Another Wardrobe

A striking and thought-provoking coincidence. A DVD that I had recently ordered arrived in yesterday’s post, A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), a film I’d not previously seen and which I watched last night. From the very beginning, this Korean psychological thriller builds and sustains (almost unbearably at times) a high level of tension and suspense, with its terror very much understated. The story of the two girls (based upon a Korean folktale, Jangwha Hongryeon-jeon) moves between realms of reality, psychosis, and the supernatural towards an unravelling of suppressed memory and painful loss, leading to the events that had caused the house to which they have returned to be haunted. What made this genuinely uncanny and beautifully poignant film even more affecting for me was the pivotal role played by a wardrobe – in which one of the sisters, Su-ywon, is locked as a punishment – as an embodiment of childhood fear and from which baleful memories might return to claim us. The wardrobe in the film is not, however, dark and menacing, like the one in my dream, but  duck-egg blue in colour and decorated with floral motifs, though no less disturbing.

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