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  1.  (938.1)

    I had to watch this movie twice, with a four month interval, to stomach it. The first time, I was left dazzled. I was completely unprepared. This second time, I watched it knowing what to expect... and I have just seen another masterpiece from the same director of the magnificent "Oldboy", Chan-Wook Park.

    Geum-ja Lee was forced to stay in prison for thirteen years after confessing to a murder she didn't commit (for reasons I can't say in a spoiler-free review). Now, she's looking for a revenge. Against who and why is slowly revealed by the movie, and it requires attention. Park has a surreal, almost bizarre way to tell a story: he manages to show every scene decorated with some kind of emotion. They're evocative. Which is why Park's movies are always an emotional blow to your stomach. "Oldboy" might be my favorite movie ever (except for "Carlito's Way"), but I have a hard time watching it again. It breaks me.

    Geum-ja is played by Yeong-ae Lee... probably the most beautiful asian actress I've ever seen. Her beauty left me stunned. She's also a fantastic actress. In the fabulous scene where she talks to her daughter via an interpreter, the camera focuses all the time in her face... and what she says and how she says it is absolutely perfect. There's also an incredible moment near the ending where the camera focuses on her, and she grins trying to hold back laughter for a reason I can't reveal. The rest of the cast is also amazing, with a special mention to the brilliant Min-sik Choi, the protagonist of "Oldboy", as Mr. Baek.

    And how Park extracts humor from this story is a mystery, and proof of what a gifted director he is. You laugh and you cry when he wants you to. He can film a sequence with hilarious potential and make you cry instead, and vice-versa. And the humor somehow never breaks the drama. Park also poses a very important question in the movie: in which case is violence acceptable? And he answers this question with a violently depressing third act. And in Geum-ja's case specifically, he answers it when she meets a little boy in the end of the movie. I can't reveal more.

    Filled with beautiful, unforgettable moments and perfect music by Seung-hyeon Choi, Yeong-wook Jo (who brilliantly composed "Oldboy") and Seok-joo Na, "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is another movie by Chan-Wook Park that left me emotionally broken in a corner. And that's my favorite kind of movie. When it tells the story without holding back, when the story's fully told, no matter how much it hurts. It's the third installment of the "Vengeance" trilogy. The first is "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and the second is "Oldboy". All these movies have in common is the vengeance, not their characters, so you can watch them in whatever order you like. For me, there's only "Mr. Vengeance" left. And I'm looking forward to it.

    UPDATE: To listen to part of this movie's beautiful soundtrack, here's the official site.
  2.  (938.2)
    Andre, did I mention to you about Park's corrected version with the colors fading out of the movie over the entire run time?
  3.  (938.3)
    No, but I heard about that. I watched the one in full color. I like the color fading idea, though.