Country: South Korea
Movie Review: Lee Su-jin's fantastic directorial debut, “Han Gong-ju”, is a poignant drama whose title was taken from the name of its main character, a teenager girl who is transferred to a new school, trying to adapt to a new life. Isolated and quiet, Gong-ju is visibly tormented with something that we aren’t able to perceive at first. Little by little, and in an intelligent way, the story is unfolded and shocking revelations finally makes us understand the reasons behind the young girl’s detachment. Completely abandoned by a drunken father and a freshly married mother, Gong-ju was raped by a gang of kids whose parents have social influence, only trusting in a former teacher who tried to help her the best way he could. Her talent for music was noticed by some new colleagues who gave her a boost, trying to get closer, but will Gong-ju be capable to forget her past and freely accept her gift? A demanding narrative structure didn’t frighten the newcomer director whose work was noteworthy, collecting prizes in festivals such as Pusan, Rotterdam, Deauville, Marrakech and Fribourg. Chun Woo-hee’s second performance in a feature film, after her appearance in Bong Joon-ho’s “Mother”, was also accurate and convincing. This is a sad, unsettling film that requires a deep reflection after observing its atrocious scenes. It might not be an easy watching story but a hint of hope allows us to breathe at the end, in a drama where a new writer/director emerged to be considered a valid one in the modern Korean cinema.