Secret Sunshine

Shin-ae, son Jun and Jong-chan

At the beginning of 2007’s Secret Sunshine we meet a young mum whose husband has recently died. During the course of the film bad luck strikes again, or as the IMDb coyly (and rightly so) puts it, “another tragic event overturns her life”. And the woman loses her mind. What fun, you might think, a woman in a tight corner having more crap dumped on her. And yet. There is a lot to see and digest in Lee Chang-dong’s 2007 drama (which also goes by the name Miryang or even Milyang – a transliteration difference of opinion) and two brilliant performances at the centre of it. One is by Jeon Do-yeon, as Lee … Read more


Moon So-young, Dong-soo, Ha Sang-hyun and baby

On a filthy rainy South Korea night a young mother abandons her baby, leaving it in the “baby box” – designated for just this thing – attached to a church. The next day, having changed her mind, she heads back to the church, only to find that a pair of “baby brokers” got to the box before the church authorities. They have stolen her baby and intend to sell it on the adoption black market. Two cops saw all this. Clearly onto the brokers, they were watching from a stakeout vehicle as Moon So-young (Lee Ji-eun) left her baby and as Dong-soo (Gang Dong-won) filched it. As they watch and snack on instant noodles, gummi … Read more


Jamie Bell and Chris Evans

That sound? The plane taking off from LAX taking another great Asian director back home, sobbing with disappointment. It happened to John Woo, who did at least manage to crank out Face/Off, but his sad run of Hollywood films include Windtalkers, Mission: Impossible II and Hard Target. To the Pang brothers too, whose The Eye was one of the attention-grabbers of 2002. They came to Hollywood, made The Messengers for Sam Raimi, then put their tail between their legs and went home. So what about the latest Asian import, the great South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, whose uniquely flavoured movies include Memories of Murder, a killer-thriller-whodunit whose cops get their man more … Read more