Revenge (1989) - full transcript

After their daughter is murdered, a couple raises a son to avenge her.

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Why does it always go
in that direction?

That is where the sea is, Sire.
The place that it comes from.

If even a creature such as
the lowly tortoise

has a purpose,

then what be the aim of man?

To what end must he exert
his utmost endeavour?

On this earth, us wretched men
have only one calling:

to loyally serve His Majesty.


Perhaps the heir to the throne
is training for battle?

Who is that child
fighting with the prince?

I will send him away at once,


There's no need, let them fight.
We shall stay and watch.

Minister of the Army!

Who is the bravest warrior
in the kingdom?

Chon Guk, Your Majesty.
The Head of the Palace Guards.

Bring him here now!

Here I am, Your Majesty.

I intend to make
a royal proclamation:

the Head of the Guards
is relieved of his duties.

I appoint him
as the heir apparent's tutor.

The tutor

must ensure that
by the age of 20 years

the prince has become
the strongest warrior in the kingdom.

To this end, he may do
whatever is deemed necessary.

Hence, he is not accountable
for the prince's life.

However, if in that given time

my will has not been fulfilled,

the heir apparent's tutor
will be put to death.


Enter this proclamation into
the royal register.

The deceased Chon Guk certainly
fulfilled his duty, it must be said.

The devil only knows
if others could endure

the cruelties I went through.

It's a miracle I didn't starve or
freeze to death: now I'm invincible!

You are my most beloved friend,

I love listening to your verse,
my dear poet.

My skill as a warrior
will always be at your disposal.

Majesty, the executioners are here
as you requested.

Let them begin!

Why is that man to be executed?

As a loyal soldier,

he duelled with the king,
but withheld his force.

Sire, why don't you grant him
your clemency?

When he knocked down Your Majesty,
he didn't lay his hand on you.

He behaved as a subject,
loyal to his lord, would.

They say you could have killed me.

If you wish to pit yourself
against me again, so be it.

No, Sire. I prefer to die like this.

Beat him to death!
That is his will.

Let's not bother ourselves
with such nonsense again.

The king's best friend
shall recite some poetry.

We will listen with pleasure.

Poems are not born from
the din of an execution.

I will send them away.

Go away from here!


What is it?
Does my poet need something else?

Only an act of justice, Your Majesty.

Injustice is not fertile soil
for poetry.

I have seen for some time that
my dearest friend is unhappy.

What troubles our exalted poet?

Sire, allow me to leave the palace.


My inspiration is being dried up
by your strength.

Let it be free,
before it disappears.

In the name of our friendship,
which has brought me great joy.

I beg you.

Let it be so. You may go.

You are free to leave
whenever you please.

But from this moment
you will never see me again.

I want to take refuge
in places that have no memory,

to return to a state of being
without knowledge,

like before entering this world.

I will soon reach at my aim,

I will happily go,
without turning back.

My soul regrets nothing.

My verses serve no use
in this world.

In vain, they have seen the light.
Completely in vain.

And so us poets busy ourselves
amongst men,

with our unattainable dreams.

200 years before Gutenberg,
books were printed in Korea.

The first professional poets
appeared in this land.


In a small Korean village...

Open up!

Hey! Open UP!

Open up!

Take this.

Master Jan,
you must find another place.

We're not going to feed you anymore.

I went to the city.
I had to buy some clothes.

That's none of our business.

It's cold.
Let me in for the night.

- I'll go somewhere else tomorrow.
- You'll leave this very day.


Call Caj. I want to talk
to the master of the house.

It's him that doesn't want you here.
Now go.

Quick, go into the house.


- Mu.
- Mu.

- Mu.
- Mu.


Silence! Keep quiet!

Repeat after me. "Meh".



- Meh.
- Meh. Meh.

Silence! I'm fed up teaching you lot.

You're a bunch
of useless dunces.



- Ma.
- Ma.

Silence! Keep quiet.

Read and repeat.

You, Caj's daughter.
Useless, just like the others.

An only child, it figures!
What have you studied...

Your father forbade me
from punishing you. But that...

They've killed my daughter.

My little girl is dead.

My little girl!

They killed my daughter.






That day they saw Jan
on board of a junk

heading towards
the Chinese coast.


A horrendous crime.

After a murder like this,

we will never be at peace
on this earth.

We must have revenge.

Or the sky will turn on us,
like vile beasts,

not even worthy of existing.

Will you rent my land
for 10 years, Mr Gu?

I'll ask you for half of the harvest.

In 10 years you will earn
three times as much.

Yes, I will do as you ask.
But on one condition:

I will rent the land
for 11 years, not 10.

And I will give you half
of the sum in bonds,

which you can cash in China.

You intend to go there, don't you?

I headed for China to look for Jan.

China is a vast land,

it's not easy to find someone there.

For many years
I travelled from town to town,

until I heard that Jan might
be in the silver mines.

And so I followed his trail.

For too long,
I chased him all over China

in a hurry to have my vengeance.

Leave here,
this is no place for a lady.

I'm sorry,
have you any shoes to give me?

Mine fell apart on the road,
I have come a long way.

That woman appeared from nowhere,

preventing me from concentrating.

I needed to be thinking clearly
when I gained my vengeance.

I will wash your feet
and bandage your wounds.

Thank you.

Wear these.

They're mine,
they will be useful.

Thank you.

Sir, you won't be able to do
what you have in mind.

I have become weak.

Nevertheless, I must kill him.

Man must not commit murder.

Please sir, come with me.

Come with me,
I will save your life.

You have won,

but your meddling
will have been in vain.

Why have you come back
if you haven't taken revenge?

Take a concubine.

We will find you a peasant girl,
or a young widow,

who can give you a son.

Are you listening?

Are you listening to me?

Soon enough,
Caj took a young concubine.

A mute girl,
the daughter of a poor widow.


It's not yet dark,
but she's getting sleepy.

My Nemaja goes to bed early
and rises before everyone else,

and when she sleeps
it's impossible to awaken her.

There are a lot more hedgehogs now.

They make a noise like a hare,

or a duckling.

Who would have thought?

Don't get angry with her.

She's simple.

Like a child,
she doesn't understand.

But she works
without sparing herself.

And she will surely give you a son.


have you composed new verses?

Yes, sir.

Answer me this:

if you had never come across
a white lily

and you suddenly saw one,

does it mean that the lily
did not exist before that moment?

No, it existed.

And if you composed
a wonderful poem,

which no one before you
had ever thought of,

does it mean that it did not
previously exist?

Answer me this:

do poems live their own
independent lives,

like flowers or butterflies,

like waterfalls and trees?

Or in order for a new poem
to be born,

is the endeavour
of an extraordinary person required?

It's like that, sir.

Well then,
look after yourself, my boy.

As because of you, the world
is fated to receive unique poems.

And your name
will earn great honour.

Sungu, is your mother
missing you already?

As soon as she brings me here
she starts to miss me.

Maybe she feels cold
and wants to come in to warm herself?

No, sir.
The cold doesn't bother her.

She just misses me,
I know well that's what it is.


Go and call your son.

My son,

you have come to this world for only
one reason: revenge.

Until our justice is served,

you won't have a wife or children,

or feel joy or sorrow.

You must avenge us.

Otherwise, you will not
have fulfilled your destiny.

Promise me before I die,

that you will do this?

Yes, father.

One year passed
from the time of Caj's death.

The revenge had waited
for a quarter of a century.

Hey, little monk!
Tell me something:

is this still
the eminent Caj's house?

Yes, this is Caj's house.

Then go and call
someone from his family.

You can talk with me.
I am his son.

His son?

How can that be?

Caj has a son?

Yes, I am his second wife's child.

My mother's name is Nemaja.

I see.

Jan! It's you!

What are you shouting for,
old woman?

Go call your husband. Go!
I've come of my own free will.

It's been 25 years.
I've prayed all my life.

And you're still alive! Why?

I heard that your husband had died!

Sungu, look at him well.
Remember his face.

You must take our revenge on him.

Kill him with a sickle.

You must cut him down,
as he cut down my daughter.

Many years earlier when
she was still a young girl,

a wandering monk
arrived at her door.


There's no one here, they're at sea.
The fish have arrived.

Can I spend the night
on the cart in the yard?


If you want,
you can come with me.

I will lead you to
my master's mountain.

He will cure you.

What about my family?

They are destined to lose you anyway.

You are soon going to die.

One can't stop the passage of time.

But if you come with me,
you will live.


you must know that life
won't be yours to do as you please.

You will have to serve others.


you will have to choose
the worst kind of man,

and marry him.

Did you hear?
He has a son. A son!

He's small, but he will grow.
He will become strong,

as I become older and weaker.

They won't be able to take revenge
on you. You can live in peace.

- How do you know?
- I know.

How would you know?
Idiot, you're empty-headed!

You think you know everything.

You cure people but don't ask
for any money, you're useless.

If you could at least
give me a son!

- We won't have any children.
- And you know this too!

We won't bring any children
to this world, so no one will die.

I will atone for your sins.
I know everything about this world.

I know every bird,
every river, every mountain.

What stupidity!
You're a millstone around my neck.

- I was sent to you.
- Who sent you? Who?

Those who live in isolation,
and rule from afar.

Those who until now
have prevented man from perishing.

Another 10 years passed...

In this world,
where each is given a painful death,

I act on God's behalf.

I am like a guardian of men, seated
on the threshold of another world,

which they enter soon after death.

But I am alone on this road
and I have never met God.

Did you recognise me?

Yes, venerable Master.

Sungu, do you still
write poetry like before?

No, I have forgotten how.
I don't know how to anymore.

Man is like a flute
on which one plays a melody.

Some verses
you composed as a child say that.

There is no truth to be found
hidden in the word "I".

There is, venerable Master.
I am here, we are both here.

Two passing illusions,

two shadows,
cherished by no one's memory.

Yet here we are, venerable Master,
soaked like two wet rags in the rain.

But we're not two wet rags, my son,

rather two indistinct beings,

who roam uncertain paths,
halfway between the Yin and the Yang.

Which path is given
to those who die as children?

To the leaves that fall
as soon as summer begins?

To the mice that accidentally
drown in a pail?

For them,
there wasn't any path to follow.

They went out along their way
one morning,

when suddenly sleep caught them
unawares, and as they slept

the waters that lap
against the kingdom of earthly life

pushed them back
to the start of the eternal cycle.

A different path has been reserved
for you and I,

that of the poet,

and that of the wandering monk.

If a child's head is cut off,

what good are the laws of Heaven?

Only revenge remains.
It is the only law.

Sungu found a job in Sakhalin,

and left Korea with his mother
at the beginning of August 1945.


Leska, enough working!

I'm finished now.

Vysokij Nemoj!
Where are you going to?

Take the oar...
Hey, Vysokij Nemoj!

Take the oar and move the boat
further away along the bank.


What does it mean?

Nemoj caught it across the river.

With a net, I think.

In Korea they give a goose
when you get married.

When you get engaged,
or for the wedding?

You take it, so you can get married.

- Are you going to the inn tonight?
- Yes, and you?


But you go, Leska.
Ljuba will be waiting for you.

She wasn't there last night.

I went to her place, she had been
sitting in the same place for hours.


All she said was, "Hi, Leska."

You should marry her.

I wouldn't be against the idea.

Hey, you!


Hey, tell me something.
Do you work at the sawmill?

- Elza!
- Coming, one second.

Listen, can you get me some wood?

Do me a favour and bring me some
planks from the sawmill.

Can you?


Whenever you like.

I'm building a house.

I have to plaster it,
but it's impossible to find planks.

I could plaster it,
and put up the slates was well.

- And whitewash it.
- Sure.

It's a deal, the job is yours.

In exchange, I'll let you eat
for free in the canteen.

No, there's no need.

Don't you want to?

So what do you want?

I'll come tomorrow after work.


Yes, coming.

Where did you learn that?

You know how to do everything.

I'm a worker.

Like me.

Let's go and celebrate the new house.

It doesn't matter
if you're not Russian.

Neither am I.

If only you knew...

the things that I've been through.

I have been to so many places!

I'm Romanian, you know?

I have no one here.

I'm alone in the world.

My brother lived in Gomel.

He played in an orchestra.
He became an alcoholic.

I have been to China.



Then I decided to stay here.

Enough travelling.

I don't plan on moving from here.

I'm tired of roaming the world.

I'm not that young anymore.

I'd like to have children.

what meaning will my life have?

He fell ill of the same disease
that his father had died from...


Mum! Mum!


Will you sing me a song?
Please mum, sing.

- Not here.
- Why not? Please sing.

Don't blame me, my friend

If I love him so much

Believe me, it pains me

To live without him

And I don't know...

Mother, forgive me.

I know living here
was dreadful for you.

Maybe you knew you would die here.

Plead with my father's soul
on my behalf,

so he won't be angry with me.

Tell him I haven't forgotten
my duty. Not at all.

The man I must take revenge on
lives near here.

I am going to him now.

Make your way to the door please.
We're stopping for one minute.

Look, empty seats.
Let's sit there.

Don't push.
Let's go by the window.



You won't find him without me.
I'm here to help you.

Do you know where Master Jan lives?

Yes, in that house.
You're already here.

You look like my sister.

Yes, it's me.

How is it possible?

Go inside, he lives here.

I have seen this handsome
young man someplace before.

I am Caj Sungu!
Where is the murderer? Where is Jan?

- Caj Sungu!
- Do not fear, there's no reason.

Apple... Grass...

The apple fell in the grass...
Who put me here?

I must be really sick, mother.

That's me lying there,
still in my swaddling clothes.

I'm hungry and I start to cry.

But mother cannot hear me.
I cry in vain.

Did you understand what I wrote?

Can't you read?

I wrote that the snow
falls from the sky

and settles on the earth.

So who does it belong to,
the earth or the sky?

Nice, isn't it? Do you like it?

Thank you for giving me my son.

he shall also be your son.

Caj Sungu, I waited for you
for a long time.

I knew that you would fall ill,

and that I alone
would have been able to cure you.

I would not have been able
to raise you up, Caj Sungu,

but your rejection of death helped me.

If a sick person submits to death,
drops his head in front of death,

it becomes impossible
to put a hand behind his neck

and raise him from the pillow.

But it was never going to be
difficult for me to raise you up.

When you arrived,
with that sickle in your hand,

I thought:
"The avenger has come,

"the one Jan waited for all his life,
with fear."

But Jan is already dead.
He died one year ago.

He disappeared
as if he had never existed.

How did he die?

He drank to overcome his fear.

Last autumn,

when the gales from the sea arrived,
so too did his end.

You little brats, let me be!


Let it be that I am your son.


What does it mean?

And so it came to pass that
the revenge was carried out.

Tell me, sister Cen,

why does Heaven give children to man?

To give him great joy, I suppose.

You are mistaken.

It is to further entangle us
in the net of destiny.

No, in order to let love
triumph on earth.

Love, I had forgotten about that.

Like us, love took off its shoes
and fled to the mountains.

Here is where our love is, sister.

Do you know what I feared most
in all my life?


The sea.

Just that, the sea.

More than anything,
I feared drowning in the sea.

It's not for nothing they called me
the "Bride of the Sea".

What are you doing, sister?

I'm tired of everything.
I want to leave this place.

Where will you go?

Anywhere, by steamship.

I don't fear anything anymore.

You can come too, if you want.

What would I do by myself?
I'm coming too.

Look, the birds
are fleeing from the fire.

But they haven't been burnt.

It's only the red of the dawn sky.