Peppermint Candy. 1999. South Korea. Written and directed by Lee Chang-dong. With Sol Kyung-gu, Moon So-ri, Kim Yeo-jin. DCP. In Korean; English subtitles. 129 min.
Yong-ho, now middle-aged, appears to be on the verge of suicide. Multiple flashbacks take us back in time to look at his life over the past two decades, from 1979 to 1999. In a period defined by a series of pivotal national events—the Gwangju Uprising, which reportedly left hundreds of people demonstrating against the military government dead; the subsequent repressive political environment; the rise and fall of the Korean economy—Yong-ho finds himself swept up by momentous forces beyond his control. Lee Chang-dong displays an extraordinarily deft touch in interweaving complex historical events and private life, national trauma and personal failure, portraying a man who is both victim and aggressor.