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Issue #125 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES September 16th, 2002

(1999; CK Pictures/Se Eum Media)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Kim Hee-sun. Image courtesy Modern.

Three years after the death of Ji-hee (BICHUNMOO's Kim Hee-sun), a flower shop worker he had fallen for, Kim Sun-woo (SO CLOSE's Song Seung-heon, who resembles Tony Leung Chiu-wai) wishes that he could go back in time and save her life. Shortly afterwards, the elevator he is riding in experiences a mechanical malfunction and stops. When Sun-woo finally manages to get out, he discovers that he has somehow emerged back in 1995 and now has the
chance to alter past events. While trying to locate Ji-hee, Sun-woo is aided by her co-worker, Yun Su-jin (Kim Hyun-joo; click here for still), who obligingly drives him around the city. Connecting with his love turns out to be a much more difficult task than Sun-woo expected, so he decides to track down Chong Min-wuk, the man destined to kill her. He turns out to be a deranged drug dealer and Sun-woo's rash attempts to stop Chong prove futile.

In spite of its fantasy-oriented premise, the first half of CALLA (a type of lily that figures into the story) makes it seem to be yet another unadventurous and prosaic romantic drama content to coast along on the strength of its highly attractive stars. However, the film then reiterates these earlier events from a different character's perspective, which considerably alter their significance to both Sun-woo and the viewer. This is not a new approach by any means but director Song Hae-seong makes it work one more time by drawing sincere performances from his leads (Kim Hyun-joo is especially appealing and believable) and not allowing the proceedings to become overly mawkish. There are a few problems along the way (the police are conveniently incompetent, leaving Sun-woo a free man after flagrantly breaking the law) but this is a largely satisfying effort that slightly transcends its genre.

Cover art courtesy Modern.

Song Seung-heon. Image courtesy Modern.
Modern #VED19003 (Hong Kong label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Sync Sound Korean Language

Optional Subtitles in English and Traditional Chinese

6 Chapters

Fullscreen (cropped from 1.66:1 or 1.85:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

98 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains mild violence and language, and brief drug use

DVD menu courtesy Modern.

South Korea: G


Unfortunately, this is a very poorly produced DVD. The cropped picture is soft, and becomes both fuzzy and grainy at times. The digital compression has been done on auto pilot, sitting at about 50% and rarely budging. A further problem is the English subtitles. While the Chinese ones are the usual comfortable size, their English counterparts are presented in a very small, thin font that is a strain on the eyes. Only six chapters are provided, with no menu illustration or titles, and the menu highlighting is so indistinct, it is difficult to tell which option you have selected. The only way to switch between the English and Chinese subtitles is through the button on your remote. As with some other Modern discs, there is a pause part way through the presentation, despite the fact that this is not a dual layer release. There is also nothing in the way of extras, save for three postcards sized pictures of the stars with their filmographies on the back in Chinese. Colors are generally deep and the audio is okay, adequately delivering the various Western songs heard on the soundtrack.

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