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the hk dvd is avaiable in chinatown, nyc for $6...i just bought it but didn't get to watch it yet...now i can't wait...


Let me know what you think of it.


is good....your review is perfect: strong performances and unusual storytelling prevented this from being a simple tearjerker but a very touching story


About Choi Min-Shik

It was 1989 that I first saw him on big screen.
It's his debut film 'Kuro Arirang'.
This film is also many other people's first film.
Director: Park Jong-Won (Our Twisted Hero, Rainbow Trout)
Actor/Actress: Choi Min-Shik, Ohk So-Ri,
Shin Eun-Kyung (My Wife is the Gangster)
Yoon Ji-Hyo (she quit her actress career later
and went to Hollywood to learn 'special make-up'.
She contributed to the development of Korean
horror films and thriller films)

Later he got stardom by his role of 'Coussion
(French word for little pig?)' in TV series
'25th hour of Ambition'.

Choi got a role of teacher at Park's second film,
'Our Twisted Hero' in 1991, I guess.

In 1992, TV series 'Moon of Seoul', he met
Han Suk-kyu, the great star of Shiri.
In that time, they were not big stars.

From 1992 to 1997, Choi was in a slump and
focused on his theatrical acting career.

It was 'No3.' (1997) that brought him back
to Korean film industry.

By 'No.3', the launching film of Korean gangster
comedy, one of great intelligent social satires and exciting chaotic comedy, Choi and other
brilliant actor get audience's attention.
The other brilliant actor is Song Kang-Ho.

'No.3' is one of the most underrated but
significat film in Korean film history.

Director: Song Neung-Han (Fin de Ciecle)
He wrote many other screenplays for other new
wave directors
Han Suk-Kyu
Lee Mi-Yeon (Whisperring Corridor, Last Witness)
Choi Min-Shik
Song Kang-Ho (Sympathty for Mr. Vengeance, JSA,
Memories of Murder)
Park Kwang-Jung (Iron Palm)
He is a Korean answer to John Turturo and Steve Buscemi.
Bang Eun-Hee (The Pig that fell into the Well,
The Son of General)
Ahn Suk-Hwan (The Road Taken, Tell Me Something)
Park Sang-Myun (My Wife is the Gangster, Just Do It)

Han-Choi-Song Trio's next project brought Korean
film on top of any Asian films and turned many
people into Korean film - 'Shiri' (1998).


I love Failan. It's so sweet! And who doesn't like Min-sik Choi? I happen to also like Ceci quite a bit. But I really think the second half of the movie is better for me than the first half.

*possible spoilers*
I don't follow the first half as well because I don't really believe she's in love with him. It's a tough story to pull off. *all done*

Nonetheless, this film has been sitting in my 'to watch again' pile of DVDs for a while, this reminder might be just what it needed to actually make it back in the DVD player.


Filmbrain, you are often given to hyperbole to the point of hysterics (witness your bizarre contention that the mediocre Million Dollar Baby was suffused with nasty anti-poor messages).

But for once I agree with one of your swoons. Can't say enough good about Choi Min-shik. He is hands down the best actor working in Korea (where he is underappreciated) and deserves mention in any discussion of the best film actors on the planet.

He flat out stole Shiri, a film that transformed Korean cinema the way Star Wars did Hollywood in the 1970s. Shiri made millions domestically and showed Koreans with money that investing in Korean movies was not just for gangsters and con men.

Any movie with Choi is worth seeing just as any movie with Brando is worth seeing. But Failan is a flawed movie despite Choi's virtuosity. Go see it, yes. But let's not get carried away. The film was a brilliant character study with no story. Cecillia Chung did not belong in this movie. Her presence was a cheap trick by Korean money men to make money in Chinese markets.

Korean screenwriters fall down every time they write a foreign character. This movie is no exception. Chung's character is not a Chinese woman. She is the idea of a Chinese woman as conceived by a Korean man who has never had more than a five minute conversation with a Chinese woman. Chinese speaking audiences saw right through this and the movie flopped in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Bejing, not to mention Seoul.

Again, not to say this is a film without merit. But it is a flawed movie.

Filmbrain, you can be brutal when attacking a Hollywood movie. Good for you. But whenever you see a Korean movie you become a gushing groupie. This is not respectful. It is patronizing and insulting. Koreans deserve better.


Pingae -

I choose the Korean films I see quite carefully, and in most cases I do really like them (for one reason or another). However, I will give a negative review when it fits. My reviews of Untold Scandal and The Classic can hardly be called gushing.


though the title is female character's name, the story
is a male's story - how he is saved.
Woman's purity and innocence sometimes
are related to man's sexual desire and in this case
the story is the process of woman's victimization.
But Failan is taking different itinerary - Faust and
Gretchen type salvation story.

The original novel is Asada Jiro's
novel and it is adapted to Korean version.
some recent Korean films that are adapted from
Japanese novels are 'Singles' and 'Oldboy'.

Without Choi's performance, this film would be
a mediocre snetimental tearjerker. Choi almost
saved the film.

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