Secret Sunshine


Director: Lee Chang-dong
Year: 2007
Country: Korea
Running time: 142 mins
Screenplay: Lee Chang-dong. Based on a novel by Yi Chong-jun
Photography: Cho Yong-kyu
Editor: Kim Hyun
Music: Christian Basso
In Korean with English subtitles
CinemaScope/M violence, sex scenes

With: Jeon Do-yeon, Song Kang-ho, Kim Yeong-jae, Seon Jeong-yeob

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition), Toronto, New York, Vancouver, London, Pusan 2007; Rotterdam 2008

Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival 2007
The most admired Korean film of 2007 defies genre and synopsis. Its changing moods reflect the fortunes of the young mother at its centre as she repeatedly absorbs the impact of unforeseeable events. Actress Jeon Do-yeon's elucidation of her spiritual turmoil is incandescent. "Lee Chang-dong's (Oasis) movie possesses the fullness and complexity of a great novel, revealing new layers the deeper we move into it. It begins as the story of a recent widow and her young son adjusting to their new lives in a small town that suddenly, without warning, becomes a thriller and then a Bressonian study in human suffering. Lee guides Secret Sunshine through these switchblade reversals of comedy and despair, darkness and light with remarkable agility... Jeon Do-yeon fearlessly navigates the movie's turbulent emotional currents, slowly revealing the extraordinary inner strength and grace of a seemingly fragile, uncertain woman." — Scott Foundas