It turns out the “yang” in Secret Sunshine’s Korean title (Miryang/Milyang) actually doesn’t mean sunshine, it means the place where the sun is shining, which doesn’t come across in the English title at all (although it does explain the final image a lot better). I learned this at the Q&A after the screening of Secret Sunshine at LACMA, the very same Q&A which was so notably NOT attended by Quentin Tarantino, despite all advertisement to the contrary. Oh well. Lee Chang Dong was there, and it’s his film. I never figured out why Tarantino was supposed to be there to begin with. Apparently neither did Tarantino.
The people behind me were convinced the movie was about whether God exists or not, but the movie is actually about a woman trying to deal with her grief. I assume that woman, played by Jeon Do Yeon, is the place where the sun is or is not shining. In case you couldn’t tell, I really like the concept of the place where the sun is shining.
If you can only see one movie about grief this year, see this one instead of Grace Is Gone (well, actually they’re both from last year, but whatever). I thought this one did a much better job of capturing the way a person really would respond to grief. And Jeon Do Yeon deserves all the praise she’s getting. She had to carry the movie.
The only thing I couldn’t figure out was why Song Kang Ho’s character stuck with her. Incidentally, the more I see Song Kang Ho the more I appreciate him as an actor. The first time I thought he was okay, but he keeps getting better and better.