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Happiness (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3

Hwang Jung Min (Actor) | Lim Soo Jung (Actor) | Hur Jin Ho (Director) | Gong Hyo Jin (Actor)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.7 out of 10 (3)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Director Hur Jin Ho addresses the two unavoidable facts of life in his latest film: we all want to be happy, and we all die eventually. Featuring a sterling cast headed by the charismatic Hwang Jung Min (You Are My Sunshine) and Lim Soo Jung (I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK), Happiness is a warm, heartfelt, yet brutally realistic love story about two disheartened souls both suffering from illness. While Hur's past films like April Snow, One Fine Spring Day, and Christmas In August concentrated on expressing understated love, Happiness takes a more direct approach in its articulation of love. A beautifully rendered dramatic piece, Happiness promises to be a timeless classic that inspires its audience to find their own recipe of happiness.

Young Soo (Hwang Jung Min), a freewheeler who runs a nightclub, is met with life's several crossroads all at once. First his business goes bankrupt, then his girlfriend (Kong Hyo Jin, Heaven's Soldiers) dumps him, and to add insult to injury, he discovers that he has a serious liver disease. Telling all his friends that he is going to study abroad, he checks into House of Hope, a home for incurables in the quite, secluded countryside. An eight-year resident and an employee of the rehab center, Eun Hee (Lim Soo Jung) suffers from a severe lung illness, though not a glimpse of sickness appears in her attitude. Always cheerful and optimistic, she finds Young Soo's aloofness quite charming. Drawn to her strength, Young Soo also falls for her and the two become inseparable, even finding a place of their own. One year rolls by and while Eun Hee seems endlessly content, the monotone of daily routines and Eun Hee's ailing condition begin to weigh Young Soo down. Just then, his ex-girlfriend makes a surprise visit from Seoul...

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Technical Information

Product Title: Happiness (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) 尋找幸福的日子 (2007) (DVD) (台灣版) 寻找幸福的日子 (2007) (DVD) (台湾版) ハピネス (DVD) (台湾版) 행복
Artist Name(s): Hwang Jung Min (Actor) | Lim Soo Jung (Actor) | Gong Hyo Jin (Actor) 黃 政民 (Actor) | 林秀晶 (Actor) | 孔孝珍 (Actor) 黄政民 (Actor) | 林秀晶 (Actor) | 孔孝珍 (Actor) ファン・ジョンミン (Actor) | イム・スジョン (Actor) | コン・ヒョジン (Actor) 황 정민 (Actor) | 임수정 (Actor) | 공효진 (Actor)
Director: Hur Jin Ho 許 秦豪 許 秦豪 ホ・ジノ 허진호
Release Date: 2012-03-16
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: South Korea
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 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: 124 (mins)
Publisher: Catchplay
Package Weight: 115 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1030377128

Product Information

導演:許秦豪

  儘管愛情和命運同樣弄人 仍要在其中尋找希望與幸福  
 
  不幸的事接二連三地向英秀(黃政民 飾)襲來,他在首爾經營的夜總會生意一蹶不振,女友秀妍又在此時選擇離開他,更慘的是他發現自己竟患上了肝硬化。對這座城市已毫無眷戀的他來到了座落於鄉村的療養院「希望之家」就醫,並因此認識了患有嚴重肺病且已在這裡生活八年多的恩熙(林秀晶 飾)。儘管恩熙的病情起伏不定,但她一向為人樂觀,英秀和恩熙兩人愈走愈近,感情與日俱增。一年之後,當英秀的身體逐漸好轉,他也開始厭倦了鄉村枯燥無味的生活以及體弱多病的恩熙。此時,前女友秀妍竟從首爾來找英秀…。

  【情慾五感圖】【八月照相館】韓國知名導演許秦豪真摯感人力作,勇奪2007青龍獎最佳導演,並榮獲2008年韓國大鐘獎最佳女主角提名肯定!

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Happiness (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

February 25, 2008

This professional review refers to Happiness (DVD) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
Going by Hur Jin-ho's track record for broken relationships and tragic melodrama, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the title of his latest film Happiness just might be a little ironic. The impression of events taking a familiar turn seem to be confirmed in the very first scene of the film where Young-su (Hwang Jung-min) turns up at his girlfriend's apartment to find that she's changed the combination and locked him out. Although he is planning to go away for a couple of years, he still isn't ready to accept that the relationship is over. Considering in the past how Hur Jin-ho characters have moped along for long periods following a broken relationship, it's surprising that, after a drunken night out at the nightclub he manages, Young-su seems to be ready to move on.

Young-su's problems lie elsewhere - he's bankrupt and suffering from a serious illness, cirrhosis. Gathering together what money he has left, he goes to a healing centre out in the country. There he meets Eun-hee (Lim Soo-jung), a timid young woman who has already been there at the House of Hope for a number of years suffering from lung disease, and a relationship develops between them. The chances of both making a recovery on their own is slim, but they believe they can help each other and form a pact, taking their fate into their own hands - Eun-hee promises she will help Young-su get cured, even if the effort kills her.

The situation may sound contrived and calculated for a weepy melodrama - which after the airbrushed slush of the director's last film April Snow is something to be justifiably concerned about - but Hur Jin-ho seems to have rediscovered the hard-hitting simplicity and delicacy of his earliest films, Christmas in August and One Fine Spring Day. Happiness fits perfectly into the same tone and mood as those earlier films and the title, like all the director's films, is not ironic, but deliberately ambiguous with bittersweet undertones. Happiness in Hur Jin-ho films can be found, but not in the expected places. For Hur it is in situations of great loss, tragedy, impending death and major life upheavals that his characters find the opportunity to transform their lives for the better, finding the strength to move on and learn to live again. There's nothing more profound to Happiness than that and Hur paints the beauty of those simple moments, the countryside and the seasons with light and with music.

Showing that the modern lifestyle as it is lived in the cities is not healthy, and that there is a need to get back to basics to discover what is really important in life, isn't however an original observation and certainly not unique in Korean cinema at the moment. In Happiness moreover, Young-su initially makes the change perhaps a little too smoothly, adjusting quickly to the regime of the health centre and life in the country with Eun-hee. You don't get any impression that the man who moves to the country is the same person you see at the start of the film on a voyage of self-destruction. This is intentional and the director wants to make the distinction clear. Young-su is indeed two different people, and if he goes back to Seoul - and inevitably the attraction of his old lifestyle will start to exert its influence - he'll fall back into the old ways that will kill either himself or Eun-hee.

That's certainly very schematic, but awareness makes the events that unfold no less agonising - the beauty of the film however is in the manner in which Hur Jin-ho follows the path. There is no attempt to wallow in sentimental melodrama, or devise heart-breaking twists to manipulate the feelings of the viewer - the message is a simple one and Hur Jin-ho moves inexorably towards its inevitable conclusion. In place of dramatic developments and character complexity the director allows the pace and tone of the film, as well as the beauty of the cinematography, to capture the simple truths and contradictions of what true happiness is, what it means to find it and what it means to lose it.

DVD
Happiness is released in Korea by KD Media as a lavish Limited Edition 3-disc set. The sturdy embossed fold-out digipak with magnetic clasp holds the three discs - Disc 1, The Film, Disc 2, The Extra Features, Disc Three, a CD of the Soundtrack, and a set of 4 promotional photo cards for the film. The set is in NTSC format, and is encoded for Region 3.

Video
The film is presented anamorphically at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The print is clean and the transfer quality is reasonably good with only a few minor problems. The image looks over filtered, resulting in blacks appearing rather flat and prone to discolour into a blue haze with low-level noise. The tone is a little bright with high contrast, which doesn't allow true colours to come through. The transfer is progressive and holds fairly stable for the most part. On a CRT display there was some slight judder evident in slow camera pans, but this doesn't seem to present any problems for progressive displays. Overall, the presentation of the film is excellent and any technical issues are minor and have little impact on the film.

Audio
There is a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. Both are fine, the surround mix in particular giving the film's ambience, music score and dialogue a wider range to work within, coming to life in appropriate places where its impact is required.

Subtitles
The film comes with optional English subtitles. These are white in a strong, bold font. There are no issues whatsoever with the grammar or spelling and the film appears to be well translated with the appropriate tone.

Extras
A three-disc set, the Korean Limited Edition of Happiness is packed with extra features, but without any subtitles few of them will be of any value to English speaking viewers. The film itself comes with a full-length Commentary by director Hur Jin-ho with lead actors Hwang Jung-min and Lim Soo-jung.

Disc Two contains two lengthy making of features - Story of Happiness (31:59), showing behind-the-scenes filming and brief interview snippets with the director and cast as well as a shorter supplemental Making Of (7:49). There are similar short featurettes on the Art Making Of "House of Hope" (8:15) which looks behind the scenes at the art direction; a Laugh Treatment (9:39) showing the preparation for the laughing therapy sessions at the House of Hope; and Interviews on "What Is Happiness..." (4:41) featurette, where cast and crew briefly give their thoughts on the subject of what happiness is. The eleven Deleted Scenes (11:57) are brief, but worth viewing despite the lack of subtitles. Timecoded and letterboxed, they fill in little gaps with incidental details, and just seem to have been trimmed for length. There is footage of the Poster Shoot (5:12) taken in various locations and photo studios. The composer Jo Sung-woo speaks briefly about the Making Of Soundtrack (4:16) and there is some footage of the recording sessions.

Disc 3 is a CD of the melancholic Original Sountrack (39:13), which is quite beautiful and stands up well on its own.

Overall
There's nothing particularly new from Hur Jin-ho in Happiness and his latest film may seem to be a bit lacking in complexity of plot and characterisation, but there is still much to admire in the director's typically bittersweet treatment of his favourite themes, finding beauty and strength in the most unexpected of places. Hur is certainly capable of a little more depth and complexity in his examination of human feelings than this, but Happiness is nonetheless a welcome return to form after the relative blandness of April Snow. English viewers may not be able to benefit from all the extra features in this 3-disc Korean Limited Edition, but the presentation of the film itself is excellent, and the soundtrack CD is certainly worth owning.

by Noel Megahey - DVD Times

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

Customer Review of "Happiness (2007) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.7 out of 10 (3)

numinair
See all my reviews


April 7, 2008

This customer review refers to Happiness (DVD) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
4 people found this review helpful

Broken Angel Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
I love Soo Jung Lim - she has been, like for many others also, one of the reasons I started watching S Korean movies in the first place, with "A Tale of Two Sisters" and I've always loved her sad, sweet and innocent characters. Again here with director Jin Ho Hur's "Happiness", Soo Jung's classic Orphan of the Storm look is intact and heart touchingly correct (and cute) to the core, with this (maybe not great) but interesting film. Funnily enough, a small miracle seemed to have happened (maybe) on this Saturday night gone after I had watched it, which I'll mention at the close.

So is this film okay? Its passively quiet in a way, even though its about distressful and dire straits circumstances and director Jin Ho Hur as made another similar 'feel' of a movie to "One Fine Spring Day" and "April Snow" (which although the latter can seem boring, real people in those circumstances of losing a loved one, aren't actually going to be having a lot of zip and zest), with a sombre, slow pacing, light humor and touching scenarios. The theme here is the reflection of "Happiness" as irony, when happiness isn't always fit for the moment. In this case, its concerning Young Soo, played excellently by Jung Min Hwang, and of his life becoming severely tested by bankruptcy, ill health and the loss of good companionship. He gets the cold shoulder from his present girlfriend (played by Hyo Jin Gong), locking him out of her flat, due to his drunkenness and lack of control. Everything for Young Soo is basically screwing up left, right and center.

This leads Young Soo to decide on attending a rehabilitation center called the House of Hope, to help him improve on his dangerous and life threatening liver cirrhosis, that he has attained thorough excessive drinking. Burning the candle at both ends, Young Soo frequently drowns himself away with alcohol, womanizes erratically, and looses a proper stability and focus, after discovering his night club business is in jeopardy and his girlfriend has left him. When he also finds out that he is on death's door - he attempts to change his life. Which he does at the rehabilitation center (or sanatorium) of the House of Hope, where he also meets a young girl named Eun Hee (Soo Jung), who he soon discovers has a life threatening sickness, too; her lungs having 40 % functionality. By this opening premise, you could expect quite a sad and somber melodrama, which by these character's illness, it is. But "Happiness" is also an interesting fable about personal life changes. It opens with Young Soo's dire and target less future, but at the House of Hope where Young Soo begins to fall in love with Eun Hee - the gloomy mood lifts and the sense of calm, positive attitudes, and even some light humor with a number of the other patients, take over. Even Young Soo's character and outlook take on a more beneficial and caring nature to his previously lackluster and self indulgent attitude. He becomes a new man, even though it takes a life threatening illness to change him.

"Happiness", when it features Young Soo and Eun Hee together, gives this film a meditative air. Like with the director's film "One Fine Spring Day", there are scenes of nature sounds and romantic feelings, as the wind is clearly heard rustling in the trees, creating the tranquility of peace and hope, surrounding a place of sickness. Nature helps here of course, as all the patients are seriously sick, and even Young Soo's room sharer has lung disease. But due to Eun Hee being a patient since a young child, had taken on the status of carer herself to all the patients of the sanatorium. Here Eun Hee gently coaxes Young Soo (after she eventually gets to like him) and other patients into daily morning exercise, as she jigs her body movements to show then how to motion themselves out of sluggishness and into happiness (Soo Jung's jig is really cute, too). Even mental exercises to help alleviate the threat of ill health (which I think flooding the mind and body with imaginary white light helps to ease stress, for instance). But in all of this, its Eun Hee that in herslef is like a white light of hope at the center - a sick and physically broken angel, but having unassuming compassion. Young Soo learns that Eun Hee had also lost her parents as a child, as well having her lung sickness. He is touched and falls in love with her. This love helps them both to improve their health and eventually, they leave the sanatorium.

For a while Eun Hee and Young Soo are happy. But as Young Soo meets up with his old friend and girlfriend from the city, he falls back into his old relationship and life style. He begins to drink and smoke again, and his ill mannered and stupefied way (in a Jekyll and Hyde sense), slides him back into ill health. So, momentarily, like life itself, the 'happiness' Young Soo has with his life changing circumstances with Eun Hee, are fleeting and ill met. Eun Hee is an angel of a girl, she doesn't care if Young Soo has lots of money, a fast car or experience, only requiring that he shows the reflected caring and love she so freely gives him. But as Young Soo decides to return to his girlfriend, he figuratively slaps her love in the face. He even tells her he doesn't like her eating slowly due to her lung trouble, as it makes him think of the weakness of his situation. He wants the comfort of a future proof pension and life insurance, with his old girlfriend, and in this disillusioned way of feeling safe and contented - rejects the very angel who had saved his soul. Eun Hee loves him, too, and can't bare for Young Soo to return to the woman he meets back in Seoul again - and her grievance and desperation at this point, is the most tearful and heart tearing part of the movie. Especially when you consider that Eun Hee had lost her parents, and now could lose Young Soo, too, because of his blind outlook. The rest is needful to watch this film.

"Happiness" is not about finding happiness, but dealing with happiness when it shifts to the opposite scale - depression. Its not about two age different people in love either (which I thought could have been the premise here.....although Soo Jung isn't that young though, really). This is also more about reconciliation, the prodigal son situation, and of how Young Soo's old ways of living are challenged (maybe even by his success before the film starts) by his health difficulties, and the love redemption offered to him as salvation, by a similarly sick and caring girl. He gets depressed and ill, but finds a light outside of his circumstances at the House of Hope. But Young Soo also decides his past and destructive ways are more important to him. Human irony. Its a sweet film (really, I'm not pulling your leg) and even though its got a sad plot, it can be a revealing and worthy story telling. Life isn't easy for anyone. And like Young Soo, we could sometimes need to free the stress and inhibitions for us to think freely in ourselves. But if we over indulge, in say alcohol (like anything) or brooding emotions, it effects our well being.

Acting is what you would expect with good performers with Soo Jung and Jeong Min. But you also have the added bonus of Hye Soo Gong here, who is also another good character actress (she's in the film "M", too). Not a lot for her to play with here, but it was interesting to see her in a less feisty role. The DVD set is another gorgeously extravagant one, with the film DVD, bonus extras DVD and a full score OST CD. Plus there are some postcards included in the wonderfully packaged digi pack fold out sleeve.

The small miracle? Well, I don't think I'm giving much away by mentioning an element of the end reference. But as Young Soo walks into the House of Hope at the close, it was of a scene of winter snow. Snow. And just after I'd watched the film, and I had got my usually late coffee from the kitchen, I looked out of the window and everywhere had a blanket of snow - as it had snowed throughout the early hours. Small miracle? Oh, I don't know (I'm in the Doubting Thomas Society), but this film ended with snow and outside of our house there was snow. It produced a happy feeling if nothing else, so I thought I'd mention it here, too.
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MovieCollector
See all my reviews


March 18, 2008

This customer review refers to Happiness (DVD) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
1 people found this review helpful

slow drama Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
I was kind of surprised that I finished watching this movie from the beginning to the end. It was quite slow. I think the problem with the movie was that it didn't have the right characters to make it more interesting. Maybe if they had casts some big names actor, it would have brought more attention to the viewer. Certainly, the movie didn't grab me from the beginning. At least the package of this set is very beautiful.
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Rhoda
See all my reviews


January 24, 2008

This customer review refers to Happiness (DVD) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Nice drama Customer Review Rated Bad 9 - 9 out of 10
She's grown!!! Still a very good actress... her role here is somehow mature. although the movie has a sad ending, i still say this is worh watching.
Did you find this review helpful? Yes (Report This)
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