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Han Gong-Ju is taken to a home in an unfamiliar area. The home belongs to her former high school teacher's mother. The mother wants to know why her son is leaving Han Gong-Ju there, even if he promises she will be there for only a week. An investigation is ongoing back in Han Gong-Ju's hometown. Can Han Gong-Ju escape from her past?Written by
Han Gong-Ju is delicate, intimate and horrible simultaneously.
Yet another soul draining experience where I'm left thinking "no wonder I have no emotions, films just drain them til I have none left". I mean this was powerful without the story being overly heavy handed, an impressive directorial debut from Lee Su Jin. Based on a sexual violence case in 2004, a young girl seemingly attempts to blend in when she transfers to a new school. Unfortunately though, her harrowing past catches up as she struggles to flee from it. It's no spoiler, it's been well documented and is in the synopsis, that the sexual assault was a horrific gang rape. That's not the purpose of this film. This is purely a character study on a psychologically and emotionally damaged girl who has been the victim of a disgusting crime. The sexual scenes were heartbreaking. To see someone go through that is not an easy watch, and is clear why this was an independent film. Any big production studio would've exploited this story and toned down the graphic nature. But it's required. It's a powerful visceral image that enhances the pain and suffering Han Gong-Ju is going through. This is a very intimate and personal character study. Her development as you see her slowly blossom and crawl out of this dark nightmare that is overshadowing her is perfection. Instantly you connect with her. You know from the first few scenes that something has happened to her to cause all of this grief. Chun Woohee gives an understated and nuanced performance, she is able to capture the fragility and tenderness of her character beautifully. The pacing occasionally feels sluggish, but it's dealing with an important subject so I appreciated the fact it took its time. The ending was slightly ambiguous, yet I was still gobsmacked. Han Gong-Ju is yet another brilliant addition to Asian cinema. I would only recommend if you are into serious mature dramas, some scenes will cause discomfort and distress...trust me!
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