South Korean director Young-mi Lee directed ten short films and her very first feature film “Secrets, objects,” had its North American debut screening at the Montreal World Film Festival. In her film, Lee explores the complex relationships of the younger generation and people of middle age. She gives viewers a look into just how complicated things can get when the two generations collide and while they may be different in many ways, they are often looking to be accepted for who they really are.
Hye-jung Yi (Seo-hee Jang) is a Sociology Professor looking for an assistant for her research project on infidelity. A handsome young man named Usang (Suk won Jeong) applies for the position and she is smitten by the 21 year old. Even though she is separated from her husband, she is troubled by the fact that she is almost twice Usang’s age. As they both get to know each other, things start to become more complicated.
Her photocopy machine (voiced by Pil-mo Lee) knows all and can sense what is taking place from Hye-jung’s perspective. Meanwhile, Usang’s digital camera (voiced by I-young Shim) knows all about Usang’s troubled past and the secrets that he is hiding from the Professor. Can these two lost souls find true love with one another?
Director and writer Young-mi Lee has picked a very touchy subject in exploring a relationship between two people with such an age difference, particularly the woman being the older of the two. While it is much more accepted in North America, it is still considered taboo in certain cultures around the world. You may be thinking that it sounds a bit odd having a photocopier and digital camera talking and speaking about their perspectives, yet it does add an interesting dimension to what is taking place and gives some insight into the characters inner thoughts.
It was also an interesting look into some of the things people in their 20’s are concerned about and in some cultures, how women over a certain age are no longer looked at in the same way as they were before.
Lee took a very honest look into a number of issues that can come up in life after being in marriages that don’t work anymore and how changes in life can lead people to take drastic measures to seek for what they don’t have. A film filled with complexities, drama and a few surprising twists along the way.