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Ko - production in Busan
  • We Fight, and We Band Together
  • by KIM Hyun-jung /  Nov 08, 2016
  • Korean Films that Women Lead

    MISSING, directed by female director E.oni, will be released on November 30th. The film is a story about a single mother who tries to look for her kid alone after a nanny is gone with the kid. It is one of the few local movies with two women in the title roles. It has been rare to see films with females as the sole lead in domestic films, but they are slowly changing for years. 

    The most recognizable film recently is Coin Locker Girl (2015). It drew attention because it is not only a noir, but also featuring unusual composition of two women’s revenge and confrontation. The film centers on Mother (KIM Hye-soo) who rules Chinatown and orphan Il-young (KIM Go-eun) who was raised by Mother but struggles to pull down her. In addition, KIM Go-eun performed a favor-spite relation with Wol-so (JEON Do-yeon) in a martial art action, Memories of the Sword (2015). 

    Interestingly, JEON Do-yeon has also starred in another women’s two top film, No Blood No Tears (2002) by RYOO Seung-wan when women leading films were even rarer. Former safecracker Gyung-sun (LEE Hye-young) and has-been boxer’s wife Soo-jin (JEON Do-yeon) conspire to do one big job. The film presents strong energy depicting their violent tussles. It is unique that slender actresses JEON Do-yeon and KIM Go-eun took leading roles in violent action movies. 

    Meanwhile, LOVE, LIES delicately portrays two women (HAN Hyo-joo and CHUN Woo-hee) who are in conflict due to art and love. The film was directed by Memories of the Sword director PARK Heung-sik.

    Nevertheless, all Korean female characters do not fight all the time. Sunny (2011) was a greater hit than expected because it captures women’s friendship and loyalty. SHIM Eun-kyoung played the main character’s high days and rose to star thanks to the film. 

    Are women their worst enemies? Or are women their true friends? Local film industry has focused on such a spectral diversity.

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