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No Way Out: Lee Chang-dong’s “Secret Sunshine”

No Way Out: Lee Chang-dong's "Secret Sunshine"

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Teeming with incident, full of emotions, roiling with anger, Secret Sunshine is nevertheless something like a blank canvas. Director Lee Chang-dong’s protracted yet endlessly involving tale of grief and regeneration is a classically tailored assemblage of small, clipped moments, prizing the intricacies of human behavior but also acknowledging it as remote and difficult to define. Likewise, Cannes Best Actress-winner Do-yeon Jeon, who remains the center of the film for its 142-minute running time, is kept at a curious arm’s length—every time we feel we’re one step closer to her, the film takes two steps back. Though Secret Sunshine’s schizophrenic storytelling ensures that Do-yeon will toggle between hope, desperation, despair, hostility, and peace, the director makes all of these fluctuations as ungraspable as gusts of wind.

Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Secret Sunshine.

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