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Filmed shamefully, I hide myself; you still laugh unpunished.

Filmed shamefully, I hide myself; you still laugh unpunished.

Posted April. 12, 2024 07:54,   

Updated April. 12, 2024 07:54


Here is a middle-aged woman named Jeong-sun, who has lived a humble, modest life, just as her name implies. Next Wednesday, "Jeong-sun” will premiere to portray how this woman’s boringly ordinary life is shattered after she falls victim to a digital sex crime. Invited to as many as 19 international film festivals across the globe, it was highly acknowledged for its cinematic quality and value by winning the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actress at the 17th Rome Film Festival.

Every morning, Jeong-sun wakes up to an alarm in a cramped apartment unit in a small town. Getting ready for work, she leaves home for a food factory, where she is called an "aunt.” Wearing white hygiene apparel unintentionally makes it hard to distinguish her from her peers. She seems busy dealing with a moody boss who is way younger all day. She feels sorry about her daughter, a bride-to-be tightening her belt to save pennies, but has little help to offer to make things better. The mother only stuffs containers with side dishes she cooks for her daughter. There is nothing special about her ordinary days.

One day, she gets to know Yeong-su, who will later have a detrimental influence on her mundane, typical daily life. She is drawn to this man who joins this factory after getting injured while working as a temporary construction laborer. As she has feelings for Yeong-su, who lives in a rented inn room, they get closer to each other. Going for a drive around a nearby lake before work, she feels that she is just who she is – not an aunt or mother but Jeong-sun.

Unfortunately, her brief feelings of happiness fall apart overnight. Yeong-su shows their colleagues a video of Jeong-sun spending a romantic night singing before him. It spreads throughout the company community. Deeply shocked and shamed, Jeong-sun coops herself up in her home afterward. One day, she sees Young-su doing just great, even with a smile, as if nothing had happened, which leads her to pluck up the courage to come forward and confront him.

Director Jeong Ji-hye's first full-length film graphically details a nightmare that this middle-aged woman has after private footage gets leaked without her consent. "I want to spotlight those who are excluded, marginalized, and scarred by prejudice,” the director said.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com