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A Tale of Two Sisters: Overview, Cast, 3 Fun Facts & More

Overview of A Tale of Two Sisters

‘A Tale of Two Sisters’, directed by Kim Jee-woon, is a psychological horror thriller released on 13 June 2003.

The movie focuses on the eldest child of the family named Su-mi. She is suffering from split personality disorder. Also, most of the time, she hallucinates the presence of her late younger sister. The film features Yum Jung-ah, Kim Kap-soo, Moon Geun-young, and Im Soo-jung. Im Soo-jung and Moon Geun-young play the roles of Bae Su-mi and Bae Su-yeon respectively.

Profile

  • Name: A Tale of Two Sisters
  • Genre: Thriller, Horror
  • Starring: Im Soo-jung, Yum Jung-ah, Kim Kap-soo, Moon Geun-young
  • Directed by: Kim Jee-woon
  • Produced by: Oh Jeong-wan, Oh Ki-min
  • Written by: Kim Jee-woon
  • Distributed by: Cineclick Asia, Big Blue Film
  • Edited by: Ko Im-pyo
  • Cinematography: Lee Mo-gae
  • Music by: Lee Byung-woo
  • Production Company: B.O.M. Film Productions Co.
  • Running time: 114 minutes
  • Release date: 13 June 2003
  • Language: Korean
  • Country: South Korea
Kdramalive a still from "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003).
A still from “A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003). Credit: Pinterest

Cast

  • Im Soo-jung as Bae Su-mi
  • Moon Geun-young as Bae Su-yeon
  • Kim Kap-soo as Bae Moo-hyeon
  • Yum Jung-ah as Heo Eun-joo
  • Lee Dae-yeon as Su-mi’s doctor
  • Lee Seung-bi as Mi-hee sister in law of Eun-joo
  • Park Mi-hyun as Mrs Bae mother of Su-mi’s and Su-yeon and first wife of Moo-hyeon
  • Woo Ki-hong as Sun-kyu brother of Eun-joo

Synopsis

Su-mi is a young girl who was staying in a mental hospital to treat her psychosis. She is emotionally attached to Su-yeon, her younger sister. After treatment, Su-mi returns to live with her family in their estate. Her stepmother, Eun-joo, welcomes her home. Eun-joo has a sexless marital relationship with Su-mi’s father. Eun-joo was an in-home nurse to help Su-mi’s ill mother.

After reuniting with her loving sister, Su-mi discovers injury marks on Su-yeon’s hand. She questions Eun-joo about the injury marks on her sister’s hand. However, Eun-joo refuses to apologise for harming Su-yeon.

At night, Su-mi’s uncle and aunty visit their house. While talking, Eun-joo threatens them by telling weird stories. Later, the aunt feels sick in the estate house and sees the ghost of a child. Eun-joo goes to check under the kitchen sink, where her aunt saw the ghost.

Kdramalive a still from "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003).
A still from “A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003). Credit: Pinterest

Eun-joo suspects Su-mi and Su-yeon for killing her pet bird and disfiguring her photographs. She becomes rude to Su-mi and Su-yeon after that incident. Later she locks Su-yeon in a room as punishment. To end the abuse of her stepmother, Su-mi complains about Eun-joo to her father. Instead of cross-checking the actions of Eun-joo, her father tells her to accept the death of Su-yeon. However, Su-mi still gets the feeling that her sister is in danger and is asking for help.

One morning, Su-mi sees Eun-joo dragging a bloodied sack in the house and doubts it has Su-yeon’s body inside. She starts a fight with Eun-joo to rescue her sister. As a result of the fight, Su-mi faints in the end.

The truth of the story and the severity of Su-mi’s mental state is only revealed when her father returns home and finds the fainted Su-mi. For the entire time, Su-mi and her father were the only people in the house. It is due to the split personality disorder of Su-mi that she feels the presence of her long-dead sister. The rude version of Eun-joo is also the result of Su-mi’s split personality disorder.

Seeing the condition of Su-mi, her father and Eun-joo sent her back to the mental asylum. However, Eun-joo tries to get friendly with Su-mi by assuring a frequent visit. But at night, Su-yeon’s ghost haunts Eun-joo and eventually kills her.

After the death of Eun-joo, the light is thrown into the flashback. Su-mi’s father and Eun-joo were in an illicit relationship before the death of their biological mother. The entire family is upset because of this news, and their heartbroken mother commits suicide in Su-yeon’s room. Su-yeon dies in the attempt to rescue her mother.

Kdramalive a still from "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003).
A still from “A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003). Credit: Pinterest

Su-mi restricts the interference of Eun-joo in their family matters. Therefore, an angry Eun-joo holds back from helping the dying Su-yeon.

Theme

‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ talks about the mental condition of a child suffering from split personality disorder and psychosis. Su-mi, the elder child is trying to get rid of the guilt consciousness caused due to the death of her biological mother and younger sister. She accuses her stepmother for ruining her family and hallucinates a rude version of her stepmother abusing her and her sister.

Furthermore, horror is another theme which lingers from the beginning to the end of the film. Though it reveals that most of the events are the hallucinations of Su-mi, the ghostly feeling and the horror it creates is outstanding.

Awards

  • Screamfest Horror Film Festival 2003
    Best Picture
    Best Actress – Im Soo-jung
  • Korean Film Awards 2003
    Best New Actress – Im Soo-jung
    Best Art Direction – Park Hee-jeong
    Best Sound – Choi Tae-young
  • Busan Film Critics Awards 2003
    Best New Actress – Im Soo-jung
    Best Cinematography – Lee Mo-gae
    Special Jury Prize – Kim Jee-woon
  • Director’s Cut Awards 2003
    Best Actress – Yum Jung-ah
    Best New Actress – Im Soo-jung
  • Blue Dragon Film Awards 2003
    Best New Actress – Im Soo-jung
    Nomination – Best New Actress – Moon Geun-young
  • Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2004
    Silver Raven – Yum Jung-ah
  • Fantasia Festival 2004
    Most Popular Film – A Tale of Two Sisters
  • Gerardmer Film Festival 2004
    Grand Prize
    Prix 13eme Rue
    Youth Jury Grand Prize
  • Fantasporto Film Festival 2004
    International Fantasy Film Best Actress – Im Soo-jung
    International Fantasy Film Best Director – Kim Jee-woon
    International Fantasy Film Best Film
    Orient Express Section Special Jury Award
Kdramalive image of Im Soo-jung and Moon Geun-young in "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003).
Im Soo-jung as Bae Su-mi and Moon Geun-young as Bae Su-yeon in “A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003). Credit: Google

Interesting Facts about A Tale of Two Sisters

  1. ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is developed from the Korean folktale ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’.
  2. Besides ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’, the folktale ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’ has also inspired movies like ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’ (1924), ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’ (1936), ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’ (1956)’, ‘The Story of Jang-hwa and Hong-ryeon’ (1962), ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’ (1972).
  3. ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ has been remade into the 2009 American psychological horror movie ‘The Uninvited’ directed by the Guard Brothers.

FAQs

  1. Who is the director of ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’? 
    Kim Jee-woon is the director of ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’.
  2. When is the movie ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ released?
    ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ was released on 13 June 2003.
  3. What is the Instagram ID of Im Soo-jung?
    @hellopapa11.
  4. Name of the Korean folktale which inspired the film ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’?
    ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is inspired from the folktale ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’.
  5. What is the Instagram ID of Moon Geun-young?
    @Moon Geun-young.

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