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Peppermint Candy


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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.
Anthony Shim


October 3 & 7: Introduced by Leading Lights guest programmer Anthony Shim


Sol Kyung-gu, Moon So-ri, Kim Yeo-jin, Se-beom Park, Suh Jung

Country of Origin

South Korea




Leading Lights


In Korean with English subtitles

129 min
Award Winners Drama

Book Tickets

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Jae-Young Jeon, Gye-Nnam Myeong, Makoto Ueda


Lee Chang-dong


Hyung-Gu Kim


Hyun Kim

Original Music

Jaejin Lee

Art Director

Il-hyun Park


Lee Chang-dong headshot

Lee Chang-dong

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)

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