Thursday, August 18, 2011

Secret Sunshine on Criterion

New Criterion release. I saw this at the VIFF a few years ago, a Korean story about a woman in desperate straits who becomes involved with evangelical / charismatic Christians. I found it a pretty grim film, and it seemed to me that the Christians, while portrayed honestly and accurately enough, were weighed in the balance and found wanting. But you can decide for yourself. It's definitely a strong film.

Here's what Criterion has to say:
For this exquisite drama about faith and the search for redemption in the face of tragedy, Jeon Do-yeon was awarded the best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s easy to see why: her devastating portrayal of the widowed piano teacher Shin-ae, trying to start her life over with her young son in a new town, is a master class in subtle expressivity. Secret Sunshine is a raw, unpredictable journey, led by a filmmaker you’ll be hearing a lot more about in coming years.
And, elsewhere,
A master of intensely emotional human dramas, director Lee Chang-dong is a luminary of contemporary Korean cinema, and his place on the international stage was cemented by this stirring and unpredictable work examining grief and deliverance. An effortless mix of lightness and uncompromising darkness, Secret Sunshine (Miryang) stars Cannes best actress winner Jeon Do-yeon as a widowed piano teacher who moves with her young son from Seoul to her late husband’s provincial hometown for a fresh start. Quietly expressive, supple filmmaking and sublime, subtle performances distinguish this remarkable portrayal of the search for grace amid tragedy.

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