After effectively disappearing off the map since his debut pic, sassy fest hit “A Hot Roof” (1995), helmer Lee Min-yeong makes a quieter but equally affecting return with his very different third feature, “Season in the Sun.” Smoothly shot yarn about a young pastor who befriends a soccer-mad boy deserves play in kidfests but also in regular events’ sidebars, due to its well-drawn, unsentimentally portrayed characters. Film performed only moderately on release in April.
Sixth-grader Hyeong-woo (Kwak Jeong-wook) journeys from Seoul to the village of Boriul during his vacation — Korean title means “Boriul Summer” — to visit his father, Woo-nam (Park Yeong-gyu), who left his family to become a Buddhist monk. Also on the bus is Father Stefano Kim (Cha In-pyo), who soon faces difficulties connecting with his rural flock, but finds purpose in training Hyeong-woo and the church orphans to take on the arrogant local tykes in a soccer match. There’s nothing particularly novel about the childhood pranks, dumb yokel types and kindly village nuns (Jang Mi-heui, Shin Ae), but pic has a gentle irony, boosted by natural performances, that elevates it above the usual cozy heart-warmers.