Thursday, February 05, 2009

2/2/09: A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

So taken was I by yesterday's viewing of The Uninvited that I had to check out the original Korean film it's based on: Janghwa, Hongryeon (literally Rose Flower, Red Lotus), or A Tale of Two Sisters, as it is known in the U.S. I was surprised to find that it's appreciably different from the remake; I had expected the American version to be a carbon copy of the original. They do share a number of common elements: there's a dad, a stepmother and two troubled sisters, and there are some ghostly apparitions and a surprise ending. Other than the basic setup, though, the differences seemed to outweigh the commonalities—not only in the plotting, but also the pacing. Two Sisters moves much more slowly; it's far more cerebral and embraces its numerous ambiguities (even by the end, it's not exactly clear what has transpired), whereas the no-nonsense American version never dawdles and is totally unambiguous. Still, both tellings of the tale could only benefit from a repeat viewing. Su-jeong Lim (as sister Soo-mi) and Jung-ah Yum (as stepmother Eun-joo) give excellent performances, and both are very, ahem, easy on the eyes. Rating: 3/5.

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