Han Gong-ju

Han Gong-ju ★★★★★

With an intricate, puzzling narrative that gradually reveals the past as the present moves forward, 'Han Gong-ju' becomes an enigmatic and suspenseful portrayal of a young high-school girl who is on the run from the past.

A pleasure of storytelling avoiding the traditional structures and schemes, 'Han Gong-ju' slowly unravels the tragic event which is the whole premise of the film. Perhaps too slowly, because as more of the films essential plot is revealed, more questions arise, which are then left undressed.

The perfomance from Chun Woo-hee as the titular character is equally riveting as it is disturbing. Riveting, because she masterfully handles the carefully navigated emotions of a young girl alone in the world. Disturbing, because she efficiently expresses the cold, traumatized demeanor of a victim of a devastating offence. When the storytelling falters, Chun Woo-hee easily becomes the driving force of the film.

Through strong word-of-mouth and raving critics, 'Han Gong-ju' became a box-office hit, rare for independent productions nowadays. Perhaps its due to the real life case it was based on? Comparisons to 'Bleak Night' is inevitable as both films show that South-Korea has a thriving filmscene. And just perhaps, it is to the indie scene one should look to find the gems of South-Korea in the future.