New York Premiere

Q&A with director Lee Su-jin

Praised by Martin Scorsese, who presented it with the Golden Star for Best Film at the Marrakech International Film Festival last year, the feature debut from writer-director Lee Su-jin has walked a path strewn with prizes since it premiered at the 2013 Busan International Film Festival, where it won two awards, and went on to win the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. A devastating portrait of South Korea’s blame culture, embedded cronyism and destructive family pressures, the film follows a high-school girl, by the name of Han Gong-ju, as she seeks anonymity and escape from the horror of an unnamed past experience. Han Gong-ju focuses largely on the aftermath, rather than the event itself. Refreshingly free of self-pitying trauma, the film offers the beautiful character of a young girl, almost a woman, who, in the face of social stigmatization, stands radiant, strong, and self-reliant… not given easily to tears and only wanting to rebuild her life after moving away from home. With her mother divorced and her father on the bottle, Gong-ju works out her own problems, fiercely defending her privacy from new school friends. Strong, compelling, and anchored by a superb lead performance by Chun Woo-hee, Han Gong-ju is a standout social and psychological drama. Presented with the support of the Korea Society.