Riceboy Sleeps made its premiere at TIFF, where director Anthony Shim tells the emotional story of loss, family dysfunction, immigration, and starting from scratch.
There is a profound enjoyment to be experienced when cinema explores the true inner depths of the human experience. Movies like Riceboy Sleeps are the perfect gateway towards such an experience.
Directed by Anthony Shim, the film revolves around a South Korean family trying to navigate their inner trauma and dysfunctional dynamic while trying to adapt to their new Canadian lives. The film follows two main characters, a single mother named So-young (played by Choi Seung-yoon) and her son Dong-Hyun (played by (Dohyun Noel Hwang). Riceboy sleeps explores the bond between these characters as they try to adapt to Canadian society during the 1990’s.
The main themes of the film are that of identity, culture, family and mental health. Any immigrant or child of immigrants will easily relate to the dynamics at hand. So-young wants the best for her son and refuses to share details of his origin, including that of the identity of his now deceased father. Dong-Hyun tries his best to adapt to his environment and tries to figure out who he is, but he is ultimately held back by unresolved trauma and the open display of racism and xenophobia that was prevalent during that era.
Ultimately Riceboy Sleeps is an emotionally fulfilling promise and a powerful statement for anyone who ever considered exploring their ethnic roots. It is charming, heartbreaking, inspiring and relatable. But more importantly, it serves as a reminder of the importance of family in our lives. Riceboy Sleeps, is a must watch.