The Awakening (2011) – ★★★★☆

The Awakening is a smart, literate, old-fashioned ghost story.
The Awakening is a smart, literate, old-fashioned ghost story.
Rebecca Hall takes on the supernatural in The Awakening, a surprisingly effective, atmospheric ghost story set in England shortly after the first World War.

Hall plays Florence Cathcart, a professional skeptic who’s become famous for debunking supernatural phenomena and exposing charlatans in England in the wake of the war and the Influenza Epidemic. The film’s opening title—a quote from the fictional Florence—states “this is a time for ghosts.”

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A Tale of Two Sisters/장화, 홍련 (2003) – ★★★★☆

A Korean Gothic.

“A great work of art is like a dream; for all its apparent obviousness it does not explain itself and is always ambiguous.” — Carl Jung

A Tale of Two Sisters is a successful, popular horror film that came out in the early 2000s and was the first major South Korean contribution to the Asian horror movement.

The film, which was inspired by the ancient (oft-filmed) Korean folktale 장화, 홍련 (Janghwa, Hongryeon/”Rose Flower, Red Lotus”), transports the wicked stepmother, emotionally detached father, and the victimized sisters of the original tale to a contemporary Korean setting—and gives it a gothic twist.

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