Backtracking from his suicide as a broken and depressed man, the film recounts the life of Yong-ho, from his tragic demise to his innocent youth, in reverse order. In between, he is a student, a soldier, a police officer and eventually an investor who loses a small fortune in the stock market. The second film by Lee Chang-dong (Burning; Poetry) this 1999 movie is recognized as one of the key texts in contemporary Korean cinema.
Watching this film for the first time at the tender age of 13, I was equally riveted and haunted by the sights and sounds of this complex human drama. I had never seen anyone on-screen or in real life express the types of emotions that are on display in this film. Until that time, I thought movies were simply meant to be a form of entertainment, but this film opened my eyes to the power that cinema can have. The story is told chronologically backwards, tracing the key moments in a troubled man’s life as well as the key moments of the country’s recent history; sort of like Forrest Gump, but NOTHING like Forrest Gump. The lead performance by Sol Kyung-gu is haunting, beautiful, and devastating. This is the single most important and impactful film of my upbringing and I believe is an essential watch for anyone interested in Korea.
October 3 & 7: Introduced by Leading Lights guest programmer Anthony Shim
Jae-Young Jeon, Gye-Nnam Myeong, Makoto Ueda
Lee Chang-Dong became a sensation both in Korea and abroad with his 1997 debut feature Green Fish. Lee Chang-Dong’s first film Green Fish (1997) was a film about space in its depiction of the space of a planned city that replaced farming land. Peppermint Candy is a film about time in its portrayal of a person’s life as seen through both the destructive and redemptive forces of time. Peppermint Candy is his second feature.
Filmography: Green Fish (1997); Oasis (2002); Secret Sunshine (2007); Burning (2018)
Missing VIFF? Check out what’s playing at the VIFF Centre
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
"Last time, we broke out of a chicken farm. Well, this time, we're breaking in!" announces Ginger, and break in they do, though Fun Land Farms seems like an impreggnable fortress to our plucky cluckers.
Bradley Cooper's second film as director is a symphonic portrait of the composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, with Cooper in the title role and Carey Mulligan as his wife, actress Felicia Montealegre. One of the films of the year.
The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan
D'Artagnan arrives in Paris trying to find his attackers after being left for dead, which leads him to a real war where the future of France is at stake. He aligns himself with Athos, Porthos and Aramis, three musketeers of the King.
The Wind Rises
Miyazaki's first "retirement" film is inspired by the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a young man much like the filmmaker, who grew up to be a designer and engineer, and who is best known for the "Zero" fighter plane, a masterpiece of aerodynamics.
Few rock docs are as fondly remembered as The Wrecking Crew, and fans will be thrilled at this follow up, which pays tribute to the crew's 1970s counterparts, the session musicians who worked with Carole King, James Taylor, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks et al.
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood
Within the confines of a smoke sauna deep in an Estonian forest, groups of women gather to cleanse themselves in both body and soul, sharing in traditional sauna-based rituals, while also revealing their hurts and longings, joys and pains.