RICEBOY SLEEPSDirected by Anthony Shim
Cast: Choi Seung-yoon, Dohyun Noel Hwang, Ethan Hwang
Platform Prize, 2022 Toronto International Film Festival
Flash Forward Audience Award, 2022 Busan International Film Festival
In Anthony Shim’s emotionally layered second feature RICEBOY SLEEPS, So-young and her young son Dong-hyun leave behind unspeakable family tragedy in South Korea for a new life—and new dreams—in Canada.
Encountering the isolation and alienation of being outsiders in a strange country, a distance grows between them. “A man can only cry three times in his life,” So-young instructs Dong-hyun after he is suspended for a racially charged schoolyard altercation, refusing to accept the indignities of being marginalized and ignored. “Once when he is born, once when his mom dies, and once when his father dies.” Yet while So-young toils her days away in a factory—navigating long hours, tedious manual labor, and sexual harassment from her white male co-workers—Dong-hyun grows into a brooding teen whose reticence masks a deep confusion about his identity and urgent questions about their buried past.
A testament to the resilience of immigrant single motherhood and a time capsule of late nineties adolescent angst, RICEBOY SLEEPS is buoyed by richly detailed performances from Choi Seung-yoon and Ethan Hwang, who illuminate the tense and tender bond between parent and child.
—Anthony Yooshin Kim
Admission includes outdoor pre- and post-screening receptions.