Hope (2013 film)

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Hope
Wish poster.jpg
Hangul
Revised RomanizationSo-won
McCune–ReischauerSowŏn
Directed byLee Joon-ik
Produced byByun Bong-hyun
Seong Chang-yeon
Kim Yong-dae
Written byJo Joong-hoon
Kim Ji-hye
StarringSol Kyung-gu
Uhm Ji-won
Lee Re
Music byBang Joon-seok
CinematographyKim Tae-gyeong
Edited byKim Sang-beom
Kim Jae-beom
Distributed byLotte Entertainment
Release date(s)
  • October 2, 2013 (2013-10-02)
Running time122 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
LanguageKorean
Box office₩18,529,474,100
 
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Hope
Wish poster.jpg
Hangul
Revised RomanizationSo-won
McCune–ReischauerSowŏn
Directed byLee Joon-ik
Produced byByun Bong-hyun
Seong Chang-yeon
Kim Yong-dae
Written byJo Joong-hoon
Kim Ji-hye
StarringSol Kyung-gu
Uhm Ji-won
Lee Re
Music byBang Joon-seok
CinematographyKim Tae-gyeong
Edited byKim Sang-beom
Kim Jae-beom
Distributed byLotte Entertainment
Release date(s)
  • October 2, 2013 (2013-10-02)
Running time122 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
LanguageKorean
Box office₩18,529,474,100

Hope (Hangul: 소원; RR: So-won), also known as Wish, is a 2013 South Korean film directed by Lee Joon-ik, starring Sol Kyung-gu, Uhm Ji-won and Lee Re.[1] It won Best Film at the 34th Blue Dragon Film Awards and at the 44th Giffoni Experience (category +18).[2][3][4][5]

The film is based on a true story, the infamous Nayoung Case in 2008, in which an 8-year-old girl called "Na-young" in the Korean press, was raped and beaten by a drunk 57-year-old man in a public toilet. The court sentenced the man to only 12 years in prison, which caused outrage in the country due to the terrible brutality of the crime and the man's history of physical and sexual violence.[6]

Plot[edit]

On her way to school, a young girl named So-won (which literally means "wish" or "hope" in Korean) gets sexually assaulted by a drunk older male stranger. As a result, she suffers multiple internal injuries and has to undergo a major surgery, but her emotional wounds are equally difficult to heal. Their happy family shattered, her parents Dong-hoon and Mi-hee go through feelings of pain and rage. From the trauma of that day, So-won refuses to see or talk to her father, so Dong-hoon hides beneath the costume of his daughter's favorite cartoon character and becomes a "guardian angel" at her side. Thanks to the love of those around her, So-won's condition gradually improves. At the sight of So-won slowly finding stability and laughter, her family also begins to change and enters a new phase in their lives, trying to find hope in the midst of their sorrow and despair.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Director Lee Joon-ik had retired briefly from the local film industry following the lackluster commercial performance of his previous effort Battlefield Heroes (2011). He returned two years later with Wish, casting top actor Sol Kyung-gu in one of the lead roles.[7] Lee said he wanted to "make a happy movie that begins with a tragedy. With this heartbreaking material, I wanted to make the film as happy as possible. I am going to present a human drama where hope blooms at the edge of unhappiness and desperation, after a series of ordeals and hardships."[8] He maintained that he made the film to "encourage Na-young and other victims of sex crimes," and that instead of other films with a similar subject matter that focus on sensationalist aspects, like the crime itself, Wish is about "what happens after, and is more about showing how life is good and worth living, emphasizing how the community rallied around the victim."[6]

Actress Uhm Ji-won had previously declined the film two years before, thinking she wasn't talented enough or ready to take on the intense emotions her role (as So-won's mother) required. But when Sol's wife and her close friend Song Yun-ah sent the script to her, Uhm said, "I started to think that this movie was supposed to come to me. I felt that someone should tell this valuable story. And I gained the courage to think that I could try it."[9]

Shooting began in Changwon on April 13, 2013.[8] Throughout the filming, Sol stayed in character as So-won's father, wearing his character's clothes all the time.[9] The film wrapped on June 24, 2013 in Busan; the entire cast attended the final day of filming.

Reception[edit]

Wish was released in theaters on October 2, 2013. It had a soft opening, but through strong word of mouth, the film surpassed Tough as Iron (which opened on the same day), and topped the local box office chart with 1.21 million tickets sold (US$5.2 million) on its first week.[10] On October 9, a public holiday, Wish recorded 210,000 admissions, the daily highest during its screening period. It increased its ticket sales by chalking up a 16% increase from its October 3 tally of 187,804 admissions.[11] By its second week, it had reached 2.4 million admissions (₩11.9 billion), demonstrating it had strong legs by dropping only 8% and 29% in its second and third weekends.[12][13][14] It stayed on the box office top ten in its third week, adding 290,000 to its modest hit status, with 2.67 million admissions.[15][16] At the end of its run, its total admissions stood at 2,711,003, with a gross of ₩18,529,474,100.

Wish was sold to five Asian countries—Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia at the Asian Film Market during the 18th Busan International Film Festival. Hong Kong-based major financing and distribution company EDKO commented on the film as "a warm and considerate account of a highly controversial subject matter."[17]

It was invited to be the opening film of the 8th Festival du Film Coréen à Paris ("Korean Film Festival in Paris") in 2013,[18] and shortly after, was also shown at the London Korean Film Festival.[19]

Wish was the surprise winner for Best Film at the 34th Blue Dragon Film Awards, defeating blockbusters Miracle in Cell No. 7, Snowpiercer and The Face Reader. It also took Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Ra Mi-ran. In her acceptance speech, a tearful Ra said, "I want to say this to the many girls out there who are in suffering like So-won—it's not your fault. It's OK. Please cheer up."[3] Ra again won at the KOFRA Film Awards (organized by the Korean Film Reporters Association),[20] and Uhm Ji-won won Best Actress at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.[21]

Apart from accolades from critics and audiences for "its focus on family, heartfelt emotion and feel-good message,"[22] the film has also drawn criticism for "trying to turn one of the most infamous news stories in recent years into a maudlin piece of mass entertainment,"[3] and that "it is too idealistic in depicting how the family overcomes the assault,"[9] with some people questioning whether it was right to profit from such a horrible event, no matter the intentions of the filmmaker.[6]

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryRecipientResult
2013
34th Blue Dragon Film Awards[2][3][4][5]
Best MusicBang Joon-seokNominated
Best ScreenplayJo Joong-hoon, Kim Ji-hyeWon
Best Supporting ActressRa Mi-ranWon
Best ActorSol Kyung-guNominated
Best ActressUhm Ji-wonNominated
Best DirectorLee Joon-ikNominated
Best FilmWishWon
33rd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards[21]
Best ActressUhm Ji-wonWon
Korean Film Actor's Association[23]
Top Film Star AwardUhm Ji-wonWon
2014
5th KOFRA Film Awards[20][24]
Best Supporting ActressRa Mi-ranWon
Best FilmWishNominated
19th Chunsa Film Art Awards
Best ScreenplayJo Joong-hoon, Kim Ji-hyeNominated
Best DirectorLee Joon-ikNominated
4th Beijing International Film Festival[25][26]
Best Supporting ActressLee ReWon
50th Baeksang Arts Awards[27][28]
Best ScreenplayJo Joong-hoon, Kim Ji-hyeWon
Best New ActressLee ReNominated
Best Supporting ActressRa Mi-ranNominated
Best ActorSol Kyung-guWon
Best ActressUhm Ji-wonNominated
Best DirectorLee Joon-ikNominated
Best FilmWishNominated

Background[edit]

Main article: Nayoung Case

On December 11, 2008, an eight-year-old first grader (known by her pseudonym "Na-young") was on her way to school when she was kidnapped by Cho Doo-soon (Jo Du-sun), a 57-year-old man living in Ansan, who was drunk at the time. Cho repeatedly raped Na-young in an abandoned public church restroom, and as the child resisted, he beat, strangled and attempted to drown her in a toilet until she lost consciousness. Her parents found Na-young near death, and she was taken to a local hospital where after an eight-hour surgery, she had a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit. Doctors said Na-young sustained irreversible damage to her genitals, anus and intestines, which initially required her to wear a colostomy bag to replace her missing organs.[29][30] Cho was arrested three days after the incident; he was a habitual sex offender with 17 prior crimes, and had spent three years in prison for rape in 1983.[31]

Prosecutors had demanded life imprisonment for Cho, and more than 400,000 angry netizens signed a petition at Internet portal site Daum calling for capital punishment. A lower district court sentenced Cho to a 12-year jail term, citing his temporary loss of sound judgment due to inebriation, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2009. This relatively lenient sentence sparked widespread public outrage, prompting even then-President Lee Myung-bak to express regret over the ruling during a Cabinet meeting.[32][33] Cho was incarcerated in a maximum security prison in North Gyeongsang Province.

Na-young's parents, represented by the Korean Bar Association, filed a lawsuit against the prosecution for subjecting their daughter to unnecessary physical and psychological distress; they cited the prosecution's hours-long, extended questioning soon after Na-young underwent major surgery during which she sat in discomfort and was forced to answer the same questions four times due to the prosecutors' inexperience with the electronic recording equipment, their inability to follow protocol in obtaining testimony from a minor (taping her in plain sight of other patients at a hospital ward), and their delay in exhibiting a key piece of evidence (the arrest videotape of Cho) which would have eliminated the need for her to take the witness stand.[34][35] Prosecutor-General Kim Joon-gyu later apologized to the family.[36] In 2011, the appellate division of the Seoul Central District Court upheld the court's previous decision ordering the government to pay ₩13 million (US$11,509) in compensation to Na-young.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Son, Jin-ah (10 March 2013). "Actors of Wish finally decided". StarN News. Retrieved 2013-03-10. 
  2. ^ a b Jackson, Julie (24 November 2013). "Wish snags three wins at Blue Dragon Film Awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d Yim, Seung-hye (25 November 2013). "Blue Dragon winner shocks". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  4. ^ a b Conran, Pierce (25 November 2013). "HOPE Scores Best Film at 34th Blue Dragon Awards". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  5. ^ a b Cremin, Stephen (25 November 2013). "Hope wins through at Blue Dragon Awards". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  6. ^ a b c Sunwoo, Carla (4 October 2013). "Based on infamous rape case, Wish reopens old wounds". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  7. ^ Lee, Claire (23 January 2013). "Lee Jun-ik returns after two-year hiatus". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  8. ^ a b Ji, Yong-jin (25 April 2013). "Charming and Addictive Korean Films, Noteworthy Films on the Horizon: A comforting and healing hand we all might need - Wish". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  9. ^ a b c Lee, Eun-sun (15 October 2013). "Uhm bared face to bare her sou". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  10. ^ Lee, Sun-min (8 October 2013). "Tragic Wish tops weekend box office". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  11. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (11 October 2013). "Box Office: September 26-October 9". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  12. ^ Conran, Pierce (14 October 2013). "JANG Joon-hwan's Comeback Opens Strong". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  13. ^ Lee, Sun-min (15 October 2013). "Revenge-thriller Hwayi leads box office". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  14. ^ Conran, Pierce (25 October 2013). "Box Office: October 10-23". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  15. ^ Conran, Pierce (1 November 2013). "ACCOMPLICES Conspires Its Way to 1 Million Admissions". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  16. ^ Conran, Pierce (8 November 2013). "Box Office: October 24-November 6, 2013". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  17. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (11 October 2013). "HOPE to Open Paris Korean Film Festival". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  18. ^ Chung, Hyun-chae (18 October 2013). "Korean Film Festival to be held in Paris". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  19. ^ Lee, Claire (4 November 2013). "Korean cinema featured in Europe". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  20. ^ a b Conran, Pierce (28 January 2014). "Korean Film Reporters Name SNOWPIERCER Best of 2013". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  21. ^ a b Lee, Hyo-won (18 November 2013). "Snowpiercer Wins Big at South Korean Film Critics Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  22. ^ "Wish (Hope) + Actor Sol Kung-gu Q&A". The London Korean Film Festival. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  23. ^ Conran, Pierce (30 December 2013). "Achievement Awards for BONG Joon-ho and MOON Byoung-gon". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  24. ^ "Snowpiercer is Korean film reporters' pick of 2013". The Korea Herald. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  25. ^ Lee, Jawon (26 April 2014). "Lee Rae, the child actress in Wish, won the Best Supporting Actress in BJIFF". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  26. ^ Conran, Pierce (25 April 2014). "HOPE Nabs Award at Beijing Film Fest". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  27. ^ Chung, Joo-won (2014-05-27). "Song Gang-ho, Jun Ji-hyun get top nods at Baeksang Awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  28. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (28 May 2014). "Jun Ji Hyun and Song Kang Ho Receive Highest Honors at the Baeksang Arts Awards". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  29. ^ Bae, Hyun-jung (7 January 2010). "Hope of recovery for rape victim". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  30. ^ Schwartzman, Nathan (26 December 2009). "Na-young recovering from rape". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  31. ^ Bae, Hyun-jung (6 October 2009). "Child rape case sparks law revision calls". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  32. ^ "Light jail term for children's rapist enrages Koreans". The Korea Herald. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  33. ^ "Brazen-Faced Rapist: Anger Grows Over Light Punishment on Heinous Crime". The Korea Times. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  34. ^ Bae, Hyun-jung (3 November 2009). "Experts call for focus on sexual crime victims". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  35. ^ "Prosecutors Sued for Mishandling Rape Victim". The Korea Times. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  36. ^ Park, Si-soo (3 November 2009). "Prosecutors Hit for Crass Handling of Rape Victims". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  37. ^ "Gov't ordered to compensate child rape victim". The Korea Times. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 

External links[edit]