Juhong geulshi (2004)


Juhong geulshi (2004)

A detective, his 3 girls & a murder case. Complex emotional relationships and human nature's darker sides are explored in this captivating suspense drama about a cop whose lust for love threatens to get in the way of his professional life.
South Korea
IMDb   6.5 /10
TheMovieDb    6.9 /10
FilmAffinity   5.5 /10
Director Hyuk Byun
Writer Ji-won Lee
Release Date2004-10-27
Runtime1h 55min
GenreDrama, Mystery, Thriller
Content RatingNot Rated (Not Rated)
AwardsAwards2 nominations
CompanyLJ Film
CountrySouth Korea
Ki-hoonas Ki-hoon
Ga-heeas Ga-hee
Kyeong-hieas Kyeong-hie
Su-hyeonas Su-hyeon
Jin-geun Kim
Jin-geun Kim
Myeong-shikas Myeong-shik
Detective Ahnas Detective Ahn
Hyun-Sook Jun
Hyun-Sook Jun
Owner of Mesa storeas Owner of Mesa store
Jung-ki Kim
Jung-ki Kim
Priestas Priest
Min-sung Kim
Min-sung Kim
Detective Joas Detective Jo

The Scarlet Letter (2004 film)

The Scarlet Letter is a 2004 South Korean erotic thriller film about a police detective who investigates a murder case while struggling to hang onto his relationships with his wife and mistress. It is the second film by La Femis-graduate and academic Byun Hyuk (Daniel H. Byun), and starred Han Suk-kyu, Lee Eun-ju, Sung Hyun-ah and Uhm Ji-won. The film debuted as the closing film of the Pusan International Film Festival in 2004. The film is based on novelist Kim Young-ha's short stories A Meditation On Mirror and Photo Shop Murder.

Despite Lee Eun-ju's prior experience with depicting sex and nudity in Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (2000), she came under the scrutiny of Korean press and netizens, for the highly emotional sex scenes and the notorious "trunk scene" in The Scarlet Letter which is regarded as "one of the most shocking and intense scenes in the history of Korean film." It is speculated her demanding role and its public scrutiny, had compounded and overlapped with an existing variety of family, financial, career, and insomnia issues. Her severe depression ended in suicide in February 2005, and the tragic conclusion has since become the central focus in popular perception and interpretation of the film, this particular one being her last.

Director Kim Ki-duk, no stranger to controversy over his own films, is quoted by Chinese film magazine "Movie Watch" (看電影) in singling out The Scarlet Letter as among the key Korean dramas from recent years. He subsequently cast Sung Hyun-ah, who rose to prominence with her role in The Scarlet Letter, as the heroine in his Time.

At the film's premiere in Japan, veteran actress Kumiko Akiyoshi praised the lead performances and likened the film to a landmark in erotic thrillers after Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction.


Lee Ki-hoon is an alpha male homicide detective; intelligent and with animal instincts. His wife, classical cellist Han Soo-hyun, is submissive and seemingly perfect. Meanwhile, he is carrying on a passionate affair with his mistress Choi Ga-hee, a sultry jazz singer at a nightclub. Ki-hoon lives a double life by moving back and forth between these two women, who also happen to be schoolmates from high school. One day Ki-hoon goes to a murder scene and there he meets Ji Kyung-hee, a woman accused of murdering her husband.


  • Han Suk-kyu – Lee Ki-hoon
  • Lee Eun-ju – Choi Ga-hee
  • Uhm Ji-won – Han Soo-hyun
  • Sung Hyun-ah – Ji Kyung-hee
  • Kim Jin-geun – Jung Myung-sik
  • Kim Min-sung – Detective Jo
  • Jung In-gi – Detective Ahn
  • Choi Kyu-hwan – Detective Choi
  • Kim Hye-jin – Oh Yeon-sim
  • Do Yong-gu – President Han
  • Seol Ji-yoon – Madam

Awards and nominations

  • Top Ten Films of the Year
  • Nomination – Best Actor – Han Suk-kyu
  • Nomination – Best Actress – Lee Eun-ju
  • Nomination – Best Supporting Actress – Uhm Ji-won
  • Nomination – Best Music – Lee Jae-jin
  • Nomination – Best Actress – Lee Eun-ju
  • Nomination – Best Actress – Lee Eun-ju
  • Nomination – Best Art Direction – Kim Ji-soo
  • Nomination – Best Costume Design – Jo Yun-mi