Apr 26 – Riceboy Sleeps

In the 1990s, a young widow named So-young (Choi Seung-yoon) moves from South Korea to Canada with her young son, Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang). Neither of them speaks English very well, or understands the cultures of their new home. But this is where they live now, where Dong-hyun will grow up, and they’ll make the best of it.

On paper, Riceboy Sleeps is a familiar semiautobiographical drama, the story of a smart kid trying to navigate new surroundings. But Vancouver director Anthony Shim distinguishes himself as a storyteller of piercing honesty and remarkable specificity, unpacking the lives of So-young and Dong-hyun over a decade of change and adaptation. (Dong-hyun is played as a teen by Ethan Hwang.)

Mother and son both experience different levels of casual racism at work and school, make unexpected alliances with co-workers and classmates, and slowly grow apart as they define themselves in a new Canadian context. When circumstances dictate a return to South Korea, it’s a home that Dong-hyun doesn’t even remember.

Riceboy Sleeps lays out its interwoven stories simply, shifting between the different perspectives of its protagonists. Poignantly capturing Dong-hyun’s loneliness and frustration alongside So-young’s isolation and sacrifices, Shim keeps the film compassionate and poetic, building to a final image that’s as lovely as it is shattering. Winner of TIFF 2022’s Platform Prize for its bold directorial vision, this film establishes…the presence of an important new Canadian filmmaker.

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April 26, 2023 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
SilverCity Newmarket Cinemas & XSCAPE Entertainment Centre
18195 Yonge St
East Gwillimbury, ON

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Cast: Choi Seung-yoon, Dohyun Noel Hwang, Ethan Hwang, Anthony Shim
Year: 2022
Runtime: 117 min
Country: Canada
Language: English, Korean

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