Park Chan-Wook became well-known around the world for his masterpiece: Oldboy, a 2003 movie, echoed at Asian festivals, such as the Hong Kong International Film Festival and that caused a lot of stir in the west, at Cannes, Stockholm, UK and wherever else it was able to. On the whole, it garned 8 nominations and 17 awards (some say Quentin Tarantine became hysterical upon seeing it... but it might not be true...).
The South-Korean director is once again in the news here for the arrival of Lady Vengeance in Brazilian movie theatres - in few of them and at very innappropriate schedules (usually at about 10 pm), let it be said.
The movie is the last one from Park Chan-wook's "The Vengeance Trilogy" - the first movie in the series was Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, in 2002, which if I remember correctly, was only shown once, in Brazil at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival. Actually, this movie wasn't, at all well, recieved and is generally considered a "flop", even by its creator, who, when talking about it, remarked: "that's why it's my favourite...".
The heavy dose of violence that we've grown accustomed to in the last couple of movies is back in "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance". Only now it's perpetrated by, and has, as a target, a female character: Lee Yeong-ae the beautiful Lee Geum-ja, a young woman that has been locked-up for 13 years, accused of killing a 6-year-old boy. The case, because of the commotion it stirs, turns her into a sort of celebrity and, later - because of her peculiar sweetness and rare generosity - a martyr (hence, the saint pictured in the poster). Once she is freed, she immediately seeks revenge: destroy the person who is really responsible for the boy's death and for all her suffering: her ex-teacher, Sr. Baek (Choi Min-Sik). And she'll do it through a brilliantly crafted, not to mention surprising, plan.
The themes of sequestration - in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance - and of imprisonment - explored in Oldboy - are mixed to tell a story of search for revenge and redemption; a story framed by a profuse catharsis, a Chan-wook trademark, who uses a few gallons of blood and tragedy to paint his beautiful, yet sadistic, paintings. The director also consolidates certain icons used in the other two movies with several close-ups, colour filters (in this case, red), the revenge weapon (a gun built especially for the crime), the psychological violence, twists and turns and a moving soundtrack (composed by Choi Seung-hyeon, Na Seok-joo and Jo Yeong-wook – from Oldboy)
It's well-worth a run for the nearest movie theatre, as soon as possible, before it's too late. If it's no longer in cinemas, Amazon.UK already has the The Vengeance Trilogy box-set, but subtitles are only available in English-