The Hill of Secrets (2023)

Directed by Lee Ji-eun

Myung-eun can't comprehend the word "family". She wishes to keep it a secret because she is so different from what she would like to be. When it comes to writing, on the other hand, she does not allow herself to be restricted by reality.

Seattle International Film Festival 2023: Film #27

"Who is your Daddy and what does he do?" An extremely well-observed, mature and authentic-feeling drama comedy, with a level of child acting that often made me forget they were actually actors. Its exploration of class was striking for this particular genre, but it was unclear that the film is interested in anything deeper than the cosmetic signifiers of class position. Still, given that the film must be read from the perspective of a child, it does make the implicit argument that this is how class as a concept is socially reproduced. Her personal reconciliation with her 'real' family in the final act was the least convincing element for me, and is made even less heartfelt when we recall that she only wrote her "honest truth" in the first place as a cynical ploy to win an essay competition. Yet given that the demands of the genre requires her to think better of her natal family by the end of the film, I can't begrudge it too much.