With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ACF 253: Free Screening of Lee Chang-dong's "Secret Sunshine" in New York

I've been singing the praises of Korean director Lee Chang-dong since I saw Oasis, his third film, several years ago. His fourth and most recent film Secret Sunshine (Miryang) came out in 2007 and I saw it at a press screening in conjunction with that fall's New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. I later reviewed it in my May 6, 2008 post (see ACF 109 in the May 2008 Archives).

The film is about Lee Shin-ae (actress Jeon Do-yeon) who moves with her young son to Miryang, the rural Korean city where her late husband was from. Kim Jong-chan( actor Song Kang-ho) is the owner of a garage who tows their broken-down vehicle into town and falls for Sin-ae. The film seems to be a romantic comedy at first, then a crime thriller, before finally settling into its true raison d'etre, an absolutely amazing consideration of grief and the search for spiritual solace.

Jeon Do-yeon won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the Asian Film Awards, the Blue Dragon Awards, the South Korea Grand Bell Awards for her role as Shin-ae. Awards most well-deserved, as were the film's other nominations and wins.

In my opinion, Secret Sunshine, like Oasis, will hold its own in comparisons with the best works of the greatest international driectors: Ozu, Kurosawa, Fellini, Antonioni, Truffaut, etc. It is absolutely not to be missed by anyone who cares about great cinema.

The film will be shown free at the ImaginAsian Theatre, 239 East 59th Street, New York, NY. The screening is presented by Korean Cultural Service NY as part of its ChungMuRo Express: Classic Korean Cinema series. Although admission is free, you must RSVP at 212.759.9550 to have your name placed on the guest list.

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