"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is Released

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is a 2005 South Korean film by director Park Chan-wook.

Its original Korean title is Chinjeolhan geumjassi, which translated literally means "Kind-Hearted Ms. Geum-Ja". In the UK and North America, the film has been screened under the title Lady Vengeance. The film is the third installment in Park's The Vengeance Trilogy, following Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Oldboy (2003). It stars Lee Young Ae as Lee Geum-ja, a woman released from prison after serving the sentence for a murder she did not commit. The film tells her story of revenge as she seeks out the real murderer.

The film debuted on July 29, 2005 in South Korea, and competed for the Golden Lion at the 62nd Venice International Film Festival in September 2005. While it failed to win in competition, it did walk away with Cinema of The Future, the Young Lion Award and the Best Innovated Film Award in the non-competition section. The film had its U.S. premiere on September 30, 2005 at the New York Film Festival. It began its limited release in North American theatres on May 5, 2006.

How polarizing is Korean art-house provocateur Park Chanwook, whose genre taste for extreme violence is matched by an extreme talent for genre elegance shocking in its beauty? So much so that I'm split right down the middle myself. I was repelled by the lavish perversity of Old Boy, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004. And yet I'm nervously enraptured by Lady Vengeance, which concludes a trilogy that Park began with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (made in 2001, before Old Boy, but released here afterward). Misdeed besotted with violence is still the filmmaker's action of choice, and exquisite compositional audacity is still his thing. But the third movie is also suffused with a stirring sadness missing from the other two, as the maturing filmmaker considers the moral toll taken on the avenger — even the avenger of a crime as horrific as the kidnap and murder of a child.