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A Bittersweet Life (Dalkomhan insaeng)

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A Bittersweet Life (South Korea 2005)

Director: Kim Jee-woon (A Tale Of Two Sisters)

Cast: Lee Byung-Hun, Kim Yeong-cheol and Shin Mina

This Korean action thriller set a new record for the highest sale price when it was sold to japanese markets. A Bittersweet Life may turn out to be the best film to come out from Korea this year (alongside with Sympathy For Lady Vengeance).

Official site:

More info:

Trailer: <LINK_TEXT text=“ … JN05TVDK9F”></LINK_TEXT>

(this is different, longer version than the one on the official site. This link will work for a limited time only. PM me if you want it later)




Thanks for the hint. As there’ll be a big filmfestival in germany around August (Fantasy Filmfest), I’ll probably be watching that one. It has already been announced.

Hey, Alex I think we both will see this movie in Cologne, right?

Right now it’s a bit unclear which version will be released. Theatrical cut runs about 120 minutes, but the director doesn’t seem to be too happy with it. The dvd release will most likely include only the director’s cut version.

EDIT: It is the director’s cut version

DVD Info

Region 3 Korea

Studio: CJ Entertainment

Release date: July 20th 2005

Video Format: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Color, NTSC

Audio Format: dts-ES & Dolby Digital 5.1 EX & 2.0

Running Time : 120 Min

Number of discs: 2


Audio Commentary

La Dolce Vita

Making of 'A Bittersweet Life’

Style of ‘A Bittersweet Life’

Deleted and Alternate Scenes


’A Bittersweet Life’ in Cannes

Sweet Sleep


  • Digipac (first press only)


    Some people seem to be getting signed versions of the dvd.

I saw the theatrical cut of the film on a movie festival. It should be two minutes shorter, but I didn’t notice any scenes missing (maybe becouse this was my third movie in a row on that day). The only difference I noticed was the different music on the corridor scene at the end. Theatrical cut features a spaghetti western kind of music, that doesn’t really fit the scene. The whole scene is ruined by that music. Director’s cut has much better choice music, making the scene absolutely perfect (the coolest single scene I’ve seen this year).

The print I saw (with Tartan logo in the beginning, suggesting this as a British print) was pretty bad. A Bittersweet Life is visually one of the best looking films I’ve seen, but this was not the case with this print. I don’t know if the problem was just with this specific print, or whether all Tartan prints are this bad.

my friend cant stop talking about this film, he says its better than oldboy, i’ll check it out once released

i really want to see this. I held it in my hands but had to let it go because i have no money!!! I WANT IT!

Ahhh… I’ve already ordered this from DVDFromKorea and it has also reached Finland ;D

The first time I saw this movie was when I watched it with Hung Fist (as most, almost every single one of the movies i see). When it ended, I was stunned. He tried to ask me how it was, but i just stared at the tv screen… After a while I was able to say something like “magnificent”. After I got home I decided that this movie was definately a must get.

I still can’t believe how great this movie was. I mean, it’s a while ago since I saw it on a movie-festival, but just now, as I was browsing through the board, I came across this thread and suddenly it came all back, like a terrorizing flashback from too much LSD, but in a good way. It’s the kind of film you get addicted to, if you watch it too much. I mean, it’s entirely surface, a shiny, polished, slick surface with barely the hint of anything underneath than what you see, but yet it seems so complete and perfect, it’s unbelievable. “A Bittersweet Life” is more than just a Bloodshed-Drama, it’s a fucking piece of Art at it’s most entertaining form.

[i]Tartan Video has announced the release of A Bittersweet Life for the 24th of April, priced at around £19.99. The disc will featre an anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) transfer, both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio (along with optional Dolby 2.0), cast and crew interviews, Cannes Festival footage and a trailer. Furthermore, this will be the first release of the original Korean theatrical version with English subtitles.

  • <LINK_TEXT text=“ … life4.html”></LINK_TEXT>[/i]

    Too bad it’s the theatrical cut, which is vastly inferior to the Director’s Cut

[quote=“Hung Fist”]
Too bad it’s the theatrical cut, which is vastly inferior to the Director’s Cut

A few posts ago you wrote, that the only difference between those two cuts you noticed, was the different music in the corridor-scene. Now you even tell me that the theatrical cut is vastly inferior. I have seen “A bittersweet Life” on a festival, and I don’t remember the music in that scene, let alone which version they were showing, but is it really that bad to spoil the whole movie?

That is by far my favourite scene in the film, and it is totally ruined in the theatrical cut. Maybe “vastly” was a bad choise of word, but for me that one scene makes a huge difference. Personally I wouldn’t take the UK dvd even if I got it for free.

Another thing is that the theatrical Tartan print I saw was totally missing the stunning colours of the Korean dvd. It is very much possible that it was just a bad print. But it’s also possible that all Tartan prints are like this.

Okay, I’m still waiting for the german release becoming available for rental, and if it sucks, I will buy the Korean-2-Disc-version right away. But i think I heard that our company wanted to release the Director’s Cut-version of “A bittersweet Life” in the first place. :smiley:

I just got this on DVD (UK version) and absoloutely loved it! I heard that the difference between the Directors cut and theatrical was very minor and so I’m more than happy with the DVD I’ve got. I strongly recommend the film.

Yeah I liked this film alot

The thing about this film is that it was stlish, but wasn’t afraid to get up in ya head on certain scenes. I felt the way that he styled the whole film similar to Oldboy but not biting it because that would be pretty lame. Lee’s character was on point too, he tried to do what was best for Min-A and what he THOUGHT for his boss, but obviously that went terribly wrong.

The ending kinda had me :frowning: because I thought he was gonna team up with the dude who came in last, but I guess everyones wires were crossed. But as it is with Asian films, you fuck around and kill people, you always have to die @ the end, or at least take jail time

Man, there doesn’t seem to be A bittersweet life Australian release anywhere in sight. I should have bought the Korean version at Chinatown last time I went, but I foolishly didn’t.

I think EE has rights to it.

I hope so.

region 1? pleeeeeaaaaaase tell me that there is or will be a region 1 release, this looks amazing.

Surprisingly there doesn’t seem to be a R1 dvd. My guess would’ve been Tartan has it, but since there’s no release yet I’m starting to wonder if some other company bought the US rights.

Tartan’s UK disc is apparently region free, though.