Lucky Life

Lee Isaac Chung, USA 2010, 97’

Each year, Jason, Alex, and newlywed couple Mark and Karen, spend several days at a beach cottage. This year is different because Jason has terminal cancer, making the meeting a kind of farewell. Still, the friends try to celebrate life and enjoy being together. Though this final vacation together brims with warmth, memories, beach walks and ocean swims, the specter of imminent cancer is palpable. The same sorrow returns when, later in the film, Mark and Karen are unable to conceive a child.

Director Lee Isaac Chung manages a film about remembrance and pain without celebrating suffering – everyone bears their dramas within. As a film, Lucky Life is introverted, as sublime images saturated with muted light glimmer through spare compositions to comport with calm, reserved characters. Nevertheless, the serenity of these elegant images is merely superficial, as unusually intense emotions simmer within characters.

Chung eschews classic narration with the plot a mere starting point for questions about dealing with loss. The two dimensions, the summer meeting and attempts to conceive, interweave, linked by the experience of something gone by. The director found inspiration in the poetry of Gerald Stern, which Mark reads on screen – possibly offering a path to deeper interpretation of the film.

Karolina Kosińska

Lee Isaac Chung

Born in 1978 in Denver, Colorado, Chung initially studied biology at Yale, but dropped out to attend film school after seeing Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express. His feature-length debut Munyurangabo (2007), shot in Rwanda in the Kinyarwanda language, received much acclaim, becoming the sensation of the Cannes Film Festival.


2004 Highway (kr. m. / short)

2005 Sex and Coffee (kr. m. / short)

2005 Los coyotes (kr. m. / short)

2007 Munyurangabo

2010 Szczęśliwe życie / Lucky Life

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Cast & Crew

director Lee Isaac Chung
screenplay Samuel Gray Anderson, Lee Isaac Chung, inspiracją dla scenariusza była poezja Geralda Sterna / inspired by poetry of Gerald Stern
cinematography Jenny Lund, Koji Otsuka
editing Lee Isaac Chung
music Matthew Croasmun, Bryan Senti
cast Daniel O’Keefe, Megan McKenna, Richard Harvell, Kenyon Adams, Yohei Kawamata, Stephanie Skaff, Nancia Patterson, Kyoko Shakagori
producer Samuel Grey Anderson, Lee Isaac Chung, Richard Lormand
production Almond Tree Films
sales UMedia
language English
coloration colour
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