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Indie film Han Gong-ju boosted by favorable word of mouth

After garnering praise at last year’s Busan International Film Festival, Han Gong-ju debuted on big screens last week to positive reviews from the press and initial audiences. Given the favorable response after its film festival showings, the movie was released on April 17th at 181 theaters — pretty unheard of for a smaller, indie film. It sold over 10,000 tickets on opening day, and due to strong word of mouth, still had daily ticket sales hovering near that amount five days later; the current tally for ticket sales over its first six days totals 84,000, though the number is still climbing.

In addition to its strong premiere at BIFF, Han Gong-ju took the top prize at last December’s Marrakech Film Festival, where first-time director Lee Su-jin’s effort was lauded by the jury, which included the likes of actress Marion Cotillard and directors Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook. The movie went on to win a handful of other prizes on the international film festival circuit.

The film stars Chun Woo-hee (Sunny, Vampire Idol) as Han Gong-ju, a 17-year-old teen who is forced to transfer schools after witnessing a tragic event in her hometown. She is sent to live with the mother of a former teacher (played by Lee Young-ran), who is initially grumpy but eventually warms to her new ward. Gong-ju adjusts well at the new school, slowly makes new friends, and is almost able to forget the past, but it comes back to haunt her as parents from her former high school begin to contact her.

While covering heavy material, the movie is being billed overall as an optimistic, albeit tearjerker of a, narrative — a coming-of-age story loosely based on real-life events, a fact which adds a layer of poignancy to the tale. Both Chun Woo-hee and Lee Young-ran are receiving acclaim for their acting performances, and a complimentary but slightly spoiler-ish review by The Hollywood Reporter can be read here. While the little indie was expected to do well domestically, the film has exceeded expectations and seems to be on a path to becoming one of the year’s sleeper hits.

Via Sports World

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Today it was announced this film is going to be shown in Sitges – International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, next October. I am /so/ going to see it if I'm here in Barcelona :) Maybe there it will get another award, seeing how well it's doing in both the international and national festival circuit... We'll see.

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I would love to see the movie
Sorry for the off topic but pls who knows where I can download the coffee prince 'NOVEL' by lee sun mi english translation online free.pls juseyo I really want to read that novel (۳º̩̩́_º̩̩̀)۳

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I would love to see the movie
Sorry for the off topic but pls who knows where I can download the coffee prince 'NOVEL' by lee sun mi english translation online for free.pls juseyo I really want to read that novel (۳º̩̩́_º̩̩̀)۳

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Oops sawry *in cheong song yi's voice*
Sorry for the double post

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Managed to catch this film earlier in March at the Deauville Asian Film Festival and I must say it was a really strong movie. If you have a chance to watch it, please do! It is pretty heavy material though, so be mentally prepared. :P

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It's really a shame that more Korean movies don't cover incidents and problems like this a lot more, but it is pretty rare. The only similar movie I know of is "Silenced".

Korean TV dramas - even cable - avoid such issues and subjects like the plague. Perhaps, like the Japanese media and entertainment industry did a long time ago, they prefer to just sweep it under the rug and hide it from the outside world to "save face".

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Hmm I haven't actually watched "Silenced" but after reading more about it, I feel like I should take the time to!

I feel like these issues are uncomfortable to nearly everyone, and that's why movies or dramas about them are pretty rare. But that's also what makes the movies which are filmed about such issues even more outstanding, in a sense? It does bother me, though, that issues like that are so willingly covered up and swept under the rug. Watching Han Gong Ju really left me trembling in my seat in a mix of indignation, sadness and fear after the movie was over, and it took a few days before I got over the emotional experience of watching the film.

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Over the years I have seen probably 300 or so Korean Dramas, and have never ever seen that or any similar issues dealt with at all. The closest that any of them come is they occasionally cover something about school bullying, but far too often even then they manage to totally trivialize it.

I wonder how well some kind of "true events" type show would work in Korea, perhaps 2 episodes a month in movie format that actually dug into such happenings and presented real facts, not candy coated aegyo doormat girls?

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Would love to see it.

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Thank you awcoconuts, for bringing this movie to our awareness. I will keep an eye out for it. I am curious about the tragic events that happened in the heroine's hometown, and how she slowly made her way back from surviving those events.

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Her character was so complex in Sunny... and sad too.

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Who did she played in Sunny? I can't seem to remember, is she the one who cut the pretty girl face?

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very nice trajectory - from Sunny to the inanely ridiculously funny Vamp Idol to this... go go go Chun Woohee!

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The movie got generally good but somewhat mixed reviews from other places - mainly because of the overuse of flashbacks.

That said, it is pretty uncommon for Korean films (and extremely rare for Korean dramas) to address such issues and subjects, and that is no doubt part of it's appeal - much like the film "Silenced".

And I look at that as one of the major failures of Korean TV dramas, as the industry seems almost happy to totally ignore any controversial subjects. This line from another review says a lot: "..to the point where people distance themselves from her or aggressively label her a liar to shield themselves from shame."

Read more: http://twitchfilm.com/2013/10/biff-2013-the-devastating-han-gong-ju-is-busans-hidden-gem.html#ixzz2zqrTs7dx

This is the incident the movie is based on (it has spoilers) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miryang_gang_rape

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Thank you for putting that link up until then I was desperately trying to figure out WHAT the incident, and therefore, the movie was about.

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We have all seen how badly Korean police are treated in most k-dramas - perhaps most of it is true. See: http://www.koreabang.com/2012/stories/friend-of-rapist-becomes-police-officer-netizens-disgusted.html

Spoiler, it is related to this movie.

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Whoa i thought that was i'm joo eun at first before i read the post

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omg thank you for the news.

i'm always on the lookout for awesome movies. will check this out in the theaters or DVD when it comes out in the states :)

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I need to watch this!!! I would admit I found "Silenced" too hard to watch, but I still "enjoy" watching similar films.

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If you thought Silenced was tough to watch, this is even more so, especially if you dig a bit into the actual events it is based on.

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reading your comments and the links inserted here I assume it is very heartbreaking movie. *crying*

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Wahh, that third picture from the bottom, the girl on the right really looks like Im Soo-Jung.

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I wish they would show the movie on the theaters here :(

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I just read the part about the girlfirend of one of the supposed (I say supposed because it seems NO ONE was ever convicted) is now a police officer in the town where this happened. Either she is stupid or innocent. I'm thinking the first based on some of the evidence the website had. Is this common? I watch dramas and movies from everywhere and am old enough to know humans are horrible to each other but this....there is not much to say is there?

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It is stupid - both on her part, and on the part of the police. And apparently there was a LOT of outrage over it, but was never able to find out how it all ended. Particularly disgusting was the essay part on her application, about how she was able to asses if girls "had invited being raped" (boiled down version).

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Last year, this topic was in the news and there was a Kdrama based on that event. More than few were upset and felt this topic should not be in a drama, especially since the victim was played by a 13 year old Kim So-Hyun.

In real life it was a pre-teen girl who did not survive the brutal beating.

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Which drama was that? I cannot find anything that looks similar in Kim So-Hyun's bio.

I think you are referring to the Jeom-Deok Kim case, where a 45 year old multiple repeat sex offender killed the nine-year neighbor girl?

In the past few years there has been a lot of outrage over the extremely lax treatment of rape cases by police, and the often very light or no sentences for sex offenders. In the case above, he was a 12 time offender, yet only served like 4 years and was not monitored.

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I believe it was the drama Missing You where Kim So Hyun played thr younger version of Yoon Eun Hye.

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Thanks awcoconuts for bringing this movie to our attention. I'll keep my eyes and ears open for it. I do love this kind of movies.

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