111 minutes, in Korean with English subtitles
Directed by: Ryu Hoon-I
Starring: Yoon Jin-Seo, Yoo Ji-Tae
Note: this is a free screening at the Tribeca Cinemas! Seating is first-come, first served, and the doors open around 6:30pm.
Tuesday, July 10 @ 7pm
Also known as “The Secret River”, SECRET LOVE is the tremulous, sultry account of a bizarre love triangle, a delectably gripping noir fuelled by the belief that good romance is fundamentally bad, fleshed from failure and the freakish coupling of hurt and desire. Barely two months into their marriage, Yeon-I’s (Yoon Jin-Seo, Oldboy) husband, Jin-Wu (Yoo Ji-tae, Oldboy) gets into an accident and falls into a coma that leaves him as good as dead, both to the world and to his young bride. Leaden with loss, Yeon-I nonetheless lives on, leading the devastated half-existence of people numb with tragedy, with the sole, sullen comfort of watching videos of her recent wedding until… out of nowhere, Jin-wu’s identical twin brother Jin-Ho (also played by Yoo, taking on subtly conflicting, dual roles) returns to Korea, much to the shock of Yeon-I.
Initially wary of each other, a fumbling relationship begins to form between the young wife and her brother-in-law, clouded by the fog of grief, guilt, and confusion. But soon, emotions boil over, and the clothes come off, swept away by the full tide of their mutual attraction. Yeon-I finds herself between a rock and a hard place, and in more than a bit of a pickle, when Jin-Wu miraculously wakes up from his coma. The dangerous liaison develops with the cool perversity of a Claude Chabrol film, as the reluctant ménage à trois burns in the flames of erotic fixation and betrayal, reeling towards certain distaster.
All the while, seemingly molded from porcelain, the vulnerable, alarming sweetness of actress Yoon Jin-Seo holds the movie together, in this reunion with her partner from Oldboy, Yoo Ji-Tae, whose tall, lean frame quivers with thought and afterthought throughout this erotic thriller/melodrama, supplying the film with everything that Yoon artfully holds back.