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Thirst (VCD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) VCD

Song Kang Ho (Actor) | Kim Ok Bin (Actor) | Park Chan Wook (Director)
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Thirst (VCD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Eschewing the typical trappings of vampire lore, Old Boy director Park Chan Wook's dark, decadent, and violent vampire movie Thirst is unlike any other. Inspired by Emile Zola's 1867 novel Therese Raquin, Thirst focuses on the moral crisis and emotional anguish of a blood-sucking man of the cloth. Award-winning actor Song Kang Ho (The Host) embodies virtue and vice as a righteous priest who turns into a vampire after an experiment gone wrong. His worldly Thirst drives him down an insatiable spiral of lust, depravity, and betrayal. Kim Ok Bin (Dasepo Naughty Girls) gives an alluring performance as the object of his illicit love and lust. Also co-starring Shin Ha Kyun (No Mercy For the Rude) and acclaimed veteran actress Kim Hae Suk, Thirst won the Jury Prize at the 62nd Cannes International Film Festival.

Respected priest Sang Hyun (Song Kang Ho) dedicates his life to faith and service, and laments the great pain and suffering that exist in the world. Hoping to save more lives, he volunteers for a medical experiment, but things go terribly wrong. After a mysterious blood transfusion, Sang Hyun miraculously recovers from a deadly virus. People from far and wide flock to Sang Hyun's church believing that he has healing powers, but in truth he has turned into a vampire. Sang Hyun struggles to keep his secret and his humanity, but he can't control his thirst for blood or his growing lust for Tae Ju (Kim Ok Bin), the wife of his sickly childhood friend Kang Woo (Shin Ha Kyun).

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Technical Information

Product Title: Thirst (VCD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 饑渴誘罪 (VCD) (中英文字幕) (香港版) 饥渴诱罪 (VCD) (中英文字幕) (香港版) 渇き (香港版) 박쥐 (VCD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Also known as: サースト, こうもり, コウモリ
Artist Name(s): Song Kang Ho (Actor) | Kim Ok Bin (Actor) 宋 康昊 (Actor) | 金玉嬪 (Actor) 宋 康昊 (Actor) | 金玉嫔 (Actor) ソン・ガンホ (Actor) | キム・オクビン (Actor) 송 강호 (Actor) | 김옥빈 (Actor)
Director: Park Chan Wook 朴 贊郁 朴赞郁 パク・チャヌク 박찬욱
Release Date: 2010-03-25
Language: Cantonese, Korean
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: South Korea
Disc Format(s): VCD
Rating: III
Publisher: Edko Films Ltd. (HK)
Other Information: 2VCDs
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1022425432

Product Information

Director: Park Chan-wook

Beloved and devoted priest from a small town volunteers for a medical experiment which fails and turns him into a vampire. Physical and psychological changes lead to his affair with a wife of his childhood friend who is repressed and tired of her mundane life. The one-time priest falls deeper in despair and depravity. As things turn for worse, he struggles to maintain what’s left of his humanity.
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Awards

This film has won 1 award(s) and received 3 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Thirst (VCD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

April 12, 2010

This professional review refers to Thirst (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
After the critical and commercial misstep that was I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, Korean auteur Park Chan-Wook returns to a dark but very familiar place with Thirst. Filled with extreme violence, explicit sex, dark humor, and impressive camerawork (plus a bit of fantasy), Thirst is the return of the Park Chan-Wook that worldwide audiences know and love. Despite the current popularity of the vampire genre, this is a surprisingly risky choice for Hollywood studio Universal's first Korean co-production, as Thirst is too extreme to be considered a commercially viable film anywhere outside of its native land, where Park, star Song Kang-Ho, and the film's Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival were enough to attract audiences. Even then, the film wasn't the blockbuster it was expected to be, quickly fizzing out at the box office after a huge opening.

Part of the film's middling success may have been due to its controversial story. Righteous priest Sang-Hyun (Song Kang-Ho) is tired of working at the hospital and standing on the sidelines only to watch the people that he helps die. This prompts him to participate in a dangerous medical experiment involving the deadly Emmanuel Virus. The virus almost immediately kills him, but he quickly comes back to life after a blood transfusion, and the miracle prompts the people back at home to revere him as a savior. One of these admirers happens to be the mother of his childhood friend Kang-Woo (Shin Ha-Kyun). However, Sang-Hyun finds himself slowly changing, and needs to ingest human blood constantly to keep the symptoms of the virus at bay. At the same time, he also finds himself developing another desire - this time for Kang-Woo's wife/cousin Tae-Ju (Kim Ok-Bin, in a bravura performance).

Loosely based on Émile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin, the story is fairly easy to figure out if one knows the source material, and Park takes it to an even darker place than the story suggests. While one expects the violence to be brutal, it's apparently the sex scenes that are getting even more attention. The scenes are explicit even by Western cinema standards, but they're really not more extreme than those in Park's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or Oldboy - the latter of which featured a sex scene that was far more disturbing in nature than anything in Thirst. At least the sexual content never feels gratuitous - not even when it features full frontal nudity from Song Kang-Ho.

But one can't say the same for the violence. While Thirst does have its gruesome moments, the fantasy element means that the violence is eventually taken to a near-cartoonish level. As one can expect from a vampire movie, blood flows freely throughout the film, and as beautifully captured as it is by frequent Park collaborator Jeong Jeong-Hun, the over-the-top violence eventually becomes a source of comedy. However, Park assures his audiences that it's perfectly OK to laugh.

One thing that sets apart Thirst from the recent line of vampire films is that it strays away from traditional horror elements. Beneath all the blood and sex, Thirst is actually a tragic love story. However, Park is so obsessed with delivering all the important plot elements of Thérèse Raquin that the development of Sang-Hyun and Tae-Ju's affair is actually the least convincing part of the film. As a result, the emotional punch of previous Park films like JSA and Oldboy is nowhere to be found. Instead, Thirst is far more successful as a dark comedy, with some perverse gags that actually make the film as dark as it is surprisingly fun.

Despite its extreme elements and packed plot, Thirst does drag a bit in the middle, when Sang-Hyun's search for new sources of blood without committing murder eventually becomes a little repetitive. However, Park uses his strength as a visual-oriented director to keep the film engaging. The exquisite camerawork and art direction (including a room with completely white walls that plays a major role in the film's third act) are easily the strongest seen in Korean cinema all year, making the film's absence from the Grand Bell Nominations all the more confusing. Even though some of the special effects could be stronger – especially considering the film's partial Hollywood funding - Park's camerawork alone makes the film consistently intriguing to watch.

Nevertheless, it is time to wonder if Park has any other tricks up his sleeve. Even through Park has proven himself to be capable of more, since Oldboy his visual style has become so distinctive that it's become something he can fall back on to cover up shortcomings in pace or storytelling. As spectacular visually as Thirst is, the tiredness of Park's style is beginning to show. Then again, even if Park does intend on changing his style, there's no reason for his audiences not to have a little fun along the way, and that's exactly what Thirst is - classier-than-usual genre fun.

By Kevin Ma

March 2, 2010

This professional review refers to Thirst (DVD) (3-Disc) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
Park Chan Wook, Korean director of two of the biggest cult hits in recent Asian cinema with Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Old Boy, caused a great deal of excitement on announcing that his next project was to be a fresh take on the time honoured vampire tale - not least as it seemed to promise a return to blood-letting after his oddball comedy I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK. With the film inspired by rather than based upon Emile Zola's 1867 novel Therese Raquin, anticipation was further heightened by the casting of Song Kang Ho in the lead role, one of the country's most popular and acclaimed actors, recently seen around the world in The Good, the Bad, the Weird and The Host.

Following a successful international theatrical run and a joint Jury Prize win at Cannes in 2009, the film now finally arrives on Korean DVD. This release should be of particular interest, since it includes both the Theatrical Cut, and a special extended version, which had previously screened at the Pusan film festival and which runs around 10-15 minutes longer.

The film sees Song taking on the complex role of a priest called Sang Hyun, whose desire to help the sick and suffering of the world leads him to volunteer himself for a medical experiment. Unfortunately, the virus he is injected with mutates, almost killing and then transforming him into a vampire, with superhuman powers and a dreadful thirst for blood. Although crowds of people believing him to have miraculous healing talents begin to gather at his church, Sang Hyun's behaviour becomes decidedly less than holy, as he embarks on an affair with Tae Ju (Kim Ok Bin, also in the crazed and colourful Dasepo Naughty Girls), the wife of his childhood friend Kang Woo (Shin Ha Kyun, excellent in the eccentric hitman drama No Mercy For the Rude).

Even at its most basic, the very idea behind Thirst is fascinating, seeing an Asian director trying his hand at one of the most famous Western myths. However, although the film does play upon the traditional trappings of vampire cinema, this is not to say that it is by any means straightforward, or indeed a horror outing at all. Instead, Park uses the central conceit to explore the darker recesses of the human psyche in his usual compelling and unflinching fashion, charting the priest's gradual descent into depravity. What makes the film such fascinating viewing is the way in which he not only engages, but also implicitly involves the viewer in the protagonist's degeneracy. Despite his condition and deeds, Sang Hyun remains an identifiably human and indeed sympathetic figure throughout, with his wickedness initially stemming from weakness and basic desire, and with his succumbing to temptation seeming only too natural and inevitable. Through this, Park debates the nature of good and evil, and the role of religion in human morality, in a surprisingly clever and subtle manner, and though the plot is engaging enough and reasonably unpredictable in its own right, the film is essentially one driven by its ideas and grander themes.

Song Kang Ho is excellent in the lead, and brings not only the sense of internal conflict necessary to make the role convincing, but also an air of effectively understated menace and violence. Kim Ok Bin's astonishing performance is if anything even more impressive, with her character arc taking her from put upon oddball to full on femme fatale, and indeed the film is arguably about Tae Ju as much as Sang Hyun. Her transformation is certainly no less startling, and she serves as a perfect counterpoint the tortured priest, showing at times wide eyed innocence, playfulness, and terrifying ruthlessness. As a result, their relationship is both convincing and oddly moving, charting as it does the tragedy of two repressed individuals struggling to cope with their new freedom. Perhaps surprisingly, the film is moving and even oddly romantic during its latter stages, all the more so for its absence of obvious moral judgements.

As ever, Park injects a fair amount of black humour into the proceedings, and this prevents the film from ever becoming heavy going, being frequently very amusing in places. A definite air of playful irony pervades almost every frame, though he refrains from taking too much mean spirited glee from the perversion of his protagonist's honest righteousness. Needless to say, this is accompanied by plenty of blood and violence, though Park weaves these into the film very effectively, and they complement its aims rather than being simply thrown in for shock value. There is also a fair amount of explicit sex and eroticism, more so than in the director's previous efforts, which again plays an important part in its character development and thematic journey.

The extended version of the film really does make a difference, with its added scenes further fleshing out Park's depiction of Sang Hyun's conflicts as his condition develops. Without wishing to add any spoilers, this helps to make sense of some of his behaviour during the latter stages of the film, in particular with regards to his elderly priest confessor figure. The extra footage similarly adds further nuances to the relationship between Sang Hyun and Tae Ju, accentuating the tension as their bond turns sour. Although the lack of any new sex or violence in these scenes, and the fact that they in effect make an already long film even longer may come as a disappointment for some, they do serve a very definite purpose, making the themes and characters even richer. The result is perhaps Park's best film yet, and arguably his most philosophical and thoughtful, even more so in this extended version. If I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK proved that as a director there was far more to his talents than violence and ghoulish plot twists, Thirst clearly shows that he is capable of substance as well as style. Boosted by superb turns by Song Kang Ho and Kim Ok Bin, in one of the best and most challenging performances from a Korean actress to date, the film is one which should certainly appeal to a wider audience than just fans of his earlier works of stylised brutality.

by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com

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 "Thirst (VCD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

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

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


May 2, 2010

This customer review refers to Thirst (DVD) (US Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Not your typical vampire flick Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
We are awash in books and movies about vampires, but "Thirst" carves out its own intriguing niche. Song Kang Ho stars as Sang Hyun, a Roman Catholic priest who seeks to do something more consequential with his life than the comfort he offers grieving people in his work in a hospital. He volunteers to be infected with an AIDS-like virus in hopes that he may assist in finding a cure to the deadly disease. The disease soon takes its toll on Sang Hyun and a last-minute transfusion apparently fails to prevent his death, when he springs back to life and renewed health. Unfortunately, in his 'resurrected' state, Father Sang Hyun has been reborn with superhuman powers and an unslakeable thirst for human blood.

Although now a vampire, Sang Hyun tries to hold onto the moral compass of his Christian faith. This leads him to find means of acquiring human blood that do not involve taking lives, but are no less shocking. Seeking a human connection, he is drawn to the family with whom he spent much of his youth, only to find himself attracted in a decidedly unpriestly way to Tae Ju (Kim Ok Bin), the maltreated wife of the family's son. The bond between the priest-with-a-dark-secret and the abused wife leads to some delightfully giddy moments and to some very graphic sex scenes. A fateful event puts Tae Ju at death's door and leaves Sang Hyun with only one means of saving her life; he must feed her some of his blood and turn her into a vampire. In doing so, Sang Hyun creates a monster. Tae Ju, lacking Sang Hyun's moral framework, lustily slices and dices people in a relentless quest for blood. Tae Ju's conscienceless behavior puts her at odds with Sang Hyun and leads to the film's beautifully satisfying conclusion.

In telling this chilling tale, director Park Chan Wook creates a convincingly ghastly nightmare world in which Sang Hyun's bloodlust seems relatively bland compared to the horrors of 'normal' people. Director Park succeeds in telling a moral tale clad in distinctly immoral trappings. Song Kang Ho brilliantly brings his conflicted priest to life and Kim Ok Bin fulfills the promise she showed as the woebegone girl in "Dasepo Naughty Girls". Given the movie's copious sex and gruesome violence, this is a film suitable only for adults. For those with strong stomachs, "Thirst" offers rewards well beyond the grasp of the recent spate of vampire movies.
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