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Bleak Night (DVD) (US Version) DVD Region 1

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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (2)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Winner of the New Currents award at the 2010 Pusan Film Festival, the dark indie drama Bleak Night paints a brutally realistic portrait of broken friendship and teen discontent with fatal consequences. After high school student Gi Tae (Lee Je Hoon, from the gay indie hit Just Friends) takes his own life, his guilt-ridden father (Jo Sung Ha, Yellow Sea) tries to seek out answers. He learns that Gi Tae had two best friends - Dong Yoon (Seo Jun Young, Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho) and Hee Joon (Park Jung Min) - both of whom have been absent in the aftermath of Gi Tae's death. As the film jumps between events in the past and present, the father gradually learns what went wrong among the three friends, ultimately leading to the death of his son. Bleak Night won Best New Director and Best New Actor (Lee Je Hoon) at the 48th Daejong Film Awards and the 32nd Blue Dragon Film Awards.

Shot on handheld cam, Bleak Night drew acclaim for its realistically grim portrayal of the complex dynamics that built and broke the three teens' friendship. The film's astute study of how shifting loyalties, high school politics, and bullying catapulted towards a shocking tragedy is both believable and compelling. Writer-director Yoon Sung Hyun makes an impressive debut with a student film that has proven to be much more, garnering great praise for the young filmmaker at international fests and marking him as a name to watch in Korean cinema.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Bleak Night (DVD) (US Version) Bleak Night (DVD) (US Version) Bleak Night (DVD) (US Version) 番人 파수꾼
Artist Name(s): Lee Je Hoon | Seo Jun Young | Jo Sung Ha | Park Jung Min (Actor) 李帝勳 | 徐俊英 | 趙成夏 | 朴正民 (Actor) 李帝勋 | 徐俊英 | 赵成夏 | 朴正民 (Actor) イ・ジェフン | ソ・ジュンヨン | チョ・ソンハ | パク・ジョンミン (Actor) 이제훈 | 서준영 | 조성하 | 박정민 (Actor)
Director: Yoon Sung Hyun 尹成賢 尹成贤 ユン・ソンヒョン 윤성현
Release Date: 2013-01-22
UPC Code: 742617132025
Place of Origin: United States
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 1 - USA, Canada, U.S. Territories What is it?
Package Weight: 77 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1032368904

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Bleak Night (DVD) (US Version)"

August 11, 2011

This professional review refers to Bleak Night (DVD) (Korea Version)
As its title suggests, Bleak Night is a grim slice of Korean indie drama, which marks the debut of writer director Yoon Sung Hyun. Remarkably, the film was actually Yoon's graduation project from the Korean Academy of Film Arts, though it certainly never feels anything like a student production, showing an impressive maturity and dark emotional complexity. As a result, the film was the subject of considerable critical acclaim, both at home and abroad, winning the New Currents award at the 2010 Pusan Film Festival, thanks in part to a talented cast of young actors that includes Lee Je Hoon (Just Friends), Seo Jun Young (Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho) and Park Jung Min, with actor Jo Sung Ha (Yellow Sea) in a supporting adult role.

The film is framed by Jo as the father of high school student Gi Tae (Lee Je Hoon), who is trying to track down his son's friends in the aftermath of his apparent suicide, attempting to understand why he took his life. At the same time, the relationship between Gi Tae and his best friends Dong Yoon (Seo Jun Young) and Hee Joon (Park Jung Min) plays out through flashbacks, revealing a tragic story of deteriorating friendships and bullying.

Bleak Night really isn't a film about friendship. Instead, Yoon Sung Hyun goes down a far braver and more difficult route, by charting the ambiguous and painful bonds which tie together the three boys, which go far beyond simple camaraderie. Through this, it lays bare some very uncomfortable truths, showing how people often cling together due to loneliness or a need for security rather than actual connections. The film does cover some very tough ground, aiming for real misery as opposed to the usual teen angst, though in an even handed manner, focusing on the pain of being ignored, and on bullying as a means of getting attention. The relationship and dynamics between the protagonists shift constantly, with pent up emotions and feelings being hinted at as things gradually worsen and awkwardness gives way to violence.

Shot using a handheld camera, the film certainly has an authentic feel, with Yoon achieving gritty realism through some barren landscapes which appropriately reflect the characters' despair. Painted mainly with greys and pale colours, the film is atmospheric and tense, with an ominous, foreboding air that leaves the viewer in no doubt that it is building towards something unpleasant. The film does meander somewhat, and at nearly two hours is perhaps a little long, with long stretches of male posturing and anger, though Yoon holds the interest and keeps things moving at a decent pace.

The narrative structure itself works reasonably well, though the use of Gi Tae's father as a means of pushing the story forward does flounder a bit during the later stages, especially since it's obvious that Yoon is interested almost exclusively in the emotional aspects of the film rather than playing it as any kind of detective story. In this respect, some viewers may be frustrated by the film's deliberately ambiguous and occasionally obtuse approach, with very little being provided in the way of answers. This is compensated for by some very powerful performances from the superb young cast, with Lee Je Hoon in particular making a real mark as the emotionally unstable Gi Tae, a difficult and multi-layered role which effectively holds the film together.

Certainly, both Lee Je Hoon and Yoon Sung Hyun are talents to look out for in the future, and help to confirm Bleak Night one of the better Korean independent films of the last year. Dark and gripping, the film makes for a hard-hitting, horribly believable picture of tortured and torturing youth.

by James Mudge -

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Customer Review of "Bleak Night (DVD) (US Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (2)

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October 24, 2011

This customer review refers to Bleak Night (DVD) (Korea Version)
2 people found this review helpful

When The Boys Cry Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
“Bleak Night” is an excellently made film; well acted by the young cast and I’d imagine a lot of personal insight here from young director Sung-hyun Yoon. This hard tragedy really hits home about maladjusted and broken friendships within school life. The most striking is the film’s intense dark emotive atmosphere and isolating high-rise apartment blocks. Shown in a semi-documentary format and shot on handheld camera the story pivots around troubled school lad Gi-tae (Je-hoon Lee) and of his manipulative grip over high school mates Hee-joon (Jeong-min-I Park) and Dong-yoon (Jeon-yeong Seo). A strong story of growing pains, even with intimations of possessive homosexuality, its Gi-tae’s cutting and obsessive emotions that dominate over mere foibles of sexual boyhood frustration. From the onset Gi-tae had committed suicide and his father visits his son’s school to find out why two of Gi-tae’s best friends, Hee-joon, had moved to another school and Dong-yoon, had never shown up at Gi-tae’s funeral. The story then alternates from present to past describing throughout to the reason of Gi-tae’s suicide. A replay account of possessive friendship, Gi-tae’s brittle and violent obsession towards his two school mates, that slowly breaks apart as Gi-tae patches ‘people need’ over his personal troubled complex of family rejection and mistrust.

Psychologically Gi-tae demands close friendship due to being abandoned by his mother as a child. His paranoia and anger switching into quick irritable intimidation if ever introvert Hee-joon ignores, contradicts or questions Gi-tae’s ‘reasonable’ often-pretentious suggestions. By Gi-tae’s control, he becomes erratically violent at the slightest negation from other lads around him. And other lads Gi-tae certainly needs; a school posse that looks up to Gi-tae’s leadership, but still regard him as mentally troubled. The gang element also intensifies a ‘bully’ aspect in Gi-tae’s persona who uses violence on his friends if ignored or contradicted. If Hee-joon doesn’t respond say to Gi-tae’s trivial ‘wassup’ request, the latter will irritably single out and yell at Hee-joon in school corridors, even slapping his head and beating him up. All due to Hee-joon ’s tiredness over Gi-tae’s hard boy complex that cries inside his soul. The three boys though constantly meet up on a railroad track and at one point decide on a visit to China on a triple boy/girl date. But even then Gi-tae gets obsessive and possessive about his friend’s.
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October 24, 2011

This customer review refers to Bleak Night (DVD) (Korea Version)
2 people found this review helpful

When Demanding Friendship’s Break Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Although Gi-tae is manipulative and needs to be someone, by his constant volatile control of others, even to the point of self deception and lying, leaves Gi-tae a lonely boy. Hee-joon and Dong-yoon find it almost impossible to sensibly reason why Gi-tae as calculative reasons for them to be his mates. Dong-yoon tries to keep the peace between Gi-tae’s violent bullying of Hee-joon and even threatens Gi-tae for crossing the friendship line. Gi-tae also tries to keep Dong-yoon his close friend, after introverted Hee-joon had moved to another school, by telling Dong-yoon his girlfriend Se-jeong (Cho-hee Lee) had ‘slept’ with other boys, even becoming pregnant and aborting, so should ditch her. Whatever a truth, any friend’s emotional independence from Gi-tae was anathema to Gi-tae’s fragile emotions. Even embarrassment is a cuss when one of Gi-tae’s gang upsets Gi-tae’s sensitivity of his mother abandoning him. Gi-tae not receiving a mother’s love and by his gang bantering about motherly affection caused embitterment in Gi-tae and with angry scowling and shirt pulling, head slaps ‘friends’ who don’t ‘understand’ Gi-tae’s emotional crisis.

It paints it black here for Gi-tae, but all this relates to happenings where ‘friends’ can control others. But, due to high static emotion, all the boys here are rarely amiable to each other (the directors reflection, maybe), even considering the high needs and violent tension Gi-tae creates. Maybe it’s better for Hee-joon and Dong-yoon to wear the face of indifferent truth about Gi-tae’s nature than smile and say ‘okay, Gi-tae, we’re here’ to try to keep him satisfied, but ‘lie’ in the pandering. But friends generally bolster the others needs positively, and in “Bleak Night” (Korean title: “Lookout”) all three are swept into a negative repelling force of Gi-tae’s dominating and violent manipulative attitude. Hee-joon and Dong-yoon would surly wish to get away from Gi-tae’s stifling motivation, so to maybe love a girl, be free to cut the breeze and not be questioned or pulled up about every farting thing that didn’t include Gi-tae. Yet by Gi-tae’s suicide, due to cutting ‘truths’, was indeed needful of help and love. His force was proof of that and the tragic destructive decision he made. His feelings were true, just messed up! If only love was what we dream it to be! Anyway, intense, sad and attention grabbing, “Bleak Night” is a small masterpiece and Je-hoon is utterly convincing but brilliant to watch!
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