[PICK] Every Music in Director Park Chan Wook’s Movies Has a Reason

Edited by Alex
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

If you look at the original soundtrack of a movie, you can often see that the title of the song reveals a twist or foreshadow of the movie. One of the best examples is A Tale of Two Sisters OST “Epilogue (Irrevocable Steps).”

Soo Mi can’t stand the existence of Eun Joo, who seems to have taken over her sick mother’s place. Soo Mi does her best to show her hostility towards Eun Joo. So was the day she met Eun Joo, who was stepping out of her sister, Soo Yeon’s room. Standing in front of the stairs, Eun Joo says to Soo Mi, who is coming out of the room.

“Didn’t you hear anything?”

“Why did you come up here? Isn’t the master bedroom on the first floor? Now you’re even trying to play our mother.”

Soo Mi retorts at Eun Joo to step aside. Eun Joo’s eyes, which were filled with anxiety, are now shaken with insults.

“You may regret this moment forever. Keep that in mind.”

“What’s worse than standing here with you?”

Credit: Chungeorahm Film

In the scene where Soo Mi leaves the house, 14th track “Epilogue (Irrevocable Steps)” flows out.

What Eun Joo warned was her sister’s death. The most important story of the movie is already hidden in the background music of the scene where Soo Mi hastens her “irrevocable steps” into the reed field, leaving her younger sister Soo Yeon to be crushed by the closet.

Like this, Park Cha Wook’s movies are also an excellent example of movies’ stories hidden in the OST’s title.


Thirst Track 22 “Happy Birthday”

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Sang Hyun, a vampire and a priest, meets Tae Ju, the wife of his old friend Kang Woo. The two, attracted to each other, succeed in killing Kang Woo, but the lies hidden in the process are revealed, and Sang Hyun kills Tae Ju.

The 22nd track “Happy Birthday” flows in the scene where Sang Hyun squeezes his own blood to revive Tae Ju. “Happy Birthday,” which is played from the moment Tae Ju’s neck is dislocated to the moment she comes back to life and covets blood, indicates that the death and birth are synonymous to the vampire.


Sympathy for Lady Vengeance Track 14 “Crime & Punishment”

Credit: Moho Film

At an old school, a middle-aged couple, a young woman, and old men are gathered to discuss the perfect way to kill a person. Geum Ja organizes their thoughts and decides on how to kill the man, and their conversations are broadcast live somewhere on a microphone. The screen moves along the microphone line, and finally shows Baek tied to a chair, waiting for punishment. The 14th track “Crime & Punishment” flows over this scene. The title well expresses the moment when another crime is being committed to punish the sin.


Old Boy Track 22 “Farewell, My Lovely”

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Woo Jin finally reveals the truth and ends his revenge. Leaving behind the screaming Dae Soo, Woo Jin gets on an elevator and recalls the last memory with his older sister. In the scene were Woo Jin cries as he’s holding Soo Ah’s hand who is hanging from the dam railing, the 22nd track “Farewell, My Lovely” flows out. The song perfectly captures the moment when Woo Jin’s revenge begins with the farewell of the older sister, who asks him to remember her forever.


The Handmaiden Track 18 “Wedding”

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Hideko and Sook Hee, who started off as an ill-fated relationship but became the savior of each other, finally run away from the mansion. As the two run across the field, the 18th track “Wedding” comes out. In fact, the song was already used in the wedding scene of Hideko and Count Fujiwara in Part 1. However, wouldn’t the field sequence in Part 2, in which Hideko and Sook Hee greet true freedom after sharing the truth, be the real “wedding” scene?

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