Tuesday, 14 April 2015


Few films are both bleak and beautiful, but Lee Sujin's debut feature is an uplifting tragedy anchored by a mesmerising lead turn. Chun Woo-hee (Thread of Lies) stars as the titular heroine, and she is most certainly a heroine, in a film based on a devastating real-life case of violence that shocked Korea in 2004. 

Because of the way the story unfolds, it would be a shame to give away any more details, but the chances of you forgetting this sublime Korean drama are next to nothing.

Chun Woo-hee won Best Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards for her sublime portrayal, an irresistible performance you won't take your eyes off for a second. She plays a glum high school girl forced to transfer to a new school in an unfamiliar city. With her family nowhere to be found, Gong-ju is placed in the care of a teacher's mother while matters are sorted out. 

Gong-ju wants to move on, keeping herself to herself and refusing to stand out. When her new classmates discover she can sing, they do their best to recruit her into the choir. Just as Gong-ju starts to live a little, her past catches up with her and the truth behind her transfer comes to light.

Han Gong-ju has a lot of fans, not least Martin Scorsese, who praised the film for its imagery, sound design, editing and performance. He's not wrong. Lee Sujin has crafted a remarkable piece of work, both unsettling and inspiring, aided by a universally excellent cast and crew. 

Lee Young-ran is steely but sensitive as Han Gong-ju's carer, and Jung In-sun radiates warmth as Eun-hee, a new friend who refuses to give up on her mysterious new classmate. Both relationships are essential to the narrative, not least because all of the characters (besides Eun-hee) have their own demons to hide. 

While the events that took place are harrowing enough, it's the aftermath that drives a knife through the heart of contemporary cinema. The reaction of those closest to Gong-Ju and the lack of compassion she garners is what cuts deepest, in a world where sympathy is hard to find and truth can be an ugly word. 

Chun Woo-hee is mesmerising in the lead role, handling the complexities of distance and warmth with aplomb. The final moments are equal parts tragic, uplifting and inspiring. A rare feat in this day and age.


  1. 10 Great Japanese Movies With No Blood! http://relaxingblogger.blogspot.com/

  2. Thanks for that. Gotta say, a lot of these movies are new to us so cheers :)