starring Kim Kap-su, Jum Jung-ah, Lim Su-jeong, Mun Geun-yeong
written and directed by Kim Ji-woon
by Walter Chaw Every frame of Kim Ji-Woon's A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongryeon) is like taking a dip in the violet pools of A Place in the Sun-era Elizabeth Taylor's eyes. It's sensuous--and the characters that inhabit the velvet, silk, and wood environments put out their hands to touch, dangle their feet off the end of a wharf in the soft green water below, lay their faces against cool blue sheets touched by crepuscular shadows. This is filmmaking as tactile exercise, and the atmosphere in which Kim houses his debauched delights is something like smothering beneath the tender insistence of a satin glove. A Tale of Two Sisters is based on an old Korean folktale of two sisters so abused by the capriciousness of the world that they're forced to take refuge in one another and within themselves. In tone and execution, it feels like Heavenly Creatures; in its tale of an evil stepmother and a haunted castle by the lake in the woods, it has the heft of classic German fairytales.