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[Movie 2010] I Saw The Devil 악마를 보았다

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September 20, 2010

Exclusive: Kim Jee-Woon Makes A Last Stand!

By
El Mayimbe

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So Kim Jee-Woon, the super hot at the moment Korean director of films "The Good, The Bad, and The Weird" and "I Saw the Devil" (which rocked the house last week at Toronto AND got Magnet Releasing as a distributor) got himself an Amrican gig!

We learned and can exclusively report that Kim Jee-Woon will direct 2009 Black List script "LAST STAND" for Lionsgate. The movie is scheduled to go into production in the spring of 2011.

Written by Andrew Knauer, the story, described as having shades of "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "High Noon," features a Gumpert Apollo, a 200 mph race car used by drug smugglers, and it centers on a cartel leader that uses it to break out of a courthouse. As he speeds to the Mexican border, the only thing standing in his way is a border-town sheriff and his inexperienced staff.

Lorenzo DiBonaventura (SALT, TRANSFORMERS) is producing. Pretty cool, huh? I read "LAST STAND" last year and thought it was a pretty hot action thriller.

September 19, 2010

TIFF 2010 Spotlight: I Saw the Devil

Dave Alexander blogtasticvoyage.ca

If you’re a fan of Korean cinema, you’re probably a fan of Ji-Woon Kim, the filmmaker behind some of the wildest and most popular genre titles to come out of the country in the past decade. I particularly love his first feature, the morbid comedy The Quiet Family (1998), as well as his short “Memories” from the horror anthology Three (2002). His A Tale of Two Sisters (2003, remade last year as The Uninvited) is one of the most internationally known Korean horror films, while The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) action/western/comedy was a festival favourite for its high-flying Indiana Jones-style adventure mayhem.

He brought something much darker to the Toronto International Film Festival: I Saw the Devil, a gory serial killer revenge movie. The movie is so nasty, in fact, that it caused a controversy in Korea when censors would only allow it to screen uncut in theatres that are 18+. Thing is, there are no adult-only theatres in Korea, so they effectively banned the film. TIFF offered it uncut, though, and maaaaan, does it ever live up to its nasty reputation.

It stars major Korean star Byung-hun Lee (The Good, the Bad, the Weird, plus he played Storm Shadow in the G.I. Joe movie) as a government agent whose girlfriend is brutally murdered and dismembered by a particularly sick serial killer. Another major Korean star, Min-sik Choi, who North American genre fans know and love from his starring role in Oldboy, plays the narcissistic murderer – one of the most vile characters ever brought to the screen. Our Jason Bourne-like hero uses his considerable skills to track down the bad guy, but instead of turning him into the police (who are hunting both of them), or killing him, he knocks the monster out and feeds him a tracking device so that he can continue to stalk and torture him. Beating his prey within a few inches of his life, then leaving him at the side of the road, he wants to prolong his misery as long as possible. But the killer is smarter and more resilient than he seems, and soon the tables are turned, with some pretty goddamned awful results.

Kim incorporates elements of Se7en, Saw, even Hostel (yes, it gets that grisly, and worse!), and other cat-and-mouse serial killer/torture movies, but creates something new with a story that continues on after the hero catches the killer, then turns into something even more twisted, taking some strange detours, including the appearance of an unrepentant connoisseur cannibal.

It’s a very slick, well directed film with plenty of action, mystery and tension. I’d be surprised if a North American remake wasn’t already in the works. The anchor points of I Saw the Devil, though, are the intense, relentless performances from Lee and Choi. It always makes for great drama when two so completely dedicated professionals from two opposite sides of the same coin are pitted against each other (think of De Niro and Pacino’s characters in Heat or Batman and the Joker in The Dark Knight Returns). And, like Batman and the Joker, the line between monster and monster hunter becomes blurred, which raises the stakes considerably and makes the viewer question the actions of the protagonist (while he questions them himself). At what point does the revenge go from pleasurable to disturbing?

For this reason, it’s essential to see the I Saw the Devil uncut. The violence and gore aren’t gratuitous, but serve to stoke the audiences, unease, disgust and outright horror at the action of both characters. It’s the kind of uncompromising movie that film festivals are made for discovering – hopefully it’ll come to theatres here uncensored in the near future.

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Please beware of spoilers although they probably may help getting through the extreme craziness of the movie.. or not..

Score: 9 / 10

I SAW THE DEVIL

By: Brad Miska (MrDisgusting) bloody-disgusting.com

A challenger to Park Chan-wook as Korea’s most talented filmmakers is Kim Jee-woon, who directed such notable films as A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. Jee-woon has been known to enjoy tackling different genres and this time takes a stab (pun intended) at horror with I Saw the Devil, a dark and demented tale of a crimson serial killer…and his hunter.

The delivered synopsis sums the film up quite well as it’s nothing original in any way, shape, or form, but what’s important is the execution. I Saw The Devil stars Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) as a psychopathic serial killer (Kyung-chul) up against Lee Byung-hun (Three... Extremes, G.I. Joe) as a special agent (Soo-hyeon) whose fiancée becomes one of his victims. Lee’s cool-headed and intelligent character in turn becomes a monster in order to avenge the killing. In short, he is intent on torturing Kyung-chul by catching him, beating the crap out of him, and then letting him go. Then repeat.

A film like I Saw the Devil makes quality filmmakers stand out like a sore thumb. As cliché as the thriller is, it was captivating from start to finish, and features some of the most brilliantly directed sequences of the year. In an extremely tense moment, a beaten and wounded Kyung-chul luckily lands a cab ride in the middle of nowhere. The audience knows he’s a psychopath, but what we don’t know is he just landed in a cab with two other homicidal maniacs. The tension is cut with a vicious stabbing scene that’s directed in such a way I’ve never witnessed. As Kyung-chul stabs the living richard simmons out of these people, the camera spins along the inside of the car for a good 30 seconds. It was so brilliantly executed that I couldn’t even tell you how it was done.

The version shown at TIFF was the director’s 7-minutes longer cut that we’re told will be released in the States by Magnet. Jee-woon never tones down the violence for the audience as he cuts right through an Achilles tendon, beats a person’s head in with a rock, and decapitates another. And while the gore level if off the chain, he shows restraint and never quite pushes it over the top.

What truly makes I Saw the Devil one of my favorite films of the year is that Jee-woon makes each and every frame of the two and a half hour film interesting. There’s not a single boring moment as the intensity of the situation rises exponentially until the very last frame. In fact, Jee-woon has a taste for the bizarre giving audiences an homage to classics such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. In one of the crazier moments we’re introduced to Kyung-chul’s brother who has a taste for red meat, and causing pain. As the two reunite, his brother chomps down human meat as they go eye-to-eye in a psychopathic staring contest.

I could talk for hours about I Saw the Devil, but nothing I can say will ever do it justice. The film is an experience; it’s something that will have you emotionally invested in the characters, while also covering your eyes at the extreme violence. I Saw the Devil has everything a horror fan could want, and more. It easily rivals The Host, Oldboy and other Asian thrillers of the past ten years. If Magnet releases this in theaters it’s highly recommended that you take some time out and look the Devil right in the eyes.

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From Darcy Paquet's twitter up1.gif

Spoke with Kim Jee-woon at San Sebastian, he said reviews of his films by bloggers influence him the most, more than critics or netizens.

A mix of strong praise and strong criticism. Apparently better received in Toronto.

DEVIL being in competition at SanSeb prompted debate about what kind of festival it wants to be. New fest director is genre cinephile.

Looks like Maybe .. Dir. KJW is still in San Sebastian.. awaiting the festival's competition results, perhaps?

copied from GBW cafe.daum

san_sebastian_istd.jpg

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September 26, 2010

Fantastic Fest: First secret screening is amazing Korean killer thriller 'I Saw The Devil'

Drew McWeeny hitfix.com

You know Fantastic Fest is really underway when one of the secret screenings has already happened. There are always several peppered throughout the schedule, and the one on Friday night turned out to be the new Korean film "I Saw The Devil," which I had picked as one of my three favorite films from this year's Toronto International Film Festival. I'm thrilled it played here, because it means I get to talk about the film with all my friends now, and I'm eager for that conversation to also include the general viewing public as soon as possible.

If you are a serial killer, can I offer a little advice?

Based on the evidence of the remarkable "I Saw The Devil," I would say it is a good rule of thumb that you should not brutally murder the fiance of a top secret agent for South Korea, because if you do, he is going to make you suffer. And suffer. And suffer.

And then Kim Ji-Woon will make a movie about it, and it will be awesome.

That's because everything Kim Ji-Woon makes seems to be awesome. I didn't realize it at first, because his films have never been the "OMG, stop the presses!" moments of their respective years, but have instead just been consistently great. "A Tale Of Two Sisters" is a meticulously built horror film, where what you aren't told is just as important as what you are told, a brain-bender more than a gross-out. "A Bittersweet Life" seems at first glance to be a John Woo style story of men and honor and guns and the like, but he makes the genre feel brand new, like he invented it. And then "The Good The Bad And The Weird" seemed to be a reinvention of the filmmaker as a Spielberg-like purveyor of set-pieces and spectacle, a spaghetti western that could easily play to fans of giant Hollywood films like the "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movies. He seems to be capable of pretty much whatever he sets out to do.

Little wonder, then, that "I Saw The Devil" is one of the year's best films, although I would warn that it is harrowing, visceral stuff. It plays like some fevered middle ground between "Se7en" and "The Game," but that's not to say it's just some Fincher knock-off. Far from it. I'm frustrated that I don't have the credits for the film to refer to, so I'm not sure if it's an original script or an adaptation, or who wrote it. It's a fiendishly clever construct, though. In the film's opening moments, a beautiful young woman is on the phone to her fiancee, who is indeed a South Korean secret agent played by Lee Byung-hun. She's got a flat tire, and she's called for a repair truck to come help her. Instead, someone else stops by, an unsettling figure played by Choi Min-sik. When she says the wrong thing, it's almost like it's the excuse he's been waiting for, and Choi Min-sik goes mad, murdering her with sudden, awful fury. Once Lee Byung-hun finds her body, though, and sees what was done to her, the game is on, and he takes a break from his job to go after whoever did it.

On one level, yes, we've gotten this general point before. The more Lee Byung-hun tries to hurt Choi Min-sik in this film, the more he corrupts his own image, his own values. Gaze too long into the abyss, and so on. But it's the particular game that gets played, the way this story escalates, that turns "I Saw The Devil" into something really special. Using his training as a secret agent, he finds the serial killer, and in a simple version of the story, he would kill him in some terrible way and that would be the revenge. Nope. The secret agent has something else in mind. He hurts the serial killer, badly, and then while he's unconscious, feeds him a GPS locator with a microphone built in. He releases the serial killer, and then begins to track him, knowing that the moment he starts to do anything, the secret agent will sweep in and hurt him again, worse each time it happens.

It's such a clean idea, such a great opportunity to really push these characters, and Kim Ji-Woon's amazing mind for building a set piece really shines here. There's one long sequence that takes place in and around a house owned by some friends of Choi Min-sik in the film, where he's trying to hide out, unaware that Lee Byung-hun is nearby and ready to pounce, that is absolutely amazing, one of the best extended sequences in any film I've seen all year. I'm so taken with the director's eye for composition, with his color palette, with his sense of timing in his cuts in and out of scenes, with his ear for dialogue, with the way he can create stylized worlds with totally natural characters, with the precision of his filmcraft whether he's directing two people sitting at a table talking or a chase scene with an entire army in a desert. This is another wall-to-wall showcase for the exceptional command he has for almost every element in his movies, and it's a chance to take these two great movie stars and slam them into each other to see what happens. Choi Min-sik is best known as the star of "Old Boy," and Lee Byung-Hun has already crossed over from exceptional Korean films like "A Bittersweet Life" to big Hollywood movies like "G.I. Joe," where he played Stormshadow. For fans of Korean cinema, this is pretty much a dream come true moment, and for the film to deliver on its promise with such flair and sad, painful beauty is a confirmation that Kim Ji-Woon really is one of the names any serious film fan should be paying close attention to these days.

"I Saw The Devil" will be distributed in 2011 by Magnet Releasing in the U.S.

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I Saw the Devil

By
Scott A. Gray

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If you plan to see I Saw the Devil, you'd better have a strong stomach and a little sadism in your blood. Seldom have I heard an audience so audibly gasp, wince, holler, laugh, cheer and clap during the same film.

Ji-woon Kim is a certified chameleon at this point in his career. Following mercurial ghost story A Tale of Two Sisters and epic western comedy The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Kim has shuffled genres again to try his hand at a morally murky serial killer revenge torture picture.

Byung-hun Lee (the Bad, in The Good, The Bad, The Weird) portrays a grief-stricken security agent hell-bent on tracking down and punishing his wife's murder after parts of her mutilated body are found in a river. The director spends a bit of time with this first victim, establishing a sweet, doting relationship in just a few beats of a phone conversation with her husband. That we witness her grisly murder sets up an emotional connection to Lee's grief, made palpable by one of many great moments in his performance.

Where most films would simply follow the vengeance-seeking husband, Kim casts the formidable Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) as the sadistic psycho, who we see right from the opening scene, and follow in as much, or more, detail as the hero. The very concept of heroism is darkly scrutinized, crossing into vigilante revenge and the toll associated with acting monstrous in order to punish a monster. It's a film as darkly funny as it is morbidly beautiful, at times. It's also brutal and merciless in its promises of escalating violence as the two men try to one up each other's pain, leaving Kim the task of making the audience squirm more with each exchange.

At nearly two-and-a-half hours, I Saw the Devil should feel long but doesn't. There's nary a spare moment where tension isn't being built and released then pulled taut anew, often to disturbing, nauseating new heights. If a perfect companion to Chan-wook Park's Vengeance trilogy perks your sadistic streak, set your sights on this Devil. (Peppermint)

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September 26, 2010

FANTASTIC FEST 2010: I SAW THE DEVIL REVIEW

by Swarez twitchfilm.net

Revenge is a dish best served cold, someone once said. In Kim Ji-woon's I Saw The Devil, revenged is served so ****ing cold it's like a block of ice smashed across your face. Kim Ji-woon takes the tried and true serial killer formula and flips it on it disturbed head with fantastic results. Korean superstars Lee Byung-hun (Bittersweet Life, The Good, The Bad and the Weird) and Choi Min-sik (Old Boy) headline this sucker punch of a movie that one wasn't expecting from the man who delivered Tale of Two Sisters and most recently The Good, The Bad and the Weird. Lee plays a secret service agent who's wife has been brutally slain by a sick and twisted serial killer played by Choi. With the help of the girl's father, who's a retired police chief, Lee is able to track down the closest suspects and delivers a swift beat down before moving on to the next in line. Finally he's able to track down Choi at his slaughter house and figure out that he is indeed the killer he's been looking for. But instead of killing him right there and then he beats the living **** out of him and lets him go, but not before inserting a small GPS unit in to him. After that a demented game of catch and release takes place where Choi, who has no idea why this man is after him, gets his richard simmons handed to him and then patched up to be ready for the next round. But while Choi is a demented and a disgusting person he's not stupid and later on he's on to what's going on and things turn around for the worse for Lee.

It's not often that you sit in a movie theater and every single person in there winches and groans because of what is on the screen. It's no wonder that South Korean authorities wanted extensive cuts to be made to the film, it's pretty damn violent and mean spirited. But it could be very easy to do those cuts and not lose the power of the film and Ji-woon manages to infuse pitch black humor in to the story as well that balance things out. The film also caters to the viewers who want to see harm come to Choi's character as it revels in the torture that Lee performs on him. They might just not be ready to the excesses of violence that the film portrays.

The performances in the film are top notch, Choi might be hamming it up a little bit but it sort of fits. Lee is cool as a cucumber, totally set on horrible and slow murder.

I Saw The Devil is a nut kicker of a film, powerful and brutal, funny and sad and not the torture porn that it might sound like it is.

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September 28, 2010

Fantastic Fest 2010 Review: I SAW THE DEVIL

by: J.C. De Leon gordonandthewhale.com

Rating: 4.5/5

Director: Ji-woon Kim

Cast: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi

Ji-Woon Kim already has one Fantastic Fest hit with his previous work THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD, and he has had an excellent follow-up to that film with A BITTERSWEET LIFE. His latest effort, I SAW THE DEVIL, is without a doubt his darkest, but still one of his greatest. It most certainly doesn’t follow the same tone of any of his previous work. Violent, relentless, brutal. Those are the tamest words that can describe this film. Heartfelt, touching, and great would be the best words to describe it. Certainly not for the squeamish, but its intensity is where the story lies.

When the head of the brutally murdered wife of our main character (Byung-hun Lee) is discovered by children, the chain of events that move along the entire film begin to fall into place. The merciless serial killer (Min-sik Choi)meticulously, almost delicately, cuts up his victims in various ways, disposes of the bodies, and then searches for his next victim. No amount of begging will help their cause, there is no moral compass to appeal to. He looks directly into the eyes of his victim and proceeds to simply, kill. In the context of the film, his latest victim is the wife of a Korean Secret Service agent, one who has at his disposal the means of finding out who his wife’s killer is, his past, information on his family, whatever he may need so that he can exact his revenge.

In typical Ji-woon Kim fashion, this is a story with incredibly deep layers that are pulled back ever so gently, all the while, an immensely violent tale is unfolding. What would appear to be a simple enough revenge story, Ji-woon Kim has constructed a framework of a story so intense that at times you won’t know who your rooting for. The story does follow most of the revenge story cliches, like having those closest to Lee’s character tell him that no matter what he does, it won’t bring back his wife. What I SAW THE DEVIL does differently is also show the perspective of the serial killer, while still never explaining his motivation to kill, even in situations where his own self-preservation would be better served rather than his need to be a monster to women, he can’t resist himself.

Byung-hun Lee is a staple in Ji-woon Kim’s movies, and it’s easy to see why in this role. Almost mimicking the nature of the serial killer who murdered his wife, he portrays a character that is just as, if not more meticulous. about his actions. While doing the mortifyingly violent things he is doing, he has the same almost emotionless face that so many Ji-woon Kim performances demand. Yet he executes that look so convincingly that he never seems like a character who is out for revenge. In contrast, the character of Min-sik Choi, while being equally violent, is more showing with his emotions. His performance is staggeringly good, right on par with his performance in OLDBOY.

At times I SAW THE DEVIL will feel a little long and some of beats are repetitive, but every moment is significant as they serve to develop the character since so little is known about either, especially Choi’s character. This is without a doubt going to be one of the more violent and gory movies of the year, so much so that not even the most seasoned thriller/killer movie fan will be able to resist squirming in their seat. But overall, this film is fantastic, any fan of Ji-woon Kim’s will enjoy this movie that while, not very humorous, and doesn’t have as many shootouts as his previous work, is still right on par with the quality of his resume up to this point.

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September 26, 2010

Fantastic Fest Blog: Day 2 - I Saw The Devil

by
Peter Sciretta

The secret screening on Friday was Ji-woon Kim’s I Saw The Devil. Many of you know Kim as the director of The Good, The Bad, the Weird, but his filmography also includes A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life, and The Uninvited. I Saw the Devil premiered at Toronto in the Midnight Madness section, but it was one of the movies I didn’t end up catching at TIFF.

Kim’s latest South Korean film tells the story of a man (Byung-hun Lee) who takes a leave of absence from his National Intelligence Service job to peruse the maniac who murdered his wife. He uses advanced technology he “borrows” from his work to track the serial killer. But where this film differs from the usual revenge film, Lee’s character has decided not to kill, but instead, torment and torture the killer.

Devil doesn’t spend too much time on characters, it is all about the insanely thrilling fight sequences and extremely brutal violence.
The violence in this movie is not of the fake Hollywood variety, it is realistic and hard to watch. The movie is a brutal experience, and while I highly recommend it, I don’t ever see myself watching it again
. That said, at 144 minutes in length, it could be at least 20 minutes shorter.

Fantastic Fest ’10 – I Saw the Devil Review

by Robert Saucedo insidepulse.com

i-saw-the-devil-poster-release-date-120x120.jpgPowerful Korean revenge flick pretty dang close to perfection

I Saw the Devil is a film that offers the best of both worlds. On one hand, it’s a classic throwback to the golden age of film noir and Alfred Hitchcock. On the other hand, it’s a brutally violent film with torture scenes that wouldn’t be out of place in the fevered dreams of Eli Roth. Ji-woon Kim, the critically acclaimed director of A Tale of Two Sisters and The Good, The Bad and The Weird, directs this relatively simple yet elegant Korean tale of revenge and two men’s quest to out-monster the other.

Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) stars as Soo-hyun, a secret agent who, on the night of his wife’s birthday, has his world shattered when his love is brutally murdered by a deranged rapist. Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) is Kyung-chul, the psychopath who has left a trail of dead women and blood-stained knives behind him in his quest to descend as far down the ladder of humanity as possible. Soo-hyun, grief-stricken from his wife’s murder, vows revenge. Simple death won’t do, though. Soo-hyun proceeds to track down Min-sik Choi, subsequently capturing, torturing and then letting the killer go. Rinse and repeat.

I Saw the Devil is as close to perfection as a film can get. Beautifully shot, scored and acted, the movie is an unqualified masterpiece — a title I often find myself hesitant to grant to movies. Between the story’s exploration into the nature of revenge and its ability to corrupt a person’s soul to the powerful performances by Lee and Choi, everything about I Saw the Devil sings.

As Soo-hyun begins his quest for vengeance, he works with his father-in-law, a retired police chief, to investigate a number of ex-convicts who could be responsible for the serial murders. As he investigates and interrogates the suspects, Soo-hyun makes Jack Bauer look like a pacifist, terrorizing the men with crushed testicles and broken faces as he looks for answers. As the Korean police’s own investigation closes in on Kyung-chul, Soo-hyun finds himself at odds with the law due to the trail of broken bodies he has left behind in his search for answers. He has become just as hunted as the killer he is tracking.

Min-sik Choi absolutely steals the show as Kyung-chul. Kyung-chul is not a raving sociopath, frothing at the mouth while he chews on the heads of babies; he’s just really, really evil. Even as his pursuer is repeatedly torturing him, he can’t help himself when he discovers easy prey. He’s a victim of his impulses and, with Soo-hyun on his trail, this just means he’s a glutton for punishment.

Unlike when I was a kid and used to roll over and present my richard simmons for kicking when approached by schoolyard bullies, Kyung-chul doesn’t take his punishment lying down. Soo-hyun’s tactics are nothing but an invitation for Kyung-chul to up his ante and increase his evilness. Soon, the two men are on a collision course, the results of which will leave both men with shattered lives and a trail of bodies behind them.

I Saw the Devil is a must watch. Too violent for its own country, the movie is brutal and oftentimes hard to watch. Ji-woon Kim does not shy away from the violence inflicted by his characters. In bloody detail, he shows the carnage they wrought and the lives they snuff.

Yet, despite the violence, something remains undeniably classy about I Saw the Devil. Maybe it’s the film’s powerful score, the well-composed shots or just the timeless nature of the story but I Saw the Devil is a movie that could have been made by Alfred Hitchcock in his prime — if he decided to dip his toe into the torture-porn genre.

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September 29, 2010

Seven Freakiest Fantastic Fest Films and Whether You Should See Them

By Peter Hall moviefone.com

'I Saw The Devil'

Directed by the great Jee-woon Kim ('A Tale of Two Sisters,' 'The Good, The Bad, The Weird'), 'I Saw The Devil' was actually the first secret screening of the festival. And while no one knew it was actually going to play, in the days after its surprise appearance, people were still talking about how blown away they were by it. And there's a very simple reason for that: it's a damn good revenge thriller.

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Starring Byung-hun Lee ('A Bittersweet Life') and Min-Sik Choi ('Oldboy'), 'I Saw The Devil' is about a secret agent (Lee) who seeks revenge against the serial killer (Choi) who raped and butchered his fiancee. Unlike the garrison of films that boast a similar revenge foundation, Kim's film cranks the heat to face-blasting temperatures by removing the procedural, try-to-find-the-killer element entirely. Lee's character is a secret agent, after all, so tracking the psycho is no big deal; what he does when he finds him, however, is.

Should You See It? Absolutely. Its a taught thriller (despite a somewhat distended run time) and there's little doubt that it'll soon gain a reputation as being one of, if not the best serial killer movies since 'Se7en.' That said, if you don't handle bodily harm all that well, then 'I Saw The Devil' is not in any way, shape or form for you. The line between hero and villain isn't just blurred, it's obliterated here, and the brutal things these two do to one another will make even the most seasoned of horror veterans cringe.

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October 2, 2010

Fantastic Fest 2010: I SAW THE DEVIL Review

by Bill Graham collider.com

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If you knew how to track down a sadistic serial killer who had offed your fiancé, would you take your time to enact revenge or would you simply murder that person? Would you even bother to turn him in? That’s the basic premise of director Ji-woon Kim’s excellent and disturbing I Saw The Devil, which takes revenge to a sadistic new level and shows the sad results of such actions. Acted with little to no remorse, this gut-wrenching and violent thriller will have you on the edge of your seat for most of the second and third act, with a flourish of an ending that shows some true heart and why the battle between good and evil isn’t always black and white.

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We start with a sadistic murderer Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi) who offs the young fiancé of special agent Soo-hyun (Byung-hun Lee) in brutal fashion, chopping her to bits and floating her down the river. When her body is found, Soo-hyun starts to crack inside and decides to hunt down the four suspects to find his beloved’s killer. However, once he finds Hyung-chul, he goes a step beyond and implants a GPS and microphone so he can truly doll out revenge that equals his own sorrow. Soo-hyun soon finds he is falling down a familiar hole of becoming a monster in time, but will he stop in time to realize the error of his ways or will he unleash a monster that will tear apart what little he has left?

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We have all seen cat-and-mouse games, but never have the two sides been this equally matched. Additionally, it’s not often that one has rigged the game with a GPS device so he can track down the murderer at will. However, he doesn’t murder Kyung-chul; instead, he plays with his prey, much like the killer, and then sets him free again. There is a cruel experiment of one-upmanship that seems to be testing if the killer will reform or not. Predictably, he never does, and Soo-hyun intervenes in the nick of time to save the killer’s potential victims, though it isn’t a perfect system. The other wrinkle is the severe violence that is dished out by killer and hero alike, always getting the right reaction out of the audience (shock) while never going completely overboard; the violence has a purpose, which stands as a warning of the cruelties man can deliver upon other men (or women). For revenge or otherwise, it’s never something fun to watch, but it is affecting.

The saddest thing about the cut we were treated to at Fantastic Fest is that this film, as is, won’t likely see U.S. theatrical release, in my opinion. However, and you may have heard me tell this story already, Tim League, co-founder of Fantastic Fest, said that Magnet Releasing isn’t afraid to release an unrated version in theaters. I do hope that is the case, because while incredibly dark and violent, this film should be seen for the brilliant piece of cinema it is. Hypnotic is a word that simply isn’t enough here; even if you shy away from violence, you will quickly look back at the screen because the film is so riveting and you care about Soo-hyun. Here is a man that works hard and loves his family, who had everything broken in a single night and snaps in his quest for revenge.

I Saw The Devil is a tale of catch-and-release revenge that has disastrous consequences for everyone involved. “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster,” Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote. “And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Expertly filmed and acted, with a number of wildly entertaining fights and scuffles that leave a bloody mess in their wake, I Saw The Devil is a cautionary tale of revenge that has heart and enough violence to make a bold statement that works. If you can stomach the violence and are looking for something beyond your run-of-the-mill thriller, I cannot recommend this enough. As soon as we know a firm release date for I Saw The Devil, we will let you know.

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PIFF focuses on quality this year, not quantity

Read the full article at joongangdaily.com

15th PIFF Tidbits

*
The uncensored version of “I Saw the Devil” (2010) will be screened as part of Midnight Passion. Directed by Korean director Kim Jee-woon, the slasher film was turned down twice by the Korea Media Rating Board because some of its scenes “undermine human dignity.” The film stars Choi Min-sik from “Oldboy” (2003) and Lee Byung-hun from “G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra” (2009)
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October 7, 2010

Fantastic Fest Review: Kim Ji-Woon's Confident 'I Saw the Devil'

by Jeremy Kirk firstshowing.net

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Those Koreans and their brutal acts of vengeance. Over the course of the past few years, the revenge film has become a staple in the South Korean film market with Park Chan-wook's Vengeance trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) leading the pack in terms of quality and style.

One of the latest films in this subgenre to come out of South Korea (I say "one of the latest" as this notion of Korean revenge was delivered at Fantastic Fest in spades) comes to us from Kim Ji-woon, the exciting and visionary director of A Tale of Two Sisters, Bittersweet Life and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. The film, I Saw the Devil, is nothing short of staggering, dark and confident in the way it portrays its character's motivations and actions. While it might not jump to the top of the list of Korean vengeance films, it certainly proves it has what it takes to rest comfortably next to the best of them.

The film stars Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) and Lee Byung-hun (Bittersweet Life and GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra) as opposing forces on a path to collision. Choi plays Kyung-chul, a serial killer who, in the film's beautifully and unnervingly constructed opening scenes, beats, captures, and kills a young woman whose car is broken down in the woods. What Kyung-chul doesn't know is that the young woman was the wife of Lee's character, So-Hyun, a Korean secret service agent. The young woman's body is found days later, and So-Hyun, devastated by his inability to save his wife, sets out on long course of violence and brutal vengeance.

I Saw the Devil wouldn't work as well if So-Hyun's journey to discovering who and what Kyung-chul is lasted the course of the film. What Kim Ji-woon's story does so brilliantly here is that he allows the film's protagonist to find the villain relatively early on. Once this occurs, and once we witness what transpires, we realize I Saw the Devil is not a film about easy resolution. If it were, the film would be about 60 minutes long. It isn't about one man wanting quick vengeance on the person who wrong him. It's about revenge being a dish best served not only coldly. It's a multi-course meal, one that grows in its intensity with every passing course. So-Hyun is a character who understands pain, and he knows killing Kyung-chul quickly would not provide the satisfactory amount of catharsis. He wants the man to suffer, long and hard, and Kim lets us revel in that suffering, as painful as it may be to watch.

What helps that is in the way Kim structures and shoots each scene. I Saw the Devil is one more shining example of Kim Ji-woon's abilities as a director. Though his films all come presented in varying styles (the darkness of A Tale of Two Sisters to the McTiernan-esque way he shot Bittersweet Life to the elaborately sprawling world of The Good, the Bad, the Weird), they are all offered with absolute confidence.

This is no less on display with I Saw the Devil, a film which at its very essence is about taking its time. The scenes are no less sleek and stylish than anything Hollywood has to offer, and they exude the absolute perfect amount of intensity the narrative requires of them. Sometimes there is so much heat coming off the screen, you aren't sure if it's more in Kim's style or So-Hyun's acts of vengeance, but there is no denying the level of suspense instilled in each and every shot of I Saw the Devil.

The film could very well lose some audiences once it begins its second half. It becomes scene after scene after scene of one man continuously entering another man's world and performing unannounced acts of violence on him. Once additional characters are introduced to this world, including one subplot revolving around cannibalism, the film could easily have fallen off its rails, lost its way, and crumpled into a train wreck pile of senseless action. Kim's direction, the certitude he puts into it, keeps this very thing from happening. Just like with The Good, the Bad, the Weird, it doesn't matter how strange it all gets so long as it is goes there with a confident eye. That is the very thing that happens in I Saw the Devil.

None of this would matter, though, if we weren't fully engrossed in the characters, and that wouldn't happen if the actors filling those roles weren't at their very best. Luckily, Lee and Choi play their respective roles with amazing fervency. Lee in particular must go from cool to searing sometimes in a matter of nanoseconds. He never fails to do just that, and that searing style, whether it is projected through violence or in the emotions he must convey of a man who has lost everything, is some of the best indignation seen in recent memory.

Choi, on the other hand, has less of a range to bounce to and fro on. It's less of a range, but that doesn't mean no spectrum exists for his character. Kyung-chul is the villain of I Saw the Devil, but the acts of violence conducted on him are increasingly brutal. At some point, you might begin to question if he deserves what is happening to him, and Choi helps push this feeling back down with deliveries.

With our trust placed fully in Kim Ji-woon's directing style, I Saw the Devil is a cool, confident, and sometimes stunningly beautiful look at how far one man is willing to go to find that catharsis within himself, the rage that builds within him and the idea that no one ever has "nothing left to lose". That idea comes to the forefront when that rage is acted upon, and I Saw the Devil portrays all of this with conviction and poise. Those dishes that come to us when vengeance is served are heavy, bulked by the solidity they create. At this time, there is no depiction of this more solid than what we are given in I Saw the Devil.

Jeremy's Fantastic Fest Rating: 9 out of 10

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October 11, 2010

I Saw the Devil -- Film Review

By Elizabeth Kerr hollywoodreporter.com

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"I Saw the Devil."

BUSAN, South Korea -- No one on the planet does revenge thrillers quite like the Koreans.

The industry revitalized itself and garnered global attention in the '90s on the strength of Park Chan-Wook's "Vengeance" trilogy, as well as countless lesser-known entries (outside of Korea) in the canon. The director's cut of "I Saw the Devil," with six reinserted scenes of carnage and mayhem, ups the ante to a whole new level of ferocity. Distributors and festivals that have had success with director Kim Jeewoon's past films ("A Bittersweet Life," the kimchi western "The Good, The Bad, The Weird") will want to take a look at this, and a DVD life looks strong due to the controversy the film stirred up.

Secret Service agent Soohyun (Lee Byunghun, Kim favorite leading man) goes on a vengeful rampage after serial murderer Kyung-chul (Choi Minsik, "Old Boy") kills his wife. They proceed to play a vicious game of catch and release, with Soohyun finding Kyung-chul, torturing him, and then letting him go so that he can do it all over again. This entails escalating degrees of violence that Soohyun creepily and mysteriously has no problem allowing.

On any number of levels, "Devil" is troublesome at best, offensive at worst. Yet again women have no role to play other than being brutalized and the film loses sight of its point in order to wallow in its lurid violence. The idea that exacting revenge does nothing to bring closure and only results in more misery falling by the wayside early on. The world as drawn by Kim and co. comprises sociopaths and psychopaths -- including the "hero" and nothing in between.

"Devil" doesn't come close to capturing the moral complexity of "A Bittersweet Life," and perhaps doesn't even want to.

But that's not to say "Devil" doesn't have any redeeming qualities. It's impeccably produced, and Kim has a firm handle on every shot. The torture is creative to say the least (gentlemen should brace themselves for Soohyun's punishment of a perceived internet porn fan), and a fight in a greenhouse stands out among a series of tense, pitch-perfect sequences and set pieces.

We know who the killer is inside of five minutes, but that does nothing to lessen the tension Kim builds throughout. By the time Soohyun collapses at the realization of what he's done and how little he's achieved for his exercise in sadism, Kim has launched himself into the exploitation pantheon. devil69.gif

A Peppermint & Company Co. production

Sales Agent: Finecut

Cast: Lee Byunghun, Choi Minsik.

Director: Kim Jeewoon.

Writer: Park Hoonjung.

Producer: Kim Hyunwoo.

Executive producers: Greg Moon, You Jun Yeong.

Director of photography: Lee Mogae.

Production designer: Cho Hwasung.

Music: Mowg.

Editor: Nan Nayoung.

No MPAA rating, running time 142 minutes

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October 18, 2010

SITGES 2010: I SAW THE DEVIL REVIEW

by Kurt Halfyard twitchfilm.net

[Thanks to Guillem Rosset for the following review.]

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Korean director Kim Jee-woon has build quite an impressive filmography. Films like A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life or The Good, The Bad, And The Weird achieved international success and gathered him a lot of fans and well deserved attention. Kim Jee-woon has also jumped from genre to genre, and so this time he's decided to tackle the thriller with I Saw The Devil, a powerful vengeance story.

Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik) is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. His latest victim is a young beautiful woman who happens to be the daughter of a retired police chief and the fiancé of Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun), a top secret agent. So Soo-hyun, with the help of his fiancé's father, decides to track down the murderer himself and vows to do whatever necessary to take vengeance against Kyung-chul, even if he must become a monster himself to achieve it. The film spends little time in the process of Soo-hyun finding the killer, this is not a movie about the good guy tracking down the bad guy. It's a film about revenge, and so it spends most of its running time in the process of executing it and its consequences.

Let me put this straight: this is one of the best thrillers that I've seen in a long time. Given its premise, some people might despise the film as being too reminiscent of Park Chan-wook's vengeance trilogy. Yes, there are certainly some similarities, but the film does stand on its own by its own merits. And having two of the most talented actors of Korean cinema certainly helps. Choi Min-sik makes his return to the big screen after five years of inactivity creating a very powerful character, an unpredictable serial killer with no motives and that doesn't know the feeling of pain. Lee Byung-hun begins as the calculating agent who keeps everything under control, but as the film progresses we witness his descent into the darkness as he keeps pushing the boundaries of how far he's willing to go for the sake of revenge.

The film is also wonderful from a technical standpoint. Kim Jee-woon creates a dark and gripping world thanks to a great production design, and makes very good of it with superb camera work and some truly astonishing sequences (for instance, there's a fight between three people inside a running car that's brilliant). It's a film that only keeps growing throughout its running time, and this is really something for a 141 minutes long film. It's also a very explicit movie. The violence in it is very painful and realistic (in fact, there are some scenes that had been censored in Korea, though in Sitges we were able to see the uncut version) and there's a couple of scenes that could make you grind your teeth. It's a very powerful movie, with strong visuals and a compelling script capable of raising serious questions about the subject.

It's a shame that the film was screened outside competition in Sitges, because this one was probably one the best movies of this year's festival. It sure is one convincing proof that Korean cinema is still amongst the best cinematographies in the world, and a film that firmly establishes Kim Jee-woon as one of its most interesting and gifted filmmakers.

Review by Guillem Rosset

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October 21, 2010

Fantastic Fest Review: 'I Saw The Devil'

By Shannon frothygirlz.com

I shudder to think that I almost didn’t go see this film. The press screening was early in the morning, it was a purported 2 and 1/2 hours long, it was subtitled, and I just didn’t know if I had the stamina that day, as I had four other films lined up. It ends up that this is my favorite film of the entire festival, and I would go so far as to say it is a masterpiece on its own accord, not just within horror circles.

Director Kim Ji-Woon has quickly differentiated himself from the pack of talented South Korean directors with exceptional genre films like A Tale of Two Sisters and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. Here he ups his game with an epic tale featuring one of the most chilling serial killers I have ever seen in a film.

On a snowy night, beautiful Joo-Yun (Oh San-Ha) gets a flat tire on her way home, and is stranded by the side of the road. A man approaches her vehicle and adamantly insists on helping her. After she declines his offer of help, he savagely attacks her by breaking out the car window. She is dragged from her car, leaving a trail of blood across the top of the crisp white snow.

The film wastes no time bringing on the horrific visuals, as poor Joo-Yun is systematically tortured and brutally killed in a nondescript building lined with plastic tarps. Her tormentor is Kyeong-Cheol (Choi Min-sik), who we come to find out has murdered a lot of people.

The murderer has made the grave error of messing with the wrong woman, though. She was engaged to federal agent Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun), who vows he will hunt down whoever butchered her, and extact a terrible revenge.

Armed with some inside information courtesy of his Police Chief father-in-law, it doesn’t take long for Soo-hyun to track down the killer. Curiously, he doesn’t kill the man, just physically brutalizes him and feeds him a tracking device while he is unconscious so that he may shadow his every move.

For the duration of the movie, the two play a sadistic game of cat and mouse. The film explores the very interesting idea of how far Soo-hyun will go to avenge his fiance’s life. Is it worth his sanity, his family, and his humanity? Is he willing to become a monster in order to hunt the monster?

Certainly, as the movie progresses, Soo-hyun starts losing most of the sympathy of the audience, as his brutality and sadism escalate. Eventually, there is very little separating the killer and the avenger.

He is also quite selfish, actually allowing other potential victims to be offered up to the killer just so he might continue tracking him. Although he intervenes and ultimately saves these victims from the same fate his fiance suffered, why let them go through the trauma and fright that they do in the first place? If he killed the man the first time he caught him then no one would suffer at his hand again. Period. Case closed.

Instead, Soo-hyun has decided that making the killer’s life a literal hell is a far worse punishment than killing him outright. What becomes maddening to Soo-hyun is that the killer seems incapable of feeling pain, hence the increased brutality. It’s a vicious cycle that the two men are caught in.

Choi Min-sik has made a name for himself with American audiences with the South Korean revenge flicks Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. He was outstanding in both movies. Here he is simply horrifying as a textbook sociopath. It would be quite easy for his character to become silly and unbelievable, like Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series.

However, Choi Min-sik convinces us that despite his broken, bruised and bloodied body, his character is so inherently evil that he powers on out of sheer willpower. It is an astounding and chilling performance. This killer will make you run to the relative comfort of Hannibal Lector’s arms for relief.

Lee Byung-hun does a nice job of going from dignified to depraved throughout the movie. He’s a good contrast to Choi Min-sik in stature, looks, and brawn.

Despite being one of the more horrific movies that I’ve ever seen, I Saw The Devil is quite beautiful. It reminded me a lot of Let the Right One In because the movie draws a lot on grays and blues to set the tone. The opening scene when the killer is dragging Joo-yun from the car is gorgeous, and immediately demonstrates that this movie is going to be top caliber quality. The pacing is impeccable. The two and a half hour running time flies by.

I Saw the Devil is one of the most unforgettable movies I have ever seen. I can’t wait to see it again. Fortunately, Magnet releasing has acquired the US rights to distribute the film, and it is expected to grace our screens in 2011. If you have the stomach, I cannot recommend this movie enough.

I Saw The Devil is directed by Ji Woon-Kim. Starring Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik.

Rating 5/5

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October 22, 2010

[PIFF] Interview - Director Kim Jee-woon (Part 1-2)

Reporter: Lee Ji-Hye seven@ Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@ Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@ <ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved> 10Asia 1 l 2

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Director Kim Jee-woon [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

How will the year 2010 be remembered for director Kim Jee-woon? "I Saw the Devil," which went into shoot after "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," was the first film Kim did not write himself and was so tough on him psychologically that he said he drove himself to the extreme. Then the film he had completed said made him "jump around in craziness" by receiving restricted screening rating twice. And the movie which was finally released after going through so much ups and downs, received drastically split response. "I Saw the Devil," which had been cut here and there, met with the audience in its whole form at the 15th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF). 10Asia met with Kim Jee-woon who visited Busan with his proper devil.

* This article contains spoilers.

10: The response to the director's cut of "I Saw the Devil" was so great that it sold out in nine seconds of tickets going on sale. You probably had a hard time psychologically though when the film was first released in theaters so I'm sure you feel something more in particular.

Kim Jee-woon: The "I Saw the Devil" which was originally released may not be that different in fundamental but I ended up showing something that had been damaged to, to something I had originally thought, 'Ah, it's finally done.' This is what someone said. That if you compare this to artwork, it's the same as someone having vandalized your painting. And isn't vandalizing a completed picture sort of a crime? I felt that a person's individual work and a product of the industry had been damaged under the name of a national organization. Being able to show the audience my movie in its entirety felt good but also bittersweet because it had gotten censored which is something I had only read about in books. I ended up experiencing something from the past, stuff that happens in legends. I also thought 'Am I going through all sorts of things for a single movie.' (laugh) I used to think history develops and evolves but I now think there are times when it goes backwards.

10: Well, unlike the mixed reaction you got from local fans, the response from overseas is great, North America in particular. I heard the movie received great response at the Toronto International Film Festival as well. What was the atmosphere like there that you experienced firsthand?

Kim: There was this feeling I felt when I entered the theater after the movie finished. Should I say it was sort of a filling feeling? It was the most heated reaction I had received during the past few years at a film festival. Standing ovation isn't a formality that has set in at Toronto like it has at Cannes but everyone was giving me a standing ovation. (laugh) It was the first time I had felt such a feeling. The response to "I Saw the Devil" in Korea was split to completely different extremes but of the people who gave me good reviews overseas, a lot of them said it was my best work to date.

10: But other than the dialogue regarding human flesh, the director's cut seems to be barely different from the version released in theaters, to the extent that it seems odd that it got a restricted screening rating.

Kim: In physical terms, the biggest difference was that Gyeong-cheol and Tae-joo's conversation has been added. And people around me have said this version is much better. Some even said it felt like they saw a completely different movie. I think movies are fascinating. They'll give off different vibes even with a few minor tweaks to its pace. You could compare it to cooking in how the taste of food changes depending on the ingredients you use and the temperature you cook it. It made me think once again of how delicate a job it is to make movies. It just seemed that many people were disappointed that the sex scene between Gyeong-cheol and Se-jung had been omitted. (laugh)

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Scenes from film "I Saw the Devil"

10: I had been wondering about that as well. A description on their past had been omitted in the version released in theaters but their sex scene was taken out completely as well in the director's cut.

Kim: It had to do with the running time of the movie as well as it not quite fitting in terms of timing. Soo-hyun coming out of the car after eavesdropping on their conversation is around when dinner is over but there seemed to be a problem with the timing in trying to put the sex scene in between that. And what I wanted to show through that scene was Gyeong-cheol's ruthlessness through sadistic sex but Se-jung came off as being more aggressive. (laugh) So in a way, it seemed that Se-jung stood out more than Gyeong-cheol at that moment. And this wasn't big but to add on another reason, the explanation on the two's relationship was left out when I was editing the movie so I heard it seemed closer to adultery with consent rather than rape. So some were saying it doesn't make sense that a woman being raped could be enjoying herself like that. But I couldn't go back to adding the explanation so I wanted to rid the movie of unnecessary misunderstanding. So after omitting that, I saw that the movie was more tidy but there was less of a gooey carnivorous feeling to it. And moviegoers who had gotten a strong impression from that scene were disappointed so I'm thinking of putting it back in for the DVD. (laugh) In a way, the DVD may be the complete director's cut.

10: The director's cut of "I Saw the Devil" was better because I could concentrate on it more than the one that was first released in theaters.

Kim: My movies are meant to be seen more than once. You'll like them more over time. (laugh)

10: I thought about why that was the case and I think I hadn't been able to enjoy the film in its entirety the first time because I was having such a hard time mentally. The gore wasn't as thick as I had expected it to be but the dark and damp atmosphere you had emphasized by dropping the saturation and contrast of the colors which was maintained throughout the film seemed to press down on me. I was actually rather relieved in the part where there was bloodshed from slashing.

Kim: I think it's probably because when the movie first came out, everybody was focused on how cruel and horrible it is which made people feel nervous but people have come to look at it from a distance with all the discussions and responses ongoing regarding the film. People became more free in that aspect which created the atmosphere allowing them to enjoy the film itself and the elements within it.

10: But that raised more questions. In the end, you could say that the way in which Soo-hyun executed Gyeong-cheol was extremely creative but I wondered whether Gyeong-cheol dying in the hands of his family could really be considered taking revenge on him.

Kim: In a way, Soo-hyun himself may have not known whether he would be taking revenge on him through that method. That's the thing about revenge -- even if you succeed at it you can't help feeling an emptiness in the end because you're trying to get compensation for what you have lost. That's why I tried to emphasize more of the sadness Soo-hyun would have felt as the one who is still alive. Because really, the ones who are torned are the ones who are alive, the families. Soo-hyun tried to make Gyeong-cheol experience the emotional pain he felt by inflicting physical pain on him but in the end, he thinks he had made the wrong judgement and even if it may be brief, wanted to inflict emotional pain which would be delivered to the family. But I think you would have to call that a curse rather than revenge. Soo-hyun saying to Gyeon-cheol, "I hope you are in pain even after you die" in the end is a curse. I wanted to express the dilemma the revenge-seeker faces in the end and is left with nothing else but to curse the other person. On the other hand, I think Soo-hyun himself must have thought he too shouldn't go as far as to have him be killed by someone who is family. He is giving back exactly what he suffered but what happens to the family? Despite that, Soo-hyun choosing to take such revenge was the moment he colludes with the devil so you could say that he was standing on the edge of a cliff because he himself had to become the devil to punish the devil.

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10: Then what were Soo-hyun's tears in the end about? Pity for himself for having become the devil?

Kim Jee-woon: Probably several things. The pleasure over having completed his revenge as well as a sense of shame and self-destructedness from thoughts like 'Why did I become this? Why did such a life have to come upon me?' The tears could have come from pity or the emptiness that comes from the end of a tough revenge.

10: Opposite from the dejected feeling that such revenge gave, your unique sense of humor in particular stood out in “I Saw the Devil.” To the extent that it seems foreign. For example, when Gyeong-cheol runs into soldiers or only the handle of the door gets pulled out when Tae-joo tries to pull out the awl that’s stuck in his hand. Your sense of humor is displayed in the movie to the extent that one could call you stubborn. (laugh)

Kim: Those are things that came to me like sparks, at the spur of the moment, so even I myself don't know if they go with the movie or not. (laugh) I just included them because I felt very strong shooting sensations about them. But isn't that sort of what our own lives are like? Because even at the most serious moments, there are bound to be times which seem odd and funny. And life may seem like a tragedy if you look at it up close but doesn’t it turn out to be a comedy when you take a step back and look at it?

10: And along with that humor, a sense of loneliness, a vibe that is unique of your films, was still felt in this movie as well. The movie could have been bloody if it was rampant with flesh and blood but there was a strangely forlorn vibe about the movie from the very beginning.

Kim: Don’t all my movies seem forlorn? It was like that with comedy “The Foul King” while “A Tale of Two Sisters” and “A Bittersweet Life” were all just plain forlorn. Even “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” ended in a forlorn way. (laugh) I feel that the forlorn vibe may sort of be my seal. I live life in a very forlorn way. (laugh) I think of life as a forlorn thing so I don’t try to avoid it on purpose. I think we’re all forlorn anyway.

10: You said early this year, while filming “I Saw the Devil,” that “No matter what, I felt invigorated when I’m making movies but it’s not fun these days.” Did you feel that way the whole way?

Kim: It was like that with “I Saw the Devil.” And there were several reasons for it but a lot of it had to do with what the movie is about or its vibe. I pushed myself to the extreme because it’s about a man who is becoming crazy over revenge, a man who is already crazy and about people who are endlessly victimized. And it was even more difficult because revenges have to be told in a very dynamic way. It was also a genre that I had least desired to make and I was tired from having worked without any breaks. We were working on a tight schedule and I was tired so I felt a lot of pressure psychologically. And then it got restricted screening rating twice even after we were done making the film. I also felt pressure to make something that is exactly what I was asked to make, as if I was a tailor handed measurements, because I hadn’t written the movie. I was under the thought of having to produce something that is precise rather than focus on cinematic play. I think it was a movie that I wasn’t able to have fun with.

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Director Kim Jee-woon [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

10: Then how do you feel at this point where such issues have been resolved?

Kim: I now want to make a movie quickly. I’ve come to want to make a martial arts film after watching “Reign of Assassins” recently. Should I really make one? (laugh) I think it would be fun making “The Good, The Bad, The Weird 2” as a martial arts pic. “”Reign of Assassins” gave off the vibe of the story of villains from Western films or wicked men from old Kungfu films which I think would be fun making. So I’ve come to have a desire to make such films.

10: I don’t think there would have been frequent but have there been moments in your life when you wanted to take revenge?

Kim: When I got that rating this time? (laugh) But not once did I strongly appeal or resist in any way regarding that issue. The film’s premiere date was just moments away so I was going crazy and seconds from bursting but I contained myself. It was tough having to delete things while taking both the producer and investors’ position into account. Having to censor my own movie was definitely a hard thing to do. While I’m thinking ‘Is this okay? Should I cut out more of this?’ I could feel that some people around me wanted more to be cut. So such things were very hard to bear. My face flushed and I raised my voice for the first time while making a movie. But it’s all in the past now. Like I said earlier, it may seem like a tragedy up close but is probably a comedy from far away. (laugh)

10: You said you want to make a cheerful movie next, to refresh yourself as well. Is there anything that has popped into your mind or something that you’ve become drawn to? I heard you’ve sent your scenario for “Max and the Junkmen” to the United States.

Kim: “Max and the Junkmen” has almost been given a green light but filming is being delayed over issues of casting so another film will go into shoot first. It hasn’t been completely set as of yet but for now, “Last Stand” is set to go into shoot starting April next year. It’s an action film which is quite cheerful and is not dark in terms of its concept. Hmm.. I think you could think of it as a “Die Hard” sort of film. (laugh)

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47thDaejong2010a.jpg

October 29, 2010

“Poetry” wins Best Film award

By Park Min-young (claire@heraldm.com) koreaherald.com

The film “Poetry” won Best Film at the Daejong Film Awards which took place at Kyung Hee University on Friday.

The swept four awards -- Best Film, the Best Actress, the Best Scenario and Best Supporting Actress.

Known as South Korea’s Oscars, the awards are the nation’s oldest film awards and mark their 47th edition this year.

“I am grateful that I am standing here once again in my 45 years of film life so far, with such a beautiful movie, ‘Poetry.’ I would like to share this honor with the internationally respected director Lee Chang-dong and all our staff who happily worked together for four months,” said Yun Jung-hee, who won the Best Actress for her distinctive performance in “Poetry.” “I would also like to add one more thing to all movie fans: Please give me the strength and courage to stand here again after a few years.”

Other nominees for the Best Actress award included Seo Young-hee for “Bedevilled,” Jeon Do-yeon for “The Housemaid” Kim Yun-jin for “Harmony,” Jo Yeo-jeong for “The Servant.”

Won Bin took home the Best Actor award for his impressive role in “Ajussi.” Other nominees for the award included Jeong Jae-young for “Moss,” Park Hee-soon for “A Barefoot Dream,” Choi Min-sik and Lee Byung-hun of “I Saw the Devil” and Song Gang-ho and Kang Dong-won of “Brother.”

The Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards were given to Kim Hee-ra for “Poetry,” Song Sae-byeok for “The Servant” and Yun Yeo-jeong for “The Housemaid.”

The Most Popular Actor and Actress awards were presented to Won Bin and Lee Min-jeong. Lee also shared the Rookie Award with Jeong Woo for “Wish.” Choi Seung-hyun, also known as boy K-pop group Big Bang member T.O.P., won the Most Popular Hallyu Actor award.

Director Kang Woo-seok won the Best Director award for “Moss,” director Jang Cheol-soo won the Rookie Director award for “Bedevilled” and director Lee Chang-dong was awarded the Best Scenario gong for “Poetry.”

WINNERS LIST

Source: dramabeans.com

Best Picture: Poetry

Director Award: Kang Woo-seok (Moss)

Actor Award: Won Bin (Ajusshi, aka The Man From Nowhere)

Actress Award: Yoon Jung-hee (Poetry)

Supporting Actor: Kim Hee-ra (Poetry), Song Sae-byuk (The Fixer)

Supporting Actress: Yoon Yeo-jung (Housemaid)

New Director: Jang Chul-soo (Bedevilled)

New Actor: Jung Woo (Wish)

New Actress: Lee Min-jung (Cyrano Dating Agency)

Planning: Kim Joon-jong (Barefoot Dreams)

Costuming: Jung Kyung-hee (Bang Ja Chronicles)

Art Direction: Jo Sung-won (Moss)

Visual Effects: Jung Do-ahn (Ajusshi)

Music: Kim Joon-seok (Barefoot Dreams)

Sound Effects: Oh Se-jin, Kim Seok-won (Moss)

Lighting: Oh Seung-chul (I Saw the Devil)

Hallyu Popularity Award: Choi Sung-hyun aka TOP (Into the Fire)

Popularity Award, Actor: Won Bin (Ajusshi)

Popularity Award, Actress: Lee Min-jung (Cyrano Dating Agency)

Film Advancement Lifetime Achievement Award: Choi Eun-hee

Special Foreign Film Award: Abdulhamid Juma

Special Award: Shin Young-kyun

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