Gang In-ho, who is working to earn money for his daughter's surgery, is appointed to a school for hearing-impaired children in Gwangju. But what he discovers there is an ugly truth: the ... See full summary »
New high-school transfer student Na-Mi comes from a small town in Jeolla Province to her new school in the capital city of Seoul. When she is nervous, her small town dialect comes out & she... See full summary »
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Bryce Dallas Howard
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Gang In-ho, who is working to earn money for his daughter's surgery, is appointed to a school for hearing-impaired children in Gwangju. But what he discovers there is an ugly truth: the children are being physically and sexually abused by their teachers. When he decides to fight for the children's rights and expose the crimes being committed at the school, In-ho teams up with human rights activist Seo Yu-jin. But he and Yu-jin soon realize the school's principal and teachers, and even the police, prosecutors and churches in the community are actually trying to cover up the truth. Written by
Stanislav S, Sochi, Russia
Dogani (The Crucible), or Silenced as it has been titled for international release, is the latest piece of essential cinema to come out of South Korea. The film has already built itself a legacy for drawing attention to some horrific real world events and audiences outside of Asia are now given the chance to see it.
The plot, based on a true story, follows Gang In-ho (Yoo Gong) who takes on a teaching job at a school for the hearing-impaired. Early on, it's clear that something is not quite right at the Benevolence Academy, as Gang is forced to pay a bribe just to secure the role. It's not long before he witnesses, to his horror, a pupil being physically beaten by one of the staff. But this, it turns out, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Gang works with Seo Yoo-jin (Yu-mi Jeong, recognisable from A Bittersweet Life), a human rights activist, to expose the wrongdoing at the school. They are met with various obstacles along the way, from corrupt law enforcement agencies to a church with misplaced faith. It's a heartbreaking journey as we learn what the children at the school have gone through and we see some terrible scenes of abuse. The only ray of light which really escapes this film is the knowledge that it led to the re-opening of the real world case.
Silenced is exceptionally well made, as has become a staple of Korean cinema. It's immaculately shot in the distinct Korean style, with a colour palette to match the darkness of the content. The performances are incredibly moving, particularly those of the children. Yoo Gong is also worthy of a mention for his role as the stoic protagonist. Whilst he's not quite a hero in the film, he represents a real driving force for good.
In the past decade, Korea has become the home of powerful cinema. The revenge flicks have gained the most attention from the West but many others go beyond this theme. Such films examine the state of Korean society and their values systems and are clearly relevant to a domestic audience but there is also a relevance to an international audience as they look at the wider concept of man's inhumanity to man. They may take place in a different part of the world but they are just as meaningful and the insight into another culture makes for compelling viewing.
As the name suggests, Silenced is a story of suffering which would have otherwise been kept quiet. It's definitely not light Saturday night viewing but it's a film that deserves to be seen.
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