3 min read

Elly Yae Li Cho’s The Eclipse: Recognized by the Sound is a Therapy in Itself

Anubhav Chakraborty

August 18, 2022 3 min read

Movie – The Eclipse: Recognized by the Sound

Director- Elly Yae Li Cho


“Each moment is a leap forwards from the brink of an invisible cliff, where time’s keen edges are constantly renewed. We lift our foot from the solid ground of all our life lived thus far, and take that perilous step out into the empty air. Not because we can claim any particular courage, but because there is no other way.”

― Han Kang, 흰 (The White Book)


Silence has its own rhythm, its own words, and sometimes, the sound of silence can convey deeper meanings than the spoken words. In silence, the mind opens up to possibilities and gives us a broader perspective. Silence is also a form of mourning, a loss that cannot be articulated through words, takes its refuge in the sound of silence.

South Korean artist Elly Yae Li Cho’s movie The Eclipse: Recognized by the Sound is a visual balm on the viewers’ minds. In this movie, Elly makes a collage of the fragmented memories of her childhood and presents a heart wrenching real life incident in front of her audience. The subject of the movie is extremely personal and Elly’s brilliant direction makes the movie more poignant and painful. The movie has autobiographical elements present in it. The incidents in the film traverse over the temporal boundaries of the present and past, making the line between reality and illusion slowly fade away. 

Her camera travels across the streets of Seoul and London and through Jeju island, capturing the beauty of each place in their glory.

Eclipses often represent obliteration, fear, and the overthrow of the natural order of things in the mythology and literature of different cultures and different ages. It was a fateful eclipse day in 1999, Elly lost her brother. Elly was not around him in his final moments and whatever is left to her is just a piece of collective memory and collective recollection. Her brother’s final moment remains a mystery to her. This mysticism is something that she uses in her movies, signifying her loss and missed moments.

Cho’s movie is a visual treat and it has immense therapeutic elements that ensure a healing journey on the viewers’ part. Each frame of this movie is interconnected like a story. The frames give out a kaleidoscopic view and show life as it is. The film is borne out of pain, memory and love, and every single moment is a reminder of that love. Elly’s brother whom she had lost almost 25 years back. Her memory is unreliable and this pain of forgetfulness echoes eerily throughout the movie. Elly’s art attempts to reconcile the past with the present which in turn inspires her viewers to reflect on the landscapes of their personal and cultural histories. Through her art she seeks to instil in the viewers a highly charged but nostalgic awareness of things that are lost in the past.

The film not only focuses on the memory and recollection, but also shows how to process trauma and eventually overcome it. Elly’s art is her tribute to her brother whom she could not say goodbye to, and it is undoubtedly one of the beautiful depictions of human life.The movie is both a figment of Elly’s mind and a story grounded in reality, an extremely difficult feat that many filmmakers fail to achieve.

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