Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 11th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 1999
Director: Chang-dong Lee
Writer: Chang-dong Lee
Cast: Yeo-jin Kim, Kyung-gu Sol, Jung Suh, So-ri Moon, In-kwon Kim, Seo-hie Ko, Dae-yeon Lee, Ji-Yeon Park, Se-beom Park, Yeon-su Yu
DVD released: April 26th, 2010
Approximate running time: 130 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean, Dolby Digital Stereo Korean
DVD Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £14.99
Synopsis: A man struggling with the choices that he has made over the last twenty years contemplates suicide.
Peppermint Candy was written and directed by Chang-dong Lee, whose other notable films include Oasis and Secret Sunshine. At the heart of Peppermint Candy is a story about a man named Yongho who has given up all hope after a series of misfortunes befall him. His wife left and his business partner embezzled all of his money. The final blow come when he sees his first love a woman named Sunim in a comatose state on the verge of death. The reasons why this reunion touches him so profoundly his are fully revealed in the film’s final act.
His plight is told in reverse with the film opening up with his suicide. Seeing the events which lead him to his final act of desperation is a unflinching journey that is equally bleak and heartbreaking. Not stone is left unturned as all the major events and people who where a part of his life are fully fleshed out.
While some may immediately be dismissive to the ploy of telling a story in reverse. Something which has become all too common in cinema of late. The way in which this film tells its story in reverse never feels contrived or done to be just gimmicky. If this film where told in a more linear way the story at hand would not be nearly as powerful.
From a production standout point the direction, the cinematography and the score, all excel in every way. Performance wise the entire cast are exceptional especially Kyung-gu Sol (Oasis), in the role of the film’s protagonist Yongho. What makes his performance all the more impressive is how he convincingly pulls off the various stages of his characters journey. Not to be overlooked are the performances from the two actresses So-ri Moon (Oasis) and Yeo-jin Kim (Uninvited), who portray the two women who play an integral part in the story of Yongho. Ultimately Peppermint Candy is an exceptional film about loss of innocence that is rich in symbolism and rooted in humanity.
Third Window Films presents Peppermint Candy in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a solid looking progressive flagged transfer that has strong black levels, healthy looking flesh tones, colors look nicely saturated and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement in kept in check.
This release comes with two audio options, Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean, and Dolby Digital Stereo Korean. Both audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. Also the differences range wise between each mix is minimal. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 59 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles) and a behind the scenes documentary titled “Making of Peppermint Candy” (47 minutes 37 seconds – 1.33:1 full frame, in Korean with English subtitles). The bulk of the ‘Making of’ documentary consists of behind the scenes footage from the film. There is also footage from various premiers for this film and comments from the cast and director. Overall Peppermint Candy gets a first rate DVD release from Third Window Films.