Secret Sunshine (Milyang) is yet another masterpiece from director Chang-dong Lee, who had served as South Korea's Minister of Culture and Tourism, and before had brought us such amazing drama as Oasis. This movie landed it's main star Do-yeon Jeon Best Actress Award a Cannes Film Festival in 2007, also it was South Korea's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2008.
Grieving widow Shin-ae (Do-yeon Jeon) with her son June moves to the hometown of her late husband in hopes of starting their life's anew with a clean sheet. In this small town, she opens up a Piano school and tries her best to fit in with others, but local residents are quite reluctant to her attempts. Local car mechanic Jong Chan (Kang-ho Song) that she first met on her way to the town when her car broke down, shows interest in her and helps to settle in. As the time goes on, and everything seems quietly to take turn for the best, another event that shakes her life occurs. Her son is kidnapped.
As Chang-dong Lee has previously shown, he masterfully plays with human emotions, in this work he portrays stricken and worn by grief woman, who seeks means and answers to deal with the tragedy that pursues and devastates her.
This movie strongly touches and explores impact of religion and church on people in their most vulnerable states, how and if faith can heal and provide shelter for the ones that suffer. Amazing performance by Do-yeon Jeon as she excels in providing insight into most dismal corners of the mind.
A must see, extraordinary drama.
Criterion Collection Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon.
Criterion Collection Blu-ray | DVD from YesAsia.