Secret Sunshine

Secret Sunshine

Director: Lee Chang-dong

Cast: Jeon Do-yeon, Song Kang-ho, Jo Yeong-jin

     
 

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In this somber Korean drama, a young mother and widow, Shin-ae, moves with her young son, Jun, from Seoul to a small town called Miryang following her husband's death. Having given up on her career as a concert pianist when she married her husband, she starts up a piano school, but soon it begins to feel like the polite people who inhabit her new home aren't as… See more details below

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Overview

In this somber Korean drama, a young mother and widow, Shin-ae, moves with her young son, Jun, from Seoul to a small town called Miryang following her husband's death. Having given up on her career as a concert pianist when she married her husband, she starts up a piano school, but soon it begins to feel like the polite people who inhabit her new home aren't as friendly as they seem on the surface. Judgmental whispers and disapproving gossip begin to reach Shin-ae's ears, and pressure to join the Christian cult that thrives in the town begins to mount. She's hesitant until an unimaginable tragedy alters her life forever, setting Shin-ae on a dark path of withdrawal from society as a whole.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine is reminiscent of the melodramas of Lars von Trier: an intense long-form character study with a novelistic sense of shifting form in a dark, almost cynical tale of awakening. It opens with Lee Shin-ae (Jeon Do-yeon) lost in her car on the outskirts of Miryang, a Korean town whose name means "Secret Sunshine." She is rescued by bumbling mechanic Kim Jong-chan (Song Kang-ho), who takes an immediate interest in her and helps to set up a piano-teaching school in the city. This comfortable settling-in is disrupted after her son is abducted and found dead. For the rest of the movie, Lee undergoes a spiritual journey as long-term mental breakdown, joining a born-again Christian church and then rejecting God through self-abasement. The narrative and the characters are constantly twisting in unpredictable ways. "There are things you can't see," advises a Christian pharmacist, hinting at the underlying beauty and cruelty within the town. In conservative Miryang, the men are callous toward women, insensitive to their emotions. Song, adding layers to the bumbling yet cocky comic persona that has made him a Korean movie star, comes across variously as a puppy dog, stalker, and harmless fool. The open-hearted Christians can be delusional and naïve, yet all are also capable of acts of generosity. The blue sky which often fills the frame can be oppressive or freeing. Lee weaves these disparate elements into a harmonic whole, ultimately revealing a deeper current that sustains the community. Yet for all his mastery, Lee has a maddening tendency to overplay his dramatic hand. Similar to his Oasis, he revels in climatic fits of screaming and risks romanticizing a medical issue (a physical handicap in Oasis, a mental breakdown in Secret Sunshine) in the service of a broader message. But insanity is not a road to enlightenment. Jeon's searing and brilliant performance charts her character's breakdown so convincingly it only drives the point home. To Lee's credit, though, the ending retains an air of mystery as to where life will lead her. Secret Sunshine was featured in the 45th New York Film Festival and Jeon won the Best Leading Actress award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/23/2011
UPC:
0715515085311
Original Release:
2007
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:22:00
Sales rank:
1,552

Special Features

New Video Interview with Lee; On the Set of "Secret Sunshine," a behind-the-scenes video piece featuring interviews with actors Jeon Do-yeon and Song Kang-ho; U.S. Theatrical Trailer; ; Plus: A booklet featuring an Essay by film critic Dennis Lim

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeon Do-yeon Lee Shin-ae
Song Kang-ho Kim Jong-chan
Jo Yeong-jin Actor
Kim Yeong-jae Actor,Min-gi
Seon Jeong-Yeob Actor,Jun
Song Mi-rim Actor
Kim Mi-hyang Actor
Lee Yun-heui Actor
Kim Mi-kyeong Actor
Oh Man-seok-I Actor
Lee Sung-min Actor
Park Myeong-sin Actor
Ko In-beom Actor
Park Sang-gyoo Actor
Lee Dong-yong Actor
Ko Seo-hee Actor
Kim Hye-ji Actor
Choi In-seon Actor
Kim Min-Jae Actor
Kwon Geum-san Actor

Technical Credits
Lee Chang-dong Director,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Christian Basso Score Composer
Yi Chong-jin Original Story
Yun Hae-jin Sound/Sound Designer
Na Hyo-Seung Associate Producer
Kim Hyun Editor
Kim In-soo Executive Producer
Shin Jeom-heui Art Director
Shin Jeom-Hui Production Designer
Song Jong-heui Makeup
Kim Joo-sung Associate Producer
Hanna Lee Producer
Kim Nu-ri Costumes/Costume Designer
Steve R. Seo Sound/Sound Designer
Cha Seon-yeong Costumes/Costume Designer
Jeong Seung-gu Asst. Director
Cho Yong-Kyou Cinematographer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Secret Sunshine
1. Miryang [7:51]
2. June Piano School [6:02]
3. Speech Class [3:36]
4. A Gift of God's Word [3:47]
5. Married Young [3:20]
6. Great Investment [3:38]
7. "Gratitude for My Parents" [5:09]
8. Girls' Night Out [3:45]
9. "Are You Asleep?" [4:57]
10. Ransom Money [2:26]
11. Empty Parking Lot [4:31]
12. Killer's Daughter [3:07]
13. Jun is Found [4:13]
14. "You Bring Death!" [3:44]
15. A Beam of Light [4:09]
16. Death Certificate [7:31]
17. Born Again [5:23]
18. Like Being In Love [5:00]
19. Birthday Wish [4:47]
20. The Lord's Prayer [2:50]
21. Inner Peace [4:54]
22. "God's Will Is Something Else!" [3:57]
23. Forgive Him? [5:09]
24. "Lies, lies, lies, lies" [5:07]
25. Voices on the Phone [3:52]
26. Private Advice [6:24]
27. Vigil for Shin-ae [5:55]
28. "Please Help Me" [4:04]
29. Homecoming [7:42]
30. A New Haircut [2:28]
31. End Credits [2:52]

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