The Early Films of Lee Isaac Chung

Directed by Lee Isaac Chung
Film Movement
274 Minutes
USA, Hong Kong
English, Kinyarwanda
$39.95 Members
$49.95 Non-Members

Released for the first time ever in North America as a box set, The Early Films of Lee Isaac Chung includes the Oscar-nominated filmmaker's first three award-winning films, before he went on to direct his Academy Award-winning hit, MINARI.

After stealing a machete from a market in Kigali, Munyurangabo and his friend, Sangwa, leave the city on a journey tied to their pasts. Their friendship, however, is tested when Sangwa’s parents disapprove of Munyurangabo, warning that “Hutus and Tutsis are supposed to be enemies.”

A group of friends travels to the beach in hopes of encouraging Jason (Kenyon Adams), who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Some time later, as Mark (Daniel O’Keefe) and Karen (Megan McKenna) plan to have a child, the beach trip lingers as a haunting memory.

Abigail Harm (Amanda Plummer) lives alone on the outskirts of the city. One day, she recalls an old story about a woodcutter who saves the life of a mystical deer and is granted his wish for a companion. Before long, this tale seems to come alive in Abigail’s own lonely world.


  • Jeff Rutagengwa
  • Eric Ndorunkundiye
  • Amanda Plummer
  • Tetsuo Kuramochi
  • Will Patton
  • Daniel O'Keefe
  • Megan McKenna
  • Kenyon Adams
DVD Features

Bonus features:

Audio Commentary by director Lee Isaac Chung, Behind-the-Scenes Footage

Discs: 3

  • Highest Rating
    "One of those miracles that can illuminate the is in every frame a beautiful and powerful film -- a masterpiece!"
    Roger Ebert
  • Highest Rating
    "It's an authentically beautiful film."
    Robin Wood, Film Comment
  • Highest Rating
    "Munyurangabo uses the fine-grained techniques of cinematic neorealism to illuminate the psychological and emotional landscape of a still-traumatized place."
    A.O. Scott, The New York Times
  • Highest Rating
    "Lee Isaac Chung's film exudes a wonderful sense of originality, a daring and organic playfulness rarely found in American indie cinema."
    Diego Semerene, Slant Magazine
  • Highest Rating
    "Plummer's highly emotive performance ... exudes more emotion in a wistful sideways glance than most actresses do over their entire careers. "
    Violet Lucca, Village Voice
  • Highest Rating
    "Showcasing an exemplary lead performance from the consistently underrated Amanda Plummer, there's an intriguing offbeat rhythm to Chung's film. "
    Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema
  • Highest Rating
    "[A] meditative, lyrical and yet hauntingly familiar look at the elusive nature of memory among day-to-day experiences. Blending realism with deceptively intelligent visual conceits, Chung conveys his ideas through the passage of time and the subtleties of social engagement. Chung, whose acclaimed 2007 directorial debut “Munyurangabo” dealt with two young friends in the wake of the Rwandan genocide, repeats his uncanny ability to elevate seemingly minor exchanges to a place of deeper significance."
    Erik Kohn, IndieWire
  • Highest Rating
    "Based on the poetry of Gerald Stern, Lucky Life reflects on issues of remembrance, life, and death with a heartfelt lyricism.... Though on the surface a significant departure from his stunning Munyurangabo, Lee Isaac Chung’s sophomore effort is in many respects a kindred spirit to that Rwanda-set drama, sharing with it similar aesthetic assuredness (and specific flourishes) as well as an interest in human responses to present and past calamity."
    Nick Schager, Slant Magazine
  • Highest Rating
    "Lucky Life was a poem before it was a movie. Thus it makes perfect sense that the film works more like poetry than prose. And there is life, suspense, terror, mystery, and majesty burning in every scene."
    Jeffrey Overstreet, Image Journal

Awards & Recognition