Lee Su-jen directorial debut feature film Han Gong-Ju (2013), which he also wrote and produced, was inspired by a real life incident that provoked controversy and shocked Korea in 2004, not just due the horrific nature of the crime but also due to the mistreatment of the victim’s and the lenient handling of the accused.
The film follows Han Gong-ju (Chun Woo-hee) a traumatized withdrawn teenage schoolgirl who at the beginning of the movie is forced to change schools, move to a remote town and live with strangers. This follows a horrific incident that is gradually explained in flashbacks as the film unfolds. Although it’s certainly not Gong-ju’s fault it’s her life that is affected. Frightened to make friends at her new school the only things that seem to keep her sane is her swimming lessons and her music. But it’s the music that leads to her exposure.
When it was released in Korea in 2014 it broke the country’s opening day box office records for an independent film and it became one of the most talked about films of that year. To the directors credit the movie concentrates on the victim of a crime and not the crime it self. Chun Woo-hee won a best actress award for her role and you can see why. An exceptional film - but probable not one you will enjoy.