This week we’re watching a true life inspiration of the story of Han Gong-ju. Embellished with tidy plot devices and neat sub-plots, the very essence of the true life story isn’t overpowered. Han Gong-ju is a heavy film and includes many disturbing and uncomfortable scenes. It was inspired by the infamous Miryang gang rape case of 2004.

This film contains themes of rape, abuse and sensitive subjects.

Han Gong Ju is a social drama that takes a coming of age story to new depths. After an incident in a quiet Korean village, Gong ju transfers to a new school and lives with the mother of one of her old school teachers. Lonely and distant, she reluctantly befriends a group of girls who are part of an acapella choir at school. They recognise Gong-ju’s musical and vocal talent and are keen for her to join. Her past is forever lurking in between scenes and the viewer remains shrouded in complete mystery until the pieces of the puzzle are pieced together.

The beauty of this film lies in the reveal of each piece of Gong-ju’s past and the incident that was so series, she is abandoned by her parents and forced to isolate herself. The director chooses an enigmatic approach to the plot where the viewer is left confused about the jumping timeline and sequences. The only fault with the films arrangement is the transition between past and present which could have done with some clarification. It is difficult to distinguish what is part of her story and what is happening in the moment. The crime is fundamentally astounding and carries a heavy weight on such delicate shoulders. Han Gong Ju ia tries to rebuild her life without a stigma to her name and detaches herself completely. She is a victim of social injustice and with the ending fleshing out her backstory, you’ll be wondering how she could ever be considered guilty.


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