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Finding Humor in 'Bittersweet Life'

2005/03/22 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

For director Kim Jee-woon, humor is a basic element of films. And he says no matter how dark and moody it may seem, his new film "A Bittersweet Life (Talkomhan Insaeng)" is no exception.

"This movie basically deals with relationship breakups resulting from small communication breakdowns", Kim said during a news conference Monday after the preview screening of "A Bittersweet Life".

Without calling it comedy exactly, sometimes audiences have to laugh at very serious or ironic situations, Kim said.

Kim has shown his unique morbid sense of humor in previous movies such as "The Quiet Family", a black comedy about a family who kill visitors to their cottage, "The Foul King", a comic drama about an amateur wrestler, and one horror contribution work for the omnibus film "Three".

Kim is also behind "A Tale of Two Sisters", the psychological horror film that became a summer hit in 2003.

"A Bittersweet Life", starring Lee Byung-hun from "Everybody has Secrets" and Shin Min-a from "Madeleine", portrays the desperate and brutal revenge of Sun-woo (played by Lee) after he is expelled from his gang and comes close to being killed by his boss.

"I decided to take part in the film because I really liked the story", Lee said. "And as a fan of Kim, I was also very curious about what it would be like if he made a noir film".

Sun-woo leads a satisfied life as a right-hand man of his gang's boss but comes close to being murdered after he fails to complete a secret mission.

The characters in the film are very stylish, but the movie is actually about "the foolishness of men" who don't know how to communicate, the director said. "Just one trivial mistake or decision leads them to an irrevocable situation. And I think that's what life is like".

Although the running time of the film is two hours, about 50 minutes of footage was cut during post production. Since the director and actors loathed to just throw it away, some great scenes not included in the film were used by Lee as part of a music video he directed for singer Yangpa.

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