Last Child

Sal-a-nam-eun A-i

Writer-director Shin Dong-seok delivers a devastating debut, an emotionally wrenching family drama that heralds a serious new voice in cinema.

Dir-Scr Shin Dong-seok
Prod Je Jeong-ju
With Choi Moo-seong, Kim Yeo-jin, Seong Yu-bin
South Korea
Sales Finecut

That their teenage son died heroically saving a classmate from drowning offers little comfort to Sungcheol and Misook. Sungcheol focuses on his work as a decorator to deal with his grief, while Misook only feels alive when ruminating on her feelings for the dead boy. When Sungcheol learns that Kihyun, the schoolboy who survived the accident, is being bullied, he feels compelled to step in and give the lad a chance by teaching him a trade. But young Kihyun is not everything that he seems. Balancing tender yet unsentimental drama with thorny dilemmas, writer-director Shin Dong-seok perceptively explores working-class life and the emotional terrain of the masculine psyche, while the tone recalls Ibsen as it builds towards a gripping finale.

Kate Taylor