I first got into Korean film when I saw Chunhyang at a meeting of the film society at SUNY Binghamton. Since then, I have been very drawn to the particular visuals, stories, and overall craft of the Korean cinema. This love of Korean film was crystalized when I saw Park Chan-Wook’s Old Boy when I was attending Cannes as a grad student. That film, in my mind, is one of the most beautiful crafted pieces ever made. A Tale of Two Sisters continues this progression with a film that has many psychological elements fans of The Others would know (a la “The Turn of the Screw”) coupled with the folklore of Korea.
The story revolves around a pair of sisters returning to their country cottage after an unexplained absence. The next few days of their lives unravel what caused that absence through the subtle peeling back of layers that it is mesmorizing while frightening. A countryside backdrop projects innocence and the idylic beneath blue skies while the country cottage where the sisters retire at night is full of dark corners. This is a film that easily transcends cultural lines by drawing on the simplist childhood fantasies, pleasures, and fears of all people. If you have the time, the inclination, and an open mind for subtitles, it’s definetely worth the rental.