 4th 대한민국 영화대상 (Korean Film Awards) , MBC's answer to last week's Blue Dragon Awards on KBS. The human drama, which sold over 8 Million tickets this Summer, took Best Picture, Best Director, and other awards for a total of six. Hwang Jung-Min got both the Best Leading and Best Supporting actor awards, and Kim Ji-Soo confirmed her Blue Dragon Best New Actress award with another here. Here's the results:

최우수 작품상 (Best Film)

웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol)

감독상 (Best Director)

웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol), Park Gwang-Hyun

남우주연상 (Best Leading Actor)

너는 내 운명 (You Are My Sunshine), Hwang Jung-Min

여우주연상 (Best Leading Actress)

너는 내 운명 (You Are My Sunshine), Jeon Do-Yeon

남우조연상 (Best Supporting Actor)

달콤한 인생 (A Bittersweet Life), Hwang Jung-Min

여우조연상 (Best Supporting Actress)

웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol), Kang Hye-Jung

신인감독상 (Best New Director)

웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol), Park Gwang-Hyun

신인남우상 (Best New Actor)

댄서의 순정 (Innocent Steps), Park Geon-Hyung

신인여우상 (Best New Actress)

여자, 정혜 (This Charming Girl), Kim Ji-Soo

촬영상 (Best Cinematography)

형사 (Duelist), Hwang Gi-Seok

조명상 (Best Lighting)

형사 (Duelist)>, Shin Kyung-Man

각본상 (Best Screenplay)

웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol), Jang Jin/Park Gwang-Hyun/Kim Joong

편집상 (Best Editing)

내 생애 가장 아름다운 일주일 (All For Love), Moon In-Dae

미술상 (Best Art Direction)

혈의 누 (Blood Rain), Min Eon-Ok

시각효과상 (Best Visual Effects)

혈의 누 (Blood Rain), Shin Jae-Ho

음악상 (Best Music)

웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol), Hisaishi Jo

음향상 (Best Sound Effects)

혈의 누 (Blood Rain), Kim Seok-Won/Kim Chang-Seop


» Posted by X at December 5, 2005 04:33 AM


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December 07, 2005

Korean Critics Pick Best of the Year


A small revenge for Lee Myung-Se? Before the 25th Edition of the 국제영화평론가협회상 (Korean Critics' Choice Awards), Lee's latest effort 형사 (Duelist) polarized views to a point that, on certain Korean message boards, it became a matter of 'Tell me if you like Duelist or not, I'll tell you who you are'. But critics came to the rescue, awarding the film three times, and including it in the Top 10 of the year.

I always more or less agreed with the winners chosen by this award ceremony over the years, which along with the Busan Film Critics Association Awards often ends up being the most 'realistic' (read: less influenced by popularity, politics or the push of certain Korean majors) of the year.

The awards were announced yesterday, with Ahn Sung-Gi and announcer Lee Sang-Hee as the hosts. Here's the results:

Top 10 Films

- no order -

그때 그 사람들 (The President's Last Bang) - DIR. Im Sang-Soo

말아톤 (Marathon) - DIR. Jung Yoon-Cheol

주먹이 운다 (Crying Fist) - DIR. Ryu Seung-Wan

달콤한 인생 (A Bittersweet Life) - DIR. Kim Ji-Woon

친절한 금자씨 (Sympathy For Lady Vengeance) - DIR. Park Chan-Wook

혈의 누 (Blood Rain) - DIR. Kim Dae-Seung

연애의 목적 (Rules of Dating) - DIR. Han Jae-Rim

웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol) - DIR. Park Gwang-Hyun

형사 (Duelist) - DIR. Lee Myung-Se

너는 내 운명 (You Are My Sunshine) - DIR. Park Jin-Pyo

최우수 작품상 (Best Film) - 형사 (Duelist)

감독상 (Best Director) - 형사 (Duelist) Lee Myung-Se

각본상 (Best Screenplay) - 혈의 누 (Blood Rain) Lee Won-Jae

여자연기자상 (Best Actress) - 너는 내 운명 (You Are My Sunshine) Jeon Do-Yeon

남자연기자상 (Best Actor) - 달콤한 인생 (A Bittersweet Life) Lee Byung-Heon

촬영상 (Best Cinematography) - 형사 (Duelist) Hwang Gi-Seok

음악상 (Best Music) - 달콤한 인생 (A Bittersweet Life) Dalparan, Jang Young-Gyu

기술상 (Best Art) - 혈의 누 (Blood Rain) Shin Jae-Ho (Make Up Effects)

여자신인상 (Best New Actress) - 사랑니 (Blossom Again) Jung Yoo-Mi

남자신인상 (Best New Actor) - 용서받지 못한 자 (The Unforgiven) Ha Jung-Woo

신인감독상 (Best New Director) - 오로라 공주 (Princess Aurora) Bang Eun-Jin

특별공로상 (Special Honorary Award) - Kim Jong-Won, Byun In-Shik (Founding Members of the Film Critics Association)

Via Film2.0


» Posted by X at December 7, 2005 02:09 AM


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A Bittersweet Life


A Bittersweet Life opens with a gorgeous black and white image of a willow tree tossing in the breeze. As color slowly starts to bleed into the frame, we hear a voiceover by the main character Sun-woo: "On a clear spring day, a disciple looked at some branches blowing in the wind, and asked, 'Master, is it the branches that are moving, or the wind?' Without even looking to where his pupil was pointing, the teacher smiled and said, 'That which moves is neither the branches nor the wind, it is your heart and mind.'" 

Sun-woo (Lee Byung-heon) is a man whose heart and mind remain closed to wind, rain, or disruptive emotions. For the past seven years he has served his gangster boss with unflinching exactitude. He manages an upscale bar called La Dolce Vita (which echoes the film's original Korean title), and he despatches people who get in the boss's way with skill and efficiency. The boss (Kim Young-cheol) trusts him so much that he asks Sun-woo to look after his mistress (Shin Min-ah), and to kill her if she is being unfaithful.

A Bittersweet Life posits what might happen if, after all those years, a frozen pysche such as Sun-woo's should suddenly start to melt. This would seem at first to be an overly romantic notion to throw into a Korean-style noir film, where the violence is gut-wrenching and the hero feels no qualms about putting his gun to a man's forehead and pulling the trigger. But the emotions that seep into Sun-woo's mind unleash a recklessness in him, that will later transform into fury once he senses that he has been betrayed.

The familiar stylistic traits of director Kim Jee-woon, seen before in A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), The Foul King (2000), and The Quiet Family (1998), can be spotted here in abundance, and yet he has never made a movie quite like this one. It feels nihilistic at times, and as in Old Boy -- which will surely be compared to this film countless times -- the violence is strong and innovative enough to become a topic of conversation. Mixed in with the cruelty is a bit of absurd, black humor in the middle reels, but not enough to lessen the heavy feel of the work as a whole. The end result is a visually stylish, cool film that is both very commercial (even though it underperformed in both Korea and Japan), and also complex enough to make it hard to pin down.

One way to approach this film is to simply revel in the details. I love the way Lee Byung-heon savors the last bites of his dessert before going downstairs to beat the pulp out of some rival gangsters who have wondered onto his turf. Perhaps in defiance of Korean critics who, after watching A Tale of Two Sisters, accused Kim of having a foot fetish, the director introduces his striking lead actress Shin Min-ah with a huge shot of her bare feet. I love the way Shin Min-ah's home is decorated (production designer Ryu Seong-hee is Korea's most famous; she also worked on Memories of Murder and Old Boy). And finally, I love the ending, even if I can't speak about it here. If the ending of A Tale of Two Sisters disappoints, the final shots of this film make up a sweet, indelible set of images. (Darcy Paquet) 

Source: koreanfilm.org


The translation for the Korean trailer:

It attracts peoples attention and curiosity about the story.. 

Anyway, for foreign fans, here is what he said in the trailer. 

BH said " why did you do this to me..?" "please tell me!" and

the Boss's narration about the reason (basically abstract of the movie) following. 

"Several years ago, I had a very clever guy.. but oneday I give him a order and he made mistake. But strange thing is that he did not accept that he made a mistake..finally, that makes him to lost his one hand.. This time, one hand is not enough" 

after BH turn the wall and disappeared, there is a gun shot and following BH's voice "But, I can not go back.." 

Translated by BB at leebyunghun.com

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May 30, 2006

NYAFF Review: A Bittersweet Life

Martha Fischer / cinematical.com

The New York Asian Film Festival is celebrating its fifth birthday this year with its largest-ever slate of films: 25 features on just two screens, most of which are making their New York or US debuts. The festival is dedicated to exploring "the latest and greatest movies from Asia," and the 2006 line-up includes works from Japan, China, Korea, India, Thailand, and Malaysia. The festival runs from June 15 to July 1; watch the official website for ticket and showtime information.

A Bittersweet Life is an utterly gorgeous film. Filled with surfaces so polished they seem to glow, and tableaus so carefully composed they look like paintings, it aspires to and often achieves a magical sort of visual perfection. Each scene and face is lit with aggressive disregard for reality; director Kim Ji-woon's only concern is what looks best, and his meticulous attention to detail is our reward as we take in one sumptuous image after another. 

For a time, the film's content matches its look. At the center of A Bittersweet Life is Sun-Woo, a tightly controlled gang enforcer who, after seven years of service, has earned the trust of his employer. Played by Lee Byung-hun in a narrow black suit, Sun-Woo's resemblance to Alain Delon's Jef in Le Samouraï couldn't possibly be accidental. Lee shares Delon's wide, blank eyes, as well as his uncanny ability to make his face go completely slack. Like Jef, Sun-Woo is disciplined, unquestioning, and careful. And, like Jef, he make a conscious choice to disobey his employer over a woman. After the betrayal, both men use their ruthlessness and skill for themselves for the first time, a choice that makes turning back impossible. In Le Samouraï, Jef's actions are smart, informed, and decisive. In A Bittersweet Life, however, both Sun-Woo's and the film's careful control fall apart, and what had been an intelligent, highly promising convergence of character and structure turns into a bloody mess with a sky-high body count and very little in the way character development.

From the start, Sun-Woo is a fascinating character. When we first meet him, he quietly, carefully finishes a chocolate tart in the dining room of a luxury hotel before descending into the building's bowels (his shot-from-behind, Goodfellas-style walk through the kitchen is only the first of many visual references to other crime films) to viciously dispatch three men sent by a rival gang to do business. Throughout the beating, Sun-Woo maintains the same air of control he exhibited while dining; there is never a sense of panic or even urgency in anything he does. He is impatient with those who lack his decisiveness and discipline, and because of that sometimes come across as arrogant. In fact, he's simply a man who makes it a priority to be good at his job, and expects the same from others.

As interesting as Sun-Woo is on paper, however, his primary depth comes from Lee's performance in the role. His long face, framed by shaggy, black hair, is unlined and completely blank: Without any hint of sympathy or fear, he is the perfect hired gun. What's most incredible about that face, though, is the range of emotions it expresses, all without seeming to change at all. One moment, Lee seems to be all of 19 or 20 years old; just a beat later, he has the weariness of a man of 40. And he goes from impassivity, to fear, to fury, all in a matter of seconds, and without moving a muscle. It's a strange, incredibly accomplished performance, and it's the movie's greatest, quietest strength.

The fact that Lee's subtle brilliance isn't supported by the film is one of the things that makes A Bittersweet Life so disappointing. When the movie collapses and becomes simply another adventure in stylized violence, it sacrifices the character development and relationships that had driven its first half. Had the film continued along its original path, it could have been an original, memorable work. As it is now, it's just another title to put in the growing file of good-looking, bloody revenge sagas from Korea.

Korean Act. Magazine May 2005 captures courtesy Gigi 

th_Image017.jpg th_Image014.jpg th_Image016.jpg

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April 21, 2007 

A Bittersweet Life is not a movie for kids because it is about Lee Byung Hun, the right hand man of a triad ,carrying out his boss' order. In this movie, he was supposed to check on the boss' girlfriend to see if she has a lover and Lee Byung Hun was given the choice to handle the matter. Let's just say the first scene was real kick richard simmons. Actually, whenever Lee Byung Hun fought, he was quite something especially his high sweep kick. No wonder why Jackie Chan likes Lee Byung Hun so much and claim that he is his half brother. 


But other than that, this role demands that he is emotionless so the attention could only be put into the action and the brutality of it. I wouldn't want to watch it again although I have to say I like the ending a lot. Lee Byung Hun will play an aggressive public prosecutor in Kimura's HERO movie version soon - for a cameo. So if you want to understand this guy a bit more, check out this movie. I've watched his Joint Security Area and it is a much better movie than this one.

Source: gakinme


I believe these are definitely a couple of the strongest scenes of Sunwoo in BSL... no longer the cool, powerful manager he used to be. He was so completely bewildered and lost after going through hell and back.

At the mercy of the weapon dealers (that could easily expose him to the Boss)... Sunwoo had to remain calm though we can only imagine what's going through his mind. He had no time to think... to survive.

Source: miclub, empas.com

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-- an older article-interview on the movie

Updated Mar.24,2005 15:52 KST

'A Bittersweet Life' - the Beginner's Guide


Director Kim Ji-woon (left) and Lee Byung-hun

It is possible to confuse the director with the movie star. Severe in a knitted hat and sunglasses, director Kim Ji-woon, 41, starts the banter by saying, "If we pose together you might get buried in the picture." Lee Byung-hun, 35, in ripped jeans, counterattacked: "You make fun of my ideas, but you always end up incorporating them in your work."

The movie "A Bittersweet Life" created by the director of the blockbusters "The Quiet Family", "The Foul King" and "A Tale of Two Sisters" and the ambitious actor who watches movies he stars in for more than 20 times, is a story of the wretched crash of a gangster who once seemed to have everything going for him. Here we introduce you to the movie and the story that lies behind it.

Espresso or Style

"There really was a gangster like that in real life. He graduated from a very prominent university, only wore black suits and was the epitome of good manners. He was greeted with bows and called "big brother" everywhere he went," says Lee Byung-hun. "The espresso Lee Byung-hun enjoys in the movie contains both sweetness and bitterness. That is life, and that is what our movie is about," Kim Ji-woon adds.

What separates "A Bittersweet Life" from other genre movies is its style. While wearing a tailored black suit and insisting on drinking espresso, Lee Byung-hun declares, "I’m not a bum."



"It must be a scene never seen in any other Korean action movies. The intense visual impact of the blazing timber enthralled me." (Lee Byung-hun) "As the movie progresses, so does the level of violence. It parallels Byeong-hun's emotional state in the movie. Paradoxically, through violence I wanted to evoke sympathy towards these men, with its recklessness and meaninglessness." (Kim Ji-woon)

The characters' only method of communication is violence. In the same way he portrayed the anxiety of the girl in "A Tale of Two Sisters" through the flower patterned wallpaper of primary colors, the director reveals the inner state of the wrecked man through the intensity of the blazing lumber and the dampness of a deep pit.

Shadow boxing or noir


"Choosing the genre is like choosing the subject. It is the genre that can best express what I wish to convey." (Kim Ji-woon) "Honestly, I wanted to watch that movie. So I willingly participated." (Lee Byung-hun)

Shadow boxing in the Sky Lounge Hotel, Lee in the movie admires his reflection in the window. But his dark shadow is contrasted with the city’s lights. It is a scene that emphasizes the noir genre's focus on the dark inner self and its collapse.

A 38-caliber revolver and a fall

"Starting his revenge, he leaves the traditional weapon behind and chooses the gun. We start with his awkward expression when making a deal with an arms dealer until we reach his heroic but tragic fall from power." (Lee Byung-hun) "A gun is a masculine form of power. Doesn't it symbolize both the glory and the fall?" (Kim Ji-woon)

The noir gunfight in the latter half of the movie using an arsenal of Russian and American guns sets a stark contrast with the first half.

La Dolce Vita or A Bittersweet Life

Much of the movie is set in a hotel bar called La Dolce Vita. As Federico Fellini made clear in the movie of the same title (1960), bitterness too often follows a sweet choice. This is Kim Ji-woon's aesthetic pessimism.

(englishnews@chosun.com )

Credit: Digital Chosunilbo


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Source: www.leebyunghun.com, copied from www.honeyhunny.com

I so lurve...this scene...!!! :rolleyes: ..

and ..the ..'shadow boxing'...too...

thanks Rubie..this should be one of Hunnie Brian 's best movie eva!!.

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15th December 2005

13th Chunsa Film Art Awards

Best Film : Blood Rain

Best Director: Kim Dae-Seung (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

Best Actor : Lee Byung Hun (달콤한 인생, A Bittersweet Life)

Best Actress : Jeon Do-Yeon (너는 내 운명, You Are My Sunshine)

Best Supporting Actor : Park Yong-Woo (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

Best Supporting Actress : Oh Mi-hee ( A lovely week in my life/All for love)

Best Cinematography : Choi Young-Hwan (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

Best Lighting : Kim Seon-Gwan (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

Best Technical Effects : Shin Jae-Ho (혈의 누, Blood Rain)

Best Editing : Blood Rain

Best Music : Crying Fist

Best New Director : Jung Yoon-Cheol (말아톤, Marathon)

Best Newcomer (Actor) Kim tae hyun (A lovely week in my life/All for love)

Best Newcomer (Actress) Seo Young-hee (A lovely week in my life / All for love)

Thanks to Hyc and Shirley at LBH thread for the winners' list & translation.

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"KAIJU SHAKEDOWN's Best of Asian Cinema 2005"




It's a tie between Lee Byung-Heong in A BITTERSWEET LIFE and Lee Yong-Ae in SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE. Whether it's Lee's muted slate suits, or his downscale earth tone J. Crew "Working Man's" collection outfits, whatever he wears is just perfect for mass blood-letting and mayhem. In her scarlet eye shadow and her vintage 60's dresses, Lee Yong-Ae is definitely dressed to kill right down to her designer, double-barreled pistol. And that high-collared leather coat? Meow!

Thanks to atom at koreanfilm.org for the highlight

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Movie Review

A Bittersweet Life


Director: Kim Jee-woon

Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Hwang Jeong-min, Shin Min-a


Yes, A Bittersweet Life is a Korean soufflé of tragically flawed heroes, show-offy visuals, extreme violence, and dubiously callous ethics. But Kim Jee-woon is not Park Chan-wook. Curiously, the strongest point of distinction is Kim’s inclination toward Eastern spirituality. Bittersweet Life’s erstwhile-claimed reference point is Oldboy, but gross as that cross-over hit was, it had aspirations to Western moralism. Frat boys scuttered back to their dorms from university screenings, gingerly tendering to enthused chums, “I really wanna see that again, but… ew…” Perhaps Park owes at least a portion of his success in the States to the inexorable role of the taboos he doles out in our culture, best exemplified in that indelible Eurotrip quip, “You made out with your sister, man!”

Like Oldboy’s Oh Dae-su, Bittersweet Life’s protagonist, Kim Sun-woo, has a secret. But while Dae-su’s is rooted in the discarded memories of Freud’s unconscious, Sun-woo’s is plain for any sentient viewer to see, only a shame in his uniquely repressed milieu. Among Sun-woo’s mafioso confidantes, where any slight palpitation of the heart may precipitate an earthquake, love is an impossibility. So when the taciturn hitman falls for Hee-soo, a fair lamb he’s assigned to coldly shadow, hell breaks loose. Sun-woo’s sudden divergence from his amoral pals looks ostensibly Samaritan, but ultimately seems less an act of kindness than fetishistic obsession. Thus, Sun-woo moves beyond the simple role of an ambiguous hero into something much more interesting and potentially unredeemable, at worst a stubborn prick and at best a horny, stubborn prick.

Intractability is Sun-woo’s bane, and while nothing new, is awfully refreshing in the realm of the hubristic action hero. There’s a scene in which a cronie balefully suggests that Sun-woo reconsider his alliance with the boss’ ex-mistress, and forcefully offers, “Three words: I. Am. Sorry.” I identified with Sun-woo’s steadfast reticence, and it was a shocker to pinpoint the particular incident I was drawing from to empathize: Sun-woo was me, as a recalcitrant four-year-old fond of stealing trikes, and the cronie was a deeply frustrated pre-school teacher. Moreover, prepare to regress, should you find Sun-woo a tad cocky.


Just as Sun-woo would never top any guest lists, he’s hard to derive complexity from, and in the role, Lee Byung-hun summons a physical presence infinitely more striking than his emotional intimations. Lee emotes as though programmed to permute three expressions: indignant, blasé, and pleased. But he also combines Jackie Chan dexterity with coolly efficient terseness, never firing one shot too many. A glorious set-piece finds Sun-woo being inadvertently instructed to take down said instructor, and Lee’s combo of wordless, childlike anxiety and animalistic instinct makes it work. It’s 90% set-up, 10% payoff, with a wince-inducing chaser redolent of the more gruesome inserts from A History of Violence, the catch being that Sun-woo has always been Joey Cusack.

Kim’s Bazin-worthy patience for a scene’s natural development, along with his predilection for lengthy, quietly ominous two-shots, are complementary to the unadorned economy of Lee’s performance. His editing strategy traffics heavily in non-empathetic, seemingly extraneous inserts of dazzlingly gorgeous stuff: a woman’s jet-black hair shines like the sun; an ice-hockey rink serves as the palette for crimson mayhem; a gelatin dessert is so positively antiseptic you can see yourself in it. These details would seem excessively prettifying if they weren’t so commonplace, so small. It’s this contradictory mesh of banality and loveliness that fuels Kim’s Nabokovian intelligence in articulating Sun-woo’s obsession. Sun-woo often flashes back to a recording studio where he observes Hee-soo perform in an ensemble. She’s on the cello, however, and the lead in the piece is screamingly, obviously the violin, standing a few chairs away; the metronomic intonations of Sun-woo’s prized lass are barely audible. Excuse me, Mr. Bad richard simmons, but that’s pretty hilariously pathetic.

Indeed, in A Bittersweet Life, Kim explores how fickle men can weave an ideal of supreme beauty from the most anonymous of maidens. The film opens and closes on non-diegetic Zen aphorisms apparently out-of-place with the sleek, machismo thriller sandwiched within; both involve a naïve disciple and a master who shows the child the ways of his solipsism. Like the disciple, Sun-woo is brashly solipsistic, but in a world where his superiors are similarly imprisoned, he has no master to learn from. Kim, per Sun-woo, embellishes over pretty things, but also has the intelligence to recognize how frail those things really are; he’s the disciple, and the master. It’s a markedly Eastern sensibility, cognizant of aestheticism but wary of its limits. To Kim, life is simply there, to be savored while it lasts. When Kim’s characters beg for their lives, they’re begging for just that—life. Not compassion, forgiveness, or brotherhood; simply existence, and all the sensory graces it entails. The fruit of Screenwriting 101 will object, but to this reviewer, his primacy is breathtaking.

By: Sky Hirschkron


Source: STYLUS


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