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The Old Garden (DVD) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3

Yeom Jung Ah (Actor) | Ji Jin Hee (Actor) | Im Sang Soo (Director)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting filmmakers working in Korea today, Im Sang Soo has never shirked from pushing buttons and challenging conventions. His previous film, the controversial The President's Last Bang about the 1979 assassination of Park Chung Hee, experienced brushes with the censors, whereas his third film, A Good Lawyer's Wife, provided a devastatingly honest look at modern marriage. Based on Hwang Suk Yeong's best-selling novel, Im's latest film The Old Garden, set in the politically turbulent 1980s and a comparatively mundane present, completes his portrait of changes in Korean society over the last 30 years.

The Old Garden revolves around an activist played by popular actor Ji Jin Hee (Perhaps Love), backdropped by the Gwangju Uprising of 1980, a large-scale democracy protest that was brutally suppressed by the Chun Doo Hwan military regime. Despite the sensitive set-up, the political tones underlie rather than drive the story, as the film very much focuses on the human aspects in its portrayal of two young people who are brought together and torn apart by the times. Placing equal emphasis on the female character, a schoolteacher played by Yeom Jung Ah (A Tale of Two Sisters), Lim also gives voice to the thoughts and experiences of the modern woman. Yeum won the Best Actress award at the 43rd Baeksang Awards for her performance.

After 17 years of imprisonment, democracy activist Hyun Woo (Ji Jin Hee) is released from prison, but what awaits him is an unfamiliar world. He feels lost and displaced in a Korea that has gone through a myriad of changes in the last two decades. His former comrades are now salarymen, and all he went through in the past seems to be for nought. Learning that his love Yoon Hee (Yeom Jung Ah) has passed away, Hyun Woo returns to the countryside where they met, and revisits the past through her diaries and letters. During the tumultuous 80s, the young Hyun Woo found romance and refuge with Yoon Hee, and 17 years later, the memory of her love again provides a guiding light.

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Old Garden (DVD) (Taiwan Version) 亂世狂愛 (DVD) (台灣版) 乱世狂爱 (DVD) (台湾版) なつかしの庭 (DVD) (台湾版) 오래된 정원 한정판
Artist Name(s): Yeom Jung Ah (Actor) | Ji Jin Hee (Actor) 廉貞婭 (Actor) | 池 珍熙 (Actor) 廉贞娅 (Actor) | 池珍熙 (Actor) ヨム・ジョンア (Actor) | チ・ジニ (Actor) 염 정아 (Actor) | 지 진희 (Actor)
Director: Im Sang Soo 林常樹 林常树 イム・サンス 임상수
Release Date: 2012-02-17
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: South Korea
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 113 (mins)
Publisher: Catchplay
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1030278199

Product Information


  在這黑暗的時代 我們找到了明亮的愛
  只怪我們生不逢時… 唯一的小確幸…是我們遇見了彼此。

  故事以1980年代的光州事件為背景,一名反抗政府獨裁統治的社會運動家賢宇(池珍熙 飾),因遭到國家通緝,逃亡過程中遇見了一位美術教師允姬(廉貞雅 飾)。善良的允姬幫助賢宇逃避追捕,兩人因而日久生情。


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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Old Garden (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

May 14, 2007

This professional review refers to The Old Garden (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
The Old Garden is the latest offering from controversial Korean director Lim Sang Soo, whose last film The President's Last Bang ran into trouble with the censors for its satirical mix of fact and fiction in depicting events surrounding the 1979 assassination of Park Chung Hee. Based upon the bestselling novel by author Hwang Suk Yeong, his new work is similarly politically charged, dealing with revolution and its aftermath in the early 1980s, though this time from a more human perspective.

The film begins in the late 1990s with former political activist Hyun Woo (played by actor Ji Jin Hee, recently in Bewitching Attraction) being released from jail after a 17-year stretch. He finds the world a very different place, with his fellow revolutionaries now middle-aged members of the middle class who are content to sit around and bicker with each other, and with the struggles of the past all but forgotten. Upon learning that his love Yoon Hee (actress Yeum Jung Ah, best known as the stepmother in the classic Tale of Two Sisters) died some years ago, he decides to make a journey to their old countryside home where they met while he was on the run from the authorities. In doing so, his memories of the past come flooding back and provide him with both sorrow and hope as he tries to find his place in the new Korea.

Director Lim again proves himself to be an expert storyteller, and the film features a seamless blending of the past and the present, with skilfully handled chronological switches which serve fittingly as contemplative reflections of the different narrative strands rather than to distract through any kind of pretentious trickery. Although the film is obviously infused with politics and social commentary, it is very much driven by its characters, and despite its controversial subject matter in dealing with events such as the notorious Kwangju Uprising of 1980, it is far more a personal journey than a call to arms or an attempt to reopen old wounds. Surprisingly intimate and insular, it deals tenderly with the struggle not so much between revolutionaries and the ruling regime as between the responsibilities and frustrations of political and personal life, focusing not only on the extremes to which people can be driven by their beliefs, but on how their actions affect those around them. The themes dealt with, of anger, loneliness and the scars of the past are universal, and as such the film does not require any prior knowledge of modern Korean history. Indeed, this to an extent is partly the point of the film, as Lim plays frequently upon the way in which the past efforts of the activists have been forgotten, giving a sad impression of wasted lives and effort rather than misty-eyed nostalgia.

Such lofty intellectual aims aside, The Old Garden arguably succeeds mainly through a well written set of characters which provide the film with a strong and genuinely affecting emotional core. Both Hyun Woo and Yoon Hee are complex figures who the viewer takes some time to get to know, with neither being obviously sympathetic or indeed easy to like when first introduced. As a result, the intense, unconventional relationship which builds between the two is wholly believable, and works well as an anchor for the turbulent narrative which unfolds. The supporting cast are equally effective, and the film benefits from the fact that Lim never whitewashes the activists or treats them as saintly martyrs.

The visuals are gorgeous throughout, with Lim paying great attention to small personal details to bring the story to convincing life and to evoke a strong sense of time and place. The countryside is depicted with a picturesque stillness which contrasts sharply with the confusion and violence of the bloody riot scenes, making them all the more brutal and shocking. This again works to underline the deep rooted conflict at the heart of the film and to highlight the physical as well as emotional suffering undergone by so many in the name of revolution.

The Old Garden certainly makes for powerful, thoughtful viewing, being the he kind of social conscience cinema which Korea used to excel at in the 80s and early 90s, engaging themes of politics and social criticism without losing sight of the deeply personal stories of the people involved. Melancholy rather than melodramatic, the film is moving in a painfully honest fashion, and confirms Lim Sang Soo as one of the most talented and interesting directors working in the country today.

by James Mudge -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "The Old Garden (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

See all my reviews

June 25, 2007

This customer review refers to The Old Garden (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
2 people found this review helpful

The Garden of Remembrance Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
In essence this is a love story between a social activist Hyon Woo and a school teacher/artist Yoon Hee who sympathizes with his political cause. The film actually begins with Hyun Woon being released from prison 16 years on from the Gwangju student massacre of early 1980s Korea (where he was involved), but the stories' past events of Hyun Woo's reason for imprisonment and of his love for the school teacher Yoon Hee are reflected by stylish flashbacks to reveal the frictions, turmoil and insecurities of two people's love in dark days Korea. These flash backs are common to the story telling as each segment of Hyon Hee's memories of his past are revealed, eventually leading up towards his imprisonment. In fact you could call the film The Garden of Remembrance considering all the film's past recalls. Although the story is told in flashback the narrative is very coherent and easy to follow - although at a slow pace at times it is constantly revealing. Due to the political violence of the time, there are some quite disturbing scenes here and there (as to be expected), especially near the end regarding a self immolation scene with a female student at Gwangju. This part could be a hard watch for some, especially for people local in memory to such events.

Although this film is politically routed in Korea's sensitive circumstances of the socialist and student activism of early 1980s (similar to the political climate featured in "Ditto" in parts) its not all 'dry politics' and is certainly a romantic movie at heart (albeit a brittle one) by the love of the two protagonists. The politics, though, isn't a mere back drop to the love interests, but more a weaving of these two elements.There is some good cinematography here, too, with really beautiful camera work and lighting - like (ironically) the pretty scene when Hyon Woo is first released from prison in a pleasant snow lit night - awesome considering its outside a prison complex. Excellent acting from the cast and Jin Hee Ji and Jung Yeom are superb - its nice to see Jung Ah getting her teeth into a more solid role since "A Tale of Two Sisters" where she played the aunt. This is certainly a good quality movie to recommend and deserves to be seen, if you like this sort of mixed melodrama and politics. Director Lim Sang Soo as made quite a few good movies to date, like "A Good Lawyer's Wife" and "The President's Last Bang" so if you have seen these, you will get the idea of what helmsman is in charge if this ship. Worth watching with absolutely high quality acting and screenplay.
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