Archive for Western

Jagnhwa Hongreyeon Jeon and A Tale of Two Sisters – Cinderella by another name.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2012 by urbannight

A Tale of Two Sisters

A Tale of Two Sisters may be a Korean Horror at it’s finest.  Not as gory as some of it, but very psychological with an interesting twist.  Apparently, The Uninvited was an American remake of this film.   I never saw The Uninvited. 

It is based on a story called Jagnhwa Hongreyeon Jeon.  The Story of Rose Flower and Red Lotus.  A Tale of Two Sisters is similar and yet very different form this story.  But what is really interesting are the parallels with Western Fairy Tales, such as the evil nature of Stepmothers, only, as in many Eastern Folk Tales, the main female characters die and are only able to find justice after haunting and tormenting those who were responsible. 

It starts out much like Cinderella, where a man and woman have two daughters who are loved.  Prior to the birth of each girl, the mother had a dream about each one.  The mother dies when they are young.  The father remarries and the stepmother provides him with more children.  In this case she has three sons who will inherit.  The stepmother is cruel to the children from the first marriage and begrudges them anything spent on their upkeep. 

When the father arranges for his oldest daughter’s (Rose Flower’s) marriage, he orders the stepmother to plan the wedding.  (parallel to Cinderella going to the ball) Not wanting to spend any money on the daughter, the stepmother tricks everyone into thinking Rose Flower had a miscarriage, accusing her of unchaste behavior.   Rose Flower flees the house and Stepmother sends First Son to push Rose Flower into the pond where she drowns.

Karma, to steal a point from another culture, is fast.   A tiger comes out of the nearby forest and attacks First Son, taking one leg and one arm.  (sounds a bit like the part where Cinderella’s Stepmother cuts off the toes and heals of her own daughters to make the glass slipper fit)

Now, the Stepmother is even more hateful towards the younger sister, Red Lotus, who follows Rose Flower by dying in the pond in order to escape the unbearable treatment.

After this, Rose Flower and Red Lotus haunt and kill the mayor and anyone who becomes the mayor.  I’m going to make a guess here because it makes no sense that they would be killing the mayor.  Not knowing the civic structure of Korea during the Joseon period, and since it goes from 1392 to 1897, that structure probably changed several times.  I would make an educated guess that the Mayor was responsible for investigating and punishing crimes.   Since Rose Flower’s murder was thought to be a suicide, it was never investigated and this could by why their ghosts fixated on the Mayor rather than the family.

A young man comes to the village to be the new mayor.  He is aware of the deaths but refuses to be intimidated.  So when the ghosts come to him, he asks them who they are, why they are doing these things, and what do they want.  They tell him the story of what happened to them.  And ask him to examine the ‘miscarried fetus’ that the Stepmother used to condemn Rose Flower.

The young mayor summons the Father, Stepmother, and First Son and exhumes the ‘fetus’.  Examining it, he proves it to be a skinned rat.  The Stepmother and First Son are sentenced to death and the Father allowed to go free.  The abuse the Stepmother inflicted had always been hidden from Father so it was believed he knew nothing of this plot against his daughter.

Father marries a third time.  And this time the father dreams about his first children, who want to come back to him, and his new wife becomes pregnant and delivers twin daughters who he names after the first two daughters.  The new family lives happily ever after. 

I have no idea what happened to Stepmother’s second and third sons.  The only English version I can find of this story is on Wikipedia.  Everything else leads to the movies based on this story.  I cannot find a good date for when the folk tale first turns up and I can’t find out what happened to the other sons.


Of course, this leads me back to the movie, A Tale of Two Sister.  Like a lot of Korean Horror movies, it is told partly in this time and partly in flash backs.  Near the end, it becomes more difficult to tell what is what and sometimes the Western viewer is lost and confused by the ending. 

In a Tale of Two Sisters, the girl’s names mean Flower and Lotus but the language itself seems to have changed a lot.  The movie starts near the end of the tale; the girls come back from a psych ward after their mother’s death.  Their mother had been ill for a long time.  So the father hired a nurse to help tend to her.  The nurse wasn’t very nice to the girls.  Father became attracted to the nurse and one of the daughters sees them.  She runs to her mother who comforts her.  Not long after, the same daughter goes to see her mother again and finds that the mother has killed herself by tying a noose to the wardrobe and letting her weight bear down and asphyxiate herself. 

The daughters, once they come home again, keep trying to convince the father of what a bad woman the nurse was.  As the flashbacks get more frequent, the rest of the back story is revealed and to discuss anymore of it is to reveal the twist.

Thoughts on Random Movies Randomly Selected by a Movie Poster Randomizer. Randomly.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by urbannight

I have a couple of movie reviewers I follow. I like reviewers that, for the most part, like the same types of movies I like and yet have some differences of opinion or tend to focus on different aspects of those movies.  Not a perfect match, but maybe a 85% match in tastes.  Because that leaves room to be challenged with different ideas and opinions and to rethink where I stand on a movie.

Today I want to mention Fog because his review has a string of movie posters at the top of the page. I really want to mention those movies. By the way, the movie’s at the top change out every time you go to the page so if you go look you will see different posters. I have no idea how this randomized selection of images is generated, but I like it.  I saw this selection all at one time one day and had a visceral reaction to it.  So I figured I would share this list of films and a few thoughts on them.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidd w/ Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I haven’t seen it in ages. It has been over a decade for sure and possibly two. I remember watching it a lot whenever it was on T.V. For something I watched a number of times, I barely remember it. I remember that I really liked it a lot. This probably means it is more than time to re-watch it. I remember it as a comedy. It sort of bridged both comedy and western action genres.

Walt Disney’s the Jungle Book. I never could get into this movie. Everything about it seems ‘off’ to me. It seems like they didn’t have a good idea of what India was like so substituted it with the ‘deep south’. It never clicked for me. Although I remember reading the non-Disney version of the story and liking that. This was always a Disney ‘Fail’ in my book.

Animal House. This is one of those dim memory movies. Despite the fact I think I watched it not so very long ago. But then, the more I think about it, it could have been about 2 years ago. I always liked Peter Riegert. I think it was his thick, wavy hair and piercing expression. It always amused me that Donald Sutherland thought the movie was so bad and was certain that it would fail that, when offered a pay deal with 15% of the gross, he opted out and said he wanted a flat, one time payment. He was wrong. Despite being the highest paid cast member with little screen time, he lost out on millions. Not a great movie. Good concept. I liked the plot. And some really good acting here and there. It launched a few careers. But it decided that ‘gross’ was in and I hate that. Gross is what ruined it for me. I only re-watched it to refresh my memory after watching a documentary on the movie. As a big part of American pop culture, I figured I needed a refresher on it.

Airplane. A fun and funny movie totally making fun of comedies and disaster films all in one go. It is actually a remake of a 1950’s movie. The flight crew gets sick, with food poisoning. A former pilot who, is afraid to fly after the war, is on the plane chasing after an ex-girlfriend who wants to move on. His former military commander has to talk him down as he tries to land the unfamiliar plan. It was an all-star cast for the day. It was a huge success. If you haven’t seen it, why not and how old are you?

Pan’s Labyrinth. I love Guillermo del Toro’s films. This is one of the most haunting and beautiful and tragic (maybe) movies I have ever seen. This is the type of movie one never forgets, can list as a favorite, but may never watch again. The question always remains, was it a fantasy and she was really experiencing these things and did go to live in this magical world forever or was it just her very rich fantasy life making an unbearable situation tolerable and it ended with a horrible tragedy? That is what makes it so hard to watch more than once.

Goldfinger. This is the movie that makes the name Pussy Galore a pop-culture, iconical reference. If I can make up a word? Can I do that? (Can May, May Can, May can do the can can. 3 hrs of sleep, an exhausted mind, and I’m a little silly now.) I think I will. I think it is a word and this system just doesn’t recognize it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. This movie introduces us to Oddjob, who may have shown up in another movie or is just so famous that we keep thinking he had a repeat performance. Of course, if it wasn’t for his hat that can cut through stonework, we might not have remembered him. This movie taught us all that if you cover yourself in gold paint, you have to leave a patch open so your skin can breathe or you suffered epidermal suffocation. I’m not even sure if this is true or not be we all believed it back then.

Going back to the name Pussy Galore and the use of double entendres for bond girls, I noticed an interesting trend in some research I was doing on Hammer Films. As European censors were growing more concerned with violence in movies and films watched the amount of violence but sex was okay, the reverse was happening in the U.S. and American censors were limiting sexual references and visuals but violence was a-okay. Just an interesting thing to see in the evolution of the film industry in Europe vs America. I never did get around to writing an article about that one phenomenon and now can’t remember all I wanted to discuss on the topic so I thought I would mention it here as a side note.

Young Frankenstein. I think is my favorite Mel Brooks movie. A true tribute to 1930’s Frankenstein movies, the black and while filming, the use of period transitions, and the use of period style music make this movie superior in every way to other tribute movies. I can’t imagine anyone not having seen this. Unless they are 10, in which case, their parents ought to be showing it to them.