Gull wins the Grand Prize at the 21st Jeonju International Film Festival
Pre-recorded introduction by Hanbin Kim
Known for frequent depictions of violence against women in her short films, Kim Mijo was recognized as a provocative emerging director when Gull won the Grand Prize at the 21st Jeonju International Film Festival. Kim’s debut feature follows Obok (Jung Ae-hwa), a mother and wife in Seoul who has contentedly sacrificed her own ambitions to support her family. Obok is a stallholder in a food market that is threatened by impending gentrification. Days before her eldest daughter’s wedding, Obok is sexually assaulted by a fellow stallholder, who is also the chairman of the redevelopment committee. She attempts to repress her trauma, but her anger continues to grow until she finally reveals the truth to her eldest daughter and contacts the police. However, justice seems hopeless due to a lack of concern from the authorities. And instead of support from her family and community, Obok is confronted with resentment, shame, and despair — but against all odds, she speaks up to protect her dignity. Gull expresses strong opposition to secondary victimization, which forces the victim to remain silent and distracted from the fact of the actual crime. Kim’s film is a masterful blend of unsettling social issues, compact composition, and the boldness of a new director, making it one of the most dominant Korean films about women in recent years.
Content advisory: themes of and references to sexual assault (implied), violence, coarse language