Gateway | Gateway
On April 16, 2014, the ferry MV Sewol sank, claiming over 300 lives, mostly high school students on a field trip. The disaster shook Korean society to the very core and sparked widespread outrage over the government’s mishandling of the crisis, contributing to President Park Geun-hye’s downfall. Five years on, Lee Jong-un’s personal and powerful directorial debut gently revisits the grieving families and community shattered by the national tragedy.
Cannes Best Actress Jeon Do-yeon (for Secret Sunshine) and Sul Kyung-gu (Oasis) deliver subdued, heartbreaking performances as a couple whose estranged relationship is seriously tested as their late son’s birthday approaches. Once assistant director to Lee Chang-dong (Burning), who co-produced the film, Lee shares the master auteur’s propensity for exploring unplumbed facets of human nature through unexpected forms of coping and remembering. Both devastating and cathartic, this sensitive drama depicts the ongoing grief, trauma, activism, alienation, and healing of the victims’ families and friends through daily interactions. You will have no tears left to cry when you walk out of the cinema.