Hope (2013 film)

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Hope
Wish poster.jpg
Hangul 소원
Hanja
Revised Romanization Sowon
McCune–Reischauer Sowŏn
Directed by Lee Joon-ik
Produced by Byun Bong-hyun
Seong Chang-yeon
Kim Yong-dae
Written by Jo Joong-hoon
Kim Ji-hye
Starring Sol Kyung-gu
Uhm Ji-won
Lee Re
Music by Bang Jun-seok
Cinematography Kim Tae-gyeong
Edited by Kim Sang-bum
Kim Jae-bum
Distributed by Lotte Entertainment
Release date
  • October 2, 2013 (2013-10-02)
Running time
122 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office US$17.1 million[1]

Hope (Hangul소원; RRSowon), 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.[2] It won Best Film at the 34th Blue Dragon Film Awards.[3][4][5][6]

The film is based on a true story, the infamous Nayoung Case in 2008, in which an 8-year-old girl, named "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 brutality of the crime and the man's history of physical and sexual violence.[7]

Plot[edit]

A young girl named So-won lives an idyllic life with her working class parents Dong-hoon and Mi-hee. One day on her way to school, So-won is kidnapped, beaten and raped by a drunken male stranger and left for dead. Fortunately, she survives and is able to call an ambulance.

The police notify Dong-hoon and Mi-hee of the attack and they rush to the emergency ward. Upon their arrival at the hospital, they are horrified by the extent of So-won's injuries. So-won suffers from multiple internal injuries and has to undergo major surgeries. Dong-hoon is advised by a surgeon that So-won will have to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of her life. Once So-won regains consciousness, she is able to identify her attacker with the help of Jung-sook, a psychiatrist.

So-won's attacker is arrested at his home, and the case becomes a media sensation much to the horror of her family and friends. When the reporters converge at the hospital, Dong-hoon takes So-won to a different room and hides her from the media attention. So-won exhibits symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and briefly mistakes her father as her attacker, telling him to go away as he tries to fix her colostomy bag. Dong-hoon is heartbroken by this episode, and is further hurt when So-won refuses to look at him or speak to him.

Mi-hee initially refuses psychological help for her daughter as she wishes for So-won to resume her normal life without interruption. However, she relents after understanding her daughter's mental state and enlists the help of Jung-sook. Dong-hoon struggles to pay for medical expenses and calls his friend and manager, Gwang-sik, with the intent of quitting his job to help take care of his family. Gwang-sik is aware of Dong-hoon's situation and convinces him to keep his job, also helping to pay for the medical expenses.

Mi-hee and her friends rent mascot costumes to play with So-won to help cheer her up; this gives Dong-hoon the idea to hide underneath the costume of his daughter's favorite cartoon character, Cocomong, in order to communicate with her. Gradually, So-won's physical condition improves and she is able to return home. She and her parents are touched by the community's support; their home has been cleaned and decorated with notes of encouragement during their absence.

Dong-hoon resumes work but also finds the time to dress up as Cocomong and accompany So-won on her way to and from school. Soon, her mental state improves and she realises that her father has been hiding underneath the costume the entire time. Touched by his love and concern for her, she takes off the head of the costume and is able to look at her father for the first time since her hospitalisation.

The family is worried about the upcoming trial as So-won has to testify against her attacker. With great effort, they attend the trial and So-won describes what happened during the attack and identifies her attacker. Unfortunately, the man is only sentenced to nine years in prison, angering So-won's family and friends. A fight breaks out with Dong-hoon intending to kill the attacker. So-won stops Dong-hoon and begs him to take her home, calming him down. The family leaves the courtroom.

Some time later, Mi-hee has given birth to a son and is congratulated by family and friends, including Jung-sook and Gwang-sik. In the closing narration, So-won confides that she still struggles mentally and often has to leave school early, though the birth of her brother has given her a renewed sense of purpose.

Cast[edit]

Background[edit]

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.[8][9] 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.[10]

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.[11][12] 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.[13][14] Prosecutor-General Kim Joon-gyu later apologized to the family.[15] 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.[16]

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 Hope, casting top actor Sol Kyung-gu in one of the lead roles.[17] 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."[18] 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, Hope 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."[7]

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."[19]

Shooting began in Changwon on April 13, 2013.[18] Throughout the filming, Sol stayed in character as So-won's father, wearing his character's clothes all the time.[19] The film wrapped on June 24, 2013 in Busan; the entire cast attended the final day of filming.

Reception[edit]

Hope 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.[20] On October 9, a public holiday, Hope 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.[21] 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.[22][23][24] 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.[25][26] At the end of its run, its total admissions stood at 2,711,003, with a gross of ₩18,529,474,100.

Hope 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."[27]

It was invited to be the opening film of the 8th Festival du Film Coréen à Paris ("Korean Film Festival in Paris") in 2013,[28] and shortly after, was also shown at the London Korean Film Festival.[29]

Hope 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 have strength."[4] Ra again won at the KOFRA Film Awards (organized by the Korean Film Reporters Association),[30] and Uhm Ji-won won Best Actress at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.[31]

Apart from accolades from critics and audiences for "its focus on family, heartfelt emotion and feel-good message,"[32] 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,"[4] and that "it is too idealistic in depicting how the family overcomes the assault,"[19] with some people questioning whether it was right to profit from such a horrible event, no matter the intentions of the filmmaker.[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2013
34th Blue Dragon Film Awards[3][4][5][6]
Best Film Hope Won
Best Director Lee Joon-ik Nominated
Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Nominated
Best Actress Uhm Ji-won Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Ra Mi-ran Won
Best Screenplay Jo Joong-hoon, Kim Ji-hye Won
Best Music Bang Jun-seok Nominated
33rd Korean Association of Film Critics Awards[31]
Best Actress Uhm Ji-won Won
Korean Film Actor's Association[33]
Top Film Star Award Uhm Ji-won Won
2014
5th KOFRA Film Awards[30][34]
Best Film Hope Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Ra Mi-ran Won
19th Chunsa Film Art Awards
Best Director Lee Joon-ik Nominated
Best Screenplay Jo Joong-hoon, Kim Ji-hye Nominated
4th Beijing International Film Festival[35][36]
Best Supporting Actress Lee Re Won
50th Baeksang Arts Awards[37][38]
Best Film Hope Nominated
Best Director Lee Joon-ik Nominated
Best Actor Sol Kyung-gu Won
Best Actress Uhm Ji-won Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Ra Mi-ran Nominated
Best New Actress Lee Re Nominated
Best Screenplay Jo Joong-hoon, Kim Ji-hye Won
44th Giffoni Film Festival[39]
Gryphon Award for Best Film (Generator +18) Hope Won
51st Grand Bell Awards[40]
Best Film Hope Nominated
Best Director Lee Joon-ik Nominated
Best Actress Uhm Ji-won Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Ra Mi-ran Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hope (2013)". www.koreanfilm.or.kr. 
  2. ^ Son, Jin-ah (10 March 2013). "Actors of Wish finally decided". StarN News. Retrieved 2013-03-10. 
  3. ^ a b Jackson, Julie (24 November 2013). "Wish snags three wins at Blue Dragon Film Awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d Yim, Seung-hye (25 November 2013). "Blue Dragon winner shocks". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  5. ^ a b Conran, Pierce (25 November 2013). "HOPE Scores Best Film at 34th Blue Dragon Awards". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  6. ^ a b Cremin, Stephen (25 November 2013). "Hope wins through at Blue Dragon Awards". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  7. ^ a b c Sunwoo, Carla (4 October 2013). "Based on infamous rape case, Wish reopens old wounds". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  8. ^ Bae, Hyun-jung (7 January 2010). "Hope of recovery for rape victim". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  9. ^ Schwartzman, Nathan (26 December 2009). "Na-young recovering from rape". Asian Correspondent. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  10. ^ Bae, Hyun-jung (6 October 2009). "Child rape case sparks law revision calls". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  11. ^ "Light jail term for children's rapist enrages Koreans". The Korea Herald. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  12. ^ "Brazen-Faced Rapist: Anger Grows Over Light Punishment on Heinous Crime". The Korea Times. 1 October 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  13. ^ Bae, Hyun-jung (3 November 2009). "Experts call for focus on sexual crime victims". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  14. ^ "Prosecutors Sued for Mishandling Rape Victim". The Korea Times. 15 December 2009. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  15. ^ Park, Si-soo (3 November 2009). "Prosecutors Hit for Crass Handling of Rape Victims". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  16. ^ "Gov't ordered to compensate child rape victim". The Korea Times. 26 October 2011. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  17. ^ Lee, Claire (23 January 2013). "Lee Jun-ik returns after two-year hiatus". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ a b c Lee, Eun-sun (15 October 2013). "Uhm bared face to bare her sou". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  20. ^ Lee, Sun-min (8 October 2013). "Tragic Wish tops weekend box office". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  21. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (11 October 2013). "Box Office: September 26-October 9". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  22. ^ Conran, Pierce (14 October 2013). "JANG Joon-hwan's Comeback Opens Strong". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  23. ^ Lee, Sun-min (15 October 2013). "Revenge-thriller Hwayi leads box office". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  24. ^ Conran, Pierce (25 October 2013). "Box Office: October 10–23". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  25. ^ Conran, Pierce (1 November 2013). "ACCOMPLICES Conspires Its Way to 1 Million Admissions". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  26. ^ Conran, Pierce (8 November 2013). "Box Office: October 24-November 6, 2013". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  27. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (11 October 2013). "HOPE to Open Paris Korean Film Festival". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  28. ^ Chung, Hyun-chae (18 October 2013). "Korean Film Festival to be held in Paris". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  29. ^ Lee, Claire (4 November 2013). "Korean cinema featured in Europe". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  30. ^ a b Conran, Pierce (28 January 2014). "Korean Film Reporters Name SNOWPIERCER Best of 2013". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  31. ^ a b Lee, Hyo-won (18 November 2013). "Snowpiercer Wins Big at South Korean Film Critics Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  32. ^ "Wish (Hope) + Actor Sol Kung-gu Q&A". The London Korean Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  33. ^ Conran, Pierce (30 December 2013). "Achievement Awards for BONG Joon-ho and MOON Byoung-gon". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  34. ^ "Snowpiercer is Korean film reporters' pick of 2013". The Korea Herald. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  35. ^ Lee, Jawon (26 April 2014). "Lee Rae, the child actress in Wish, won the Best Supporting Actress in BJIFF". TenAsia. Archived from the original on 28 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  36. ^ Conran, Pierce (25 April 2014). "HOPE Nabs Award at Beijing Film Fest". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  37. ^ Chung, Joo-won (27 May 2014). "Song Gang-ho, Jun Ji-hyun get top nods at Baeksang Awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  38. ^ 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. 
  39. ^ "The prizes of the Giffoni Experience 44th edition". Giffoni Film Festival. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  40. ^ Kim, June (12 November 2014). "The 51st Daejong Film Awards Nominations Announced". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 

External links[edit]