Archive of films Secret Sunshine / Miryang

South Korea
2007, 142 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2007

After her husband is killed in a car accident, young Shin-ae takes her small son and moves to her husband’s native town of Miryang. She opens a music school and tries to find her feet in her new surroundings but, despite all her endeavours, she isn’t very successful. Miryang, in the end, brings the woman a good deal of disappointment and pain… The director of the celebrated films Peppermint Candy and Oasis is supported in his gritty drama by an excellent screenplay and the stirring performance of Jeon Do-yeon who won Best Actress at this year’s Cannes IFF.


The name of the town of Miryang means “a place with good sunshine“; for young Shin-ae however it becomes a place of pain and mourning. Following the death of her husband she moves to his hometown of Miryang with her small son and tries to start a new life there. She opens a school of music, she tries to make friends with the locals, and does not spare her well-intended advice, for example if she thinks that her neighbour could draw more customers to her shop if it was painted up more colourfully. Nonetheless she remains a stranger, and the town of Miryang ends up being one of the most difficult trials of her life... The most ambitious film yet from director and writer Lee Chang-dong is constructed in a similar way to the outstanding novel: with each minute of the story we uncover new levels of narration, unexpected depths and parallels, new surprises, and plot twists, all of which is permeated with deep humanity and a never-ending search for the desire to continue to live in spite of the very deepest pain. Song Kang-ho (who we can also see in The Host in the Midnight Screenings section) and Jeon Do-yeon (who came away from this year’s Cannes festival with the award for Best Actress) excel in the lead roles.

About the director

Lee Chang-dong (b. 1954, Daegu, Korea) studied Korean and Korean literature. He won recognition as a writer, and in 1993 wrote the screenplay for the film To the Starry Island (1993) on which he also worked as assistant director to Park Kwang-su. He also helped write the screenplay for his next film A Single Spark (1995). His directorial debut was with Green Fish (1997). His next work, Peppermint Candy (1999), took three awards at the Karlovy Vary IFF. Oasis (KVIFF 2003) had its international premiere at the 2002 Venice IFF where it received the Special Director’s Award, the M. Mastroianni Award for actress Moon So-ri, as well as the FIPRESCI Prize. Between 2002 and 2004 Lee Chang-dong was the Korean Minister of Culture. He founded the production company Pine House Film, and is currently working on direction again and at the same time teaching at the Korean National University of Arts.


CJ Entertainment Inc.
2nd Fl., 602 Shinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, 135 893, Seoul
Korea (Republic of)
Tel: +82 237 184 70
Fax: +82 220 171 241

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Screenplay: Lee Chang-dong
Dir. of Photography: Cho Yong-kyu
Music: Christian Basso
Editor: Kim Hyun
Producer: Lee Hanna
Production: Pine House Film
Cast: Jeon Do-yeon, Song Kang-ho
Contact: CJ Entertainment Inc.


Lee Chang-dong

Film Director


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