and Jin-woo are not just brothers. They are
twins with Shakespearean bad luck. Each
has suffered from a coma-inducing accident, but not simultaneously. In fact, it is when both are finally
conscious and ambulatory that things really get complicated for Jin-woo’s
wife. Starring NYAFF special guest Yoon
Jin-seo of Oldboy fame, Ryu Hoon-i’s Secret Love (trailer here), screens for free
this coming Tuesday as a co-presentation of the 2012 New York Asian Film Festival and the Korean Cultural Service in New York.
months after their wedding, an exhausted Yeon-yi dutifully cares for her
comatose husband. She knew he had a
brother, but she is not prepared for the sight of Jin-ho. Much to her consternation, the prodigal twin
seems more interested in her emotional condition than his brother’s physical
prognosis. Yet, slowly but surely, she
starts to fall for Jin-ho. Frankly, he
might just be the better of the matched set.
Of course, right when she is poised to embrace her new love for Jin-ho,
Jin-woo pops up again.
premise of Secret might sound vaguely
like Sandra Bullock’s While You Were
Sleeping, but it is anything but. It
starts out as a classier if more or less conventional Korean melodrama, but
pivots into a sinister psychological thriller.
Indeed, it does not take Jin-woo long to figure out the reason his wife
and brother are acting so awkward around him and he is slightly put out by it. Before long, she is looking at Jin-woo like
he is Charles Boyer in Gaslight—or at
least she thinks it is Jin-woo. When he
changes his look to match his brother, it makes it devilishly difficult to tell
Secret begins with a
rather confusing prologue that will eventually be explained during the denouement. It is worth sticking with it though, thanks
to Ryu’s wickedly stylish approach to both the forbidden love story and
psychological thriller aspects of the film.
To top it off, his dizzying climax would appeal to the old master
course, there is a reason Secret was
chosen as part of the Korean Cultural Service’s mini-Yoon Jin-seo tribute
series. Her performance is sensitive,
but also brittle and raw, making it far more realistic than anything you will
see in a Hollywood tearjerker. Basically
hitting for the cycle, she creates a convincing portrait of a woman struggling
with depression, while also appearing in some scorching love scenes.
For a time, it looked like circumstances would
force Yoon to cancel her trip to New York, but she subsequently rescinded her
cancelation. If she can make it from
Korea, New York cineastes have no excuse for missing Tuesday’s screening. It’s free after all, so plan to arrive early. A strange but compelling thriller-tragedy
hybrid, Secret Love is definitely
recommended for anyone who likes their cinema dark and moody when it screens
this Tuesday (7/10) at the Tribeca Cinemas, courtesy of the 2012 New York Asian
Film Festival, in conjunction with the Korean Cultural Service.
Labels: Korean Cinema, Korean Cultural Service, Movie twins, NYAFF '12, Psychological Thrillers, Yoon Jin-seo