Raising her young son Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang) in Vancouver’s suburbs in the 90s, So-young (Choi Seung-yoon), a South Korean immigrant and single mom, desperately wants to instill a sense of pride in the boy. In turn, he only wants to be considered “Canadian” in hopes of avoiding bullying at school. As Dong-hyun (now played by Ethan Hwang) grows older, his frustrations over knowing nothing about his father are only exasperated when So-young introduces a surrogate patriarch into his life. A cruel twist of fate sends the pair back to South Korea, where all will be revealed about the family’s history.
Elegantly interweaving social realism with fable-like sequences, Anthony Shim (Daughter) makes sublime use of Christopher Lew’s glorious cinematography and Andrew Yong Hoon Lee’s expressive score to craft a film that’s both emotionally and sensorially rich. Wedding autobiographical elements with more universal concerns, he likewise achieves an exquisite balance between Dong-hyun and So-young’s perspectives. The generosity extended to his characters makes the ensuing drama all the more rewarding.
Anthony Shim’s supremely confident drama, which jumps decades and continents, plays like a microbudget Canadian companion piece to the 2020 sleeper hit Minari… s impressive in its technical aspects as its storytelling.
Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail
Choi Seung-yoon, Ethan Hwang, Dohyun Noel Hwang, Anthony Shim, Hunter Dillon, Jerina Son
In English and Korean with English subtitles
Best Canadian Feature, VIFF; Platform Prize, TIFF; Best BC Film, Vancouver Film Critics Circle
Indigenous & Community Access
Matt Kerr, Charlie Kerr, Giuliana Bertuzzi
Anthony Shim, Rebecca Steele, Bryan Demore
Andrew Yong Hoon Lee
Also in This Series
Until Branches Bend
Discovering a potentially invasive insect inside a peach, fruit packer Robin immediately reports it. When management refuses to take action, she goes public with her concerns and precipitates a widescale shutdown in her Okanagan town.
Raising her son Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang, then Ethan Hwang) in Vancouver’s suburbs, So-young (Choi Seung-yoon), a South Korean immigrant, desperately wants to instill a sense of pride in the boy. Meanwhile, he just wants to fit in.
A Cedar Is Life
The cedar tree has always been central to First Nations cultural practice on the northwest coast. It is, you could say, foundational flora. A Cedar Is Life is an illuminating, passionate film which speaks to a defining aspect of this part of the world.
The Colour of Ink
For Jason Logan, master inkmaker, pigmentation is a living element. Brian D. Johnston's radiant, artisanal doc is a real eye-opener.
In 1999, 11-year-old Nisha Platzer lost her brother, Josh, to suicide. Twenty years later, her search leads her to the door of Josh's chosen family. An eloquent collage that asserts that both grieving and healing are meant to be communal experiences.
From the front lines of the fight to preserve BC's old growth forests, Rematriation is both an urgent wake-up call and an inspiring tribute to the land defenders at Fairy Creek.