Though inspired by actual events from the experiences of director Lee Isaac Chung's family, Minari is also a universal story about a confused identity and a never-ending need for intimacy. A family of Korean immigrants decides to settle in the agricultural state of Arkansas in the Reaganite America of 1983. Instead of dreaming their American dream, Jacob and Monica confront an increasingly disappointing reality. When it seems that their fortune, marked by business failures, marital quarrels and their son's illness, could not be more malicious, they endure yet another blow. Monica's mother (Oscar-winning, wonderful Youn Yuh-jung), brought in to help with the children, stirs up ferment instead of serenity in the couple's lives. The eccentric Soon-ja becomes a guilty conscience in the lives of the Americanized heroes, forbidding them from forgetting their Korean heritage. What will be the results of this East-West collision? What role will the titular minari, a plant popular in Asian cuisine, play in this process?
Oscars 2021 – Best Supporting Role; Golden Globes 2021 – Best Foreign Language Film; Sundance FF 2021 – Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award; BAFTA 2021 – Best Suppoting Role; Dublin IFF 2021 – Best Screenplay; Film Independent Spirit Awards 2021 – Best Supporting Female Role
Lee Isaac Chung was born in 1978 in Denver to a family of South Korean immigrants. While studying Biology at Yale University, he became fascinated with cinema, decided to change his life plans and try his hand at film. After making a few short movies, Lee traveled to Rwanda for several months, where he made his full-length debut, Munyurangabo (2007), which premiered at the Cannes festival. Minari is his fourth full-length feature film.
2004 Highway (short)
2005 Sex and Coffee (short)
2010 Lucky Life
2012 Abigail Harm