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“Secret Sunshine” Best Undistributed, But for How Long?

"Secret Sunshine" Best Undistributed, But for How Long?

indieWIRE’s mega-poll of critics polls launched today, unconventionally, with a look at the Best Undistributed Films of the year, as judged by 106 critics. Mirroring last year’s results, first place went to a Korean auteur (in this case, Lee Chang-dong’s “Secret Sunshine” as opposed to 2006’s “Woman on the Beach” by Hong Sang-soo) and ranking 2nd was the latest film from Chinese maverick Jia Zhang-ke (this time around, “Useless”; last year’s was “Still Life”).

I’m confident that “Secret Sunshine” will get picked up at some point soon by a small art-house distrib (I suspect New Yorker Films will step up to the plate). What’s interesting is the disconnect between critics and distributors. Then again, I wonder how many critics really expect a film company to acquire “Frownland” or “You, the Living” for any sort of significant release. The irony, of course, is that many of these films, often more than others, should be seen on a big screen: It’s because of their artfully made cinematic frames or rigorous style or subject matter that these films should be seen on celluloid in a movie theater rather than video-on-demand on their TV screen where distraction easily gets in the way (at least for this viewer) of appreciating a truly groundbreaking or unique film. I don’t know the solution, but I do know that there are more than 250 films out there that critics believe other people deserve to see–and may never get the chance to.

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