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  • Writer's pictureriawoodburn


Updated: May 20, 2020

Tragic and classical, The Tale of Two Sisters (2003), has stood the test of time. Steeped in mystery with few certainties; teenage Su-mi (Soo-Jung) is incredibly protective of her younger more vulnerable sister Su-Yeon (Moon Geun- Young), her father Moo- Hyeon (Kim Jee-Woon) is desperate to connect with his daughter. Whilst a not so pleased to be a parent, stepmother Eun-joo (Yum Jung-ah) keeps a menacing watch. Throw in a deceased Mother, a persistent haunting, mental health, and a skewed time frame and the family begins to rapidly deteriorate. The explosive dynamic between Su-mi and her stepmother is fully charged, while her father’s detachment and their failure to be able to communicate, intensify the hurt.

When the pieces of the puzzle delicately come together at the end of the film, it is then when you realise how much visual detail has gone into this masterpiece. A Tale of Two Sisters’, obsessive detail surpasses that of many horrors, which can be overlooked. The film could be watched without the subtitles and the audience could still get an understanding of the content. Scenes that at the time where unconnected, come together seamlessly in the finale, a carefully kept secret. With comparisons to work of Del Torro and M. Night Shyamalan, but far more abstract, A Tale of Two Sisters shows how sometimes words can bog us down, and there can be no substitute for visually experiencing a storyline.

(Photography: B.O.M Film Productions Co./ Masulpiri Films/ iPictures)

A Tale of Two Sisters, 2003 (film), directed by Jee-woo KIM. South Korea: B.O.M Film Productions


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