Revenge (1989 film)

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Revenge (aka. The Reed Flute)
Directed byErmek Shinarbaev
Produced byHabibur Rahman Khan
Written byAnatoli Kim
StarringAleksandr Pan
Oleg Li
Valentin Te
Lubove Germanova
Music byVladislav Shut
CinematographySergei Kosmanev
Edited byPolina Shtain
Release date
  • 1989 (1989)
Running time
99 minutes
CountrySoviet Union

Revenge (Russian: Месть; Mest, literally "Revenge", also known as The Reed Flute) is a 1989 Soviet drama film directed by Ermek Shinarbaev and written by Anatoli Kim. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.[1] The film was restored in 2010 by the World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna /L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory and released as Revenge.[2]


The film is divided into 8 segments.

  • Prologue (set at the Korean royal court of the Kingdom of Joseon in the seventeenth century)[3]
  • Tale 1 - Yan (small Korean village in 1915)
  • Tale 2 - Tsai
  • Tale 3 - The Mute One
  • Tale 4 - The Monk
  • Tale 5 - Elza the Romanian
  • Tale 6 - Revenge
  • Tale 7 - The House



Upon the completion of the restoration for the World Cinema Project, Kent Jones wrote, in May 2010: "In a rage, a teacher murders a boy. Another boy is bred, for one sole purpose: to avenge his sister’s death. Kazakh master Ermek Shinarbaev’s close collaboration with the Korean-Russian writer Anatoli Kim yielded three great films, the most remarkable of which is this beautiful, profoundly unsettling film. A true odyssey, geographically and psychologically. One of the greatest films to emerge from the Kazakh New Wave, and one of the toughest." [4] Jones later wrote an essay for the home video release by the Criterion Collection in 2017.[3]

The director Ermek Shinarbaev also commented: "In the beginning of the 40s, hundreds of thousands of Koreans that had lived in the Russian Far East since the XIX century were forcibly displaced overnight according to Stalin’s orders. They were regarded as traitors and public enemies. Women, children, old people, were sent away with no explanation. The Korean diaspora, with a population of over a million, has been a forbidden topic for many years. Revenge is the first film telling the story of their tragedy." (Ermek Shinarbaev, May 2010) [4]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Reed Flute". Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Revenge". World Cinema Foundation. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Revenge: The Long Road Home". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "World Cinema Project". Retrieved 18 May 2018.

External links[edit]