Coming from director Min Kyu-dong and Well Go USA is a story of pain, sadness and the memories that are now part of HerStory.
In the 1990’s, a group of women living in Busan are meeting to discuss what else they can do for their community. Business owner Moon Jung-sook (Kim Hee-ae) is dealing with a situation at her travel agency that forces it to pay a fine and lose clients. At home is her rebellious daughter who only seems to listen to the woman they call grannie, Seo Gwi-soon (Moon Sook).
Seo Gwi-soon also has a son at home who is going through mental health issues and when Moon goes to visit Gwi-soon, she sees a woman who is being abused by a family member. Everything is in chaos yet Moon gets involved in trying to find a way to help a group of elderly Korean women who were forced to be comfort women (sexual slavery) by the Japanese soldiers in World War II.
Deciding to get their stories together and find an attorney willing to represent them, a court case is being set up in Shimonoseki. The Japanese government tried everything possible to look for holes in the women’s cases and statements. As each woman testifies as to what happened to them, it isn’t until one woman opens the door wide open providing visual proof of the trauma that still haunts her.
This is their story, their truth and understanding that what they want as a result of the case may not be possible. Now the question becomes, can they live with that?
Kim Hee-ae as Moon Jung-sook is an aggressive and stubborn business woman. Once she sets her sights on something, she will not quit until the issue is resolved. This makes her the perfect person to go after the Japanese government on behalf of the women. Starting out knowing just a bit about their stories, in the courtroom she is stunned the things she hears. Hee-ae is wonderful in this role and her characters motives have may started one way but changes Hee-ae’s character into so much more.
Moon Sook as Seo Gwi-soon is a woman who has lived with her trauma for years. Trying to be a part of the court case, it becomes clear that she is hesitant and untrusting. Then again why would she trust anyone with what she knows. Moon Sook gives us the performance of a woman getting older and still dealing with old trauma mixed with new. Part of that is a haunting secret that will shock everyone she knows. Moon Soon’s performance is stellar and breaks the heart.
Other cast include Kim Hae-sook as Bae Jung-gil, Ye Soo-jung as Park Soon-nyeo, Lee Yong-nyeo as Lee Ok-joo, Kim Sun-young as President Shin, Kim Jun-han as Lee Sang-il, Lee Yong-lee as Yoo So-deuk, Jung In-gi as Choi, Choi Byung-mo as Soon-mo, Lee Seol as Hye-soo, Lee Ji-ha as Director, Kim In-woo as Presiding judge, Yokouchi Hiroki as the Japanese prosecutor, Han Ji-min as Teacher and Kim Lee-woo as Hawyer Hashimoto Shinobu.
Well Go USA Entertainment is a theatrical and home entertainment company specializing in bringing the best Action, Genre and Independent films from around the world to North American markets. As a leader in independent film distribution, Well Go USA Entertainment’s titles can be seen across a variety of platforms including theatrical, digital, subscription and cable VOD, packaged media and broadcast television. Well Go USA Entertainment currently releases three to five films per month. To see more please visit www.wellgousa.com.
This sub-titled film is based on the real-life story of these women who were tagged ‘comfort women’ but were truly used as sex slaves and given no way out. From 1932 to 1945, Korean women became part of the human trafficking by the Japanese government. Captured from Japanese-occupied territories and taken away from their families, young women (some as young as early teens) were subjected to sexual violence.
The women dealt with diseases and even pregnancies due to the sexual abuse. It is estimated that ninety percent of these women did not survive the war. Even worse, after the war not only did some of the ‘comfort stations’ continue, but Japan denied that they ever existed.
HerStory is a look at the few remaining women who had the chance to talk about their experience. What they lost, how their lives have been and the shame they have carried for something that was not their fault in any way. Director Min Kyu-dong has brought the story to light with such emotion and shares with the audience their story that needed to be told.
In the end – not history but HerStory!