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South Korea, 2005 (MIFF 2006, Regional Focus)

Director: Kim Jee-woon

“Even by Korean standards of movie brutality, A Bittersweet Life raises the bar to a new level… will have genre fans nailed to their seats” - Variety

A tour de force of noir-ish style, A Bittersweet Life sees MIFF stalwart Kim Jee-woon hitting the screen with guns blazing. Essentially a story of revenge, this film shines through its spectacular action sequences and pushes into the nether regions of reality. Comparisons have been drawn to Park Chan-wook's Old Boy (MIFF 2004) and Lee Myung-se's Nowhere to Hide (MIFF 2000).

Seon-woo is a hotel manager. Or so he seems. In actual fact, he's a cold-blooded enforcer whose undying commitment is to his boss, Kang. Relying on his personal judgement and contradicting Kang, Seon-woo makes an error that leads to his downfall. With this latest offering dominated by chiaroscuro lighting and a Lynchian palette of gangreney greens and stygian blacks, Kim has certainly cemented his reputation as one of South Korea's least predictable filmmakers.

Kim Jee-woon is a guest of the festival and will introduce the screening on Wednesday 2 August, 9.10pm at Forum Theatre and on Friday 4 August, 9pm at RMIT Capitol Theatre.

Contains scenes that may offend.

D/S Kim Jee-woon P Oh Jeong-wan, Eugene Lee Dist Madman L Korean w/English subtitles TD 35mm/2005/120mins

Kim Jee-woon was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1964. His films include The Quiet Family (1998), The Foul King (MIFF 2001) and A Tale of Two Sisters (MIFF 2004).

See also...


South Korea, 2004
A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongryon) South KoreaBased on a Korean folk tale about an evil stepmother and her two daughters, this South Korean box-office smash is from acclaimed director Kim Jee-… More »


France/Korea, 2005
MIFF has enthusiastically flown the flag for South Korean cinema, championing such diverse and mind-altering work as MIFF guests Kim Ki-duk (retrospective in 2002), Park Chan-wook (Old Boy 2004), Im … More »


South Korea, 2000
Dae-Ho, a timid bank clerk, is hopeless at his job. Mind you, it doesn't help that his boss is a ferocious disciplinarian who punishes staff with brutal headlocks Dae-Ho's escape comes with a decisio… More »


South Korea, 2012
A who's who of Korea's film scene come together in the scathingly self-aware new mockumentary from rising star E J-yong (The Actresses, MIFF 2009). ... As the cast and crew of an unnamed new film arr… More »

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