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Hwang Jin Yi (1986) (Korea Version) DVD Region All

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Hwang Jin Yi (1986) (Korea Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

One of the most socially repressive periods in history for Korean women, 16th century Joseon left little space for one's feelings, especially if you weren't of noble blood. Born as the daughter of noble Hwang Jin Sa and a gisaeng (female entertainer), young Jin Yi follows in her mother's footsteps and becomes a gisaeng after seeing a young man who secretly loved her commit suicide. She spends her life delighting rich nobles with her artistic talent and beauty, becoming one of the most famous gisaeng of Korea.

The 2006 KBS drama Hwang Jin Yi ended with Ha Ji Won bringing home the Daesang award at the KBS Awards. The movie, starring Song Hye Kyo of All In and Yoo Ji Tae of Oldboy, is one of the most anticipated releases of 2007. And now you have a chance to see one of the first, and best films telling the story of Hwang Jin Yi, one of Korean history's most illustrious women. Famous for her incredible beauty but also her sijo (poems) and talent with traditional instruments like the geomungo, Hwang was one of the few women to be added to the list of Korean History's 100 most representative figures.

The 1986 film was directed by Bae Chang Ho of Whale Hunting, the most successful Korean director of the 80s. Unforgettable is the leading performance by Jang Mi Hee, along with a short but incredibly effective performance by Ahn Sung Ki. Written by best-selling novelist Choi In Ho, the film was one of the first to show the stylistic changes which would lead to the boom of the 90s, and is the perfect start if you're interested in this crucial figure of Korean history.

© 2007-2021 Ltd. All rights reserved. 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

Technical Information

Product Title: Hwang Jin Yi (1986) (Korea Version) 黃真伊 (1986) (韓國版) 黄真伊 (1986) (韩国版) 黄真伊(ファン・ジニ) 韓国映画DVD (1986)(韓国版) 황진이 1986
Artist Name(s): Ahn Sung Ki | Jang Mi Hee 安聖基 | 張美嬉 安圣基 | 张美嬉 アン・ソンギ | チャン・ミヒ 안 성기 | 장미희
Director: Bae Chang Ho 裴昶浩 裴昶浩 ペ・チャンホ 배창호
Release Date: 2007-04-16
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese
Place of Origin: South Korea
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: All Region What is it?
Publisher: Dong A Export Corporation
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004714435

Product Information

* Screen Format : Anamorphic Widescreen
* Sound Mix : Dolby 2.0

* Director : 배창호

황진사의 딸로 재색을 겸비한 진이는 혼례전날 그녀를 짝사랑하던 갖바치의 자살로 일방적으로 파혼을 당하고 갖바치의 죽음에 충격을 받고 일개 기녀로 변신한다. 기녀로 명성을 떨치던 진이는 벽계수를 만나 서로 사랑하게 되지만 그가 명나라 사신으로 발탁되어 그녀의 품을 떠나버리자 배신감에 사로잡혀 유랑길에 오른다. 그후 경제적으로 무능한 선비 이생과 만나 삶을 같이하지만 그가 전락 사당패들에게 진이 자신을 팔아 넘기려고 함을 알고 스스로 사당패를 따라나선다.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Hwang Jin Yi (1986) (Korea Version)"

May 22, 2007

In Korea, there was once a profession called kisaeng. Much like the geisha in Japan, the kisaengs are professional female entertainers that are proficient in dance and music, though they are often misunderstood as prostitutes. One of the most famous kisaeng in Korean pop culture is Hwang Jin-Yi, whose story has been immortalized over the years in the forms of novels, dramas, and movies such as director Bae Chang-Ho's 1986 film. Starring veteran actress Jang Mi-Hee, this incarnation focuses very little on Hwang's kisaeng life, instead opting for a tragic story of unrequited love(s). An extremely subtly told story, whose understanding is further hindered by DVD subtitles that stray far from proper grammar (case in point: "My Mother! This fuss occurred due to my fault."), Hwang Jin-Yi is a work ripe for scholarly study rather than for general consumption.

Once nicknamed "the Steven Spielberg of Korea," Bae directed several very commercially successful films in the early 80s, earning him the privilege to take on such a legendary subject. Filmed from a script by novelist Choi In-Ho, Bae's version essentially tells three episodes from Hwang's life. First, she is shown as a member of a noble family. Soon to be married, she encounters a shoemaker who harbors a secret crush on her. When his infatuation is exposed, Hwang is forced to humiliate him in public in order to save his life. However, the shoemaker commits suicide out of shame, and Hwang leaves home racked with guilt. Skip forward several years, and Hwang has become a popular kisaeng (though labeled as "barmaid" in the subtitles) in Sangdo, though she sells her body to no one. But soon, a nobleman arrives and successfully seduces Hwang. He promises to return to her in the winter, but she is once again left heartbroken. Moving on yet again, she meets an exiled government official after troubling clients forced her from her job. With nowhere to go, Hwang decides to follow the man on his journey. But the man's heart is with his wife and child, and Hwang may yet again be headed for heartbreak.

Like Hur Jin-Ho and Hang Sang-Soo, Bae directs with an extremely methodical approach, and he brings that same touch to Hwang Jin-Yi. Composed of long takes and slow movements, the film is not one for the impatient. Many of the crucial plot points are merely suggested rather than shown, requiring the audience to connect the dots on their own. In theory, it's always good to see a filmmaker rely on visual storytelling rather than on verbal exposition. However, Bae's reliance on the "less is more" approach fails to fully engage, as the film often meanders by dragging out each scene to almost unbearable lengths, meaning that most audiences just won't have the patience to wait for something to happen.

To compensate for the lack of storytelling, Bae fills Hwang Jin-Yi with stunningly beautiful images. From the morning fog floating on the ground to the final shot on the beach during sunrise, Hwang Jin-Yi is beautifully shot by cinematographer Jeon Il-Seong. The art direction by Nowhere to Hide and Duelist director Lee Myong-Su also captures the period in great detail, foreshadowing Lee's future reputation as a director who sometimes pay a little too much attention to visuals. In fact, sitting through Hwang Jin-Yi is like staring at paintings for hours, and will likely engage only those with such skills.

In the title role, Jang Mi-Hee literally carries the entire film on her shoulders. Despite Bae's low-key and somber storytelling, Jang manages to shine through, creating a true tragic character rather than simply going through the motions. Choi's script in this sense becomes both Jang's advantage and downfall. With dialogue stripped down to the bare minimum to reveal plot points, Jang is challenged to truly act by relying purely facial expressions to show emotions and inner thoughts. On the other hand, a bare script also means Jang has to work with a character lacking sufficient development; the audience is supposed to identify with Hwang because she's the main focus, but no one really knows why she deserves such focus.

Of course, one can argue that Bae was simply ahead of his time, since Hur and Hong have adopted a similar style to tell far more compelling stories with engaging characters. However, Bae tests the audience's patience, spending more time setting up a certain atmosphere rather than telling a story, while Hur and Song use the subtle approach to create characters and an actual story rather than simply setting up atmosphere. Bae's Hwang Jin-Yi wants you to take in the period through his characters' eyes, and there's no doubt Bae knows how to make a movie. If Hwang Jin-Yi were to gain more recognition, it would no doubt be taught in film school as a lesson in framing, focus, and the use of color. While there just isn't much beneath all the pretty images, one certainly cannot deny the film's influence on contemporary Korean cinema.

By Kevin Ma

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