Silenced (film)

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The Crucible-poster.jpg
Film poster
Revised RomanizationDogani
Directed byHwang Dong-hyuk
Produced byUhm Yong-hun
Bae Jeong-min
Na Byung-joon
Written byHwang Dong-hyuk
Based onThe Crucible
by Gong Ji-young
StarringGong Yoo
Jung Yu-mi
Music byMowg
CinematographyKim Ji-yong
Edited byHahm Sung-won
Samgeori Pictures
Distributed byCJ Entertainment
Release date
  • 22 September 2011 (2011-09-22)
Running time
125 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Korean Sign Language
Box officeUS$30.7 million[1]

Silenced (Hangul도가니; RRDogani; MRTogani; English: "The Crucible") is a 2011 South Korean drama film based on the novel The Crucible by Gong Ji-young,[2] starring Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi. It is based on actual events that took place at Gwangju Inhwa School for the hearing-impaired, where young deaf students were the victims of repeated sexual assaults by faculty members over a period of five years in the early 2000s.[3][4]

Depicting both the crimes and the court proceedings that let the teachers off with minimal punishment, the film sparked public outrage upon its September 2011 release, which eventually resulted in a reopening of the investigations into the incidents. With over 4 million people in Korea having watched the film, the demand for legislative reform eventually reached its way to the National Assembly of South Korea, where a revised bill, dubbed the Dogani Bill, was passed in late October 2011 to abolish the statute of limitations for sex crimes against minors and the disabled.[5]


Kang In-ho is the newly appointed art teacher at Benevolence Academy, a school for hearing-impaired children in the fictional city of Mujin, North Jeolla Province. He has a dark past - his wife committed suicide a year ago, and his sick daughter is under the care of his mother. He is excited to teach his new students, yet the children are aloof and distant, trying to avoid running into him as much as possible. In-ho does not give up trying to show the kids that he cares. When the children finally open up, In-ho faces the shocking and ugly truth about the school and what the students have been enduring in secret: the children are being physically and sexually abused by their teachers. When he decides to fight for the children's rights and expose the crimes being committed at the school, In-ho teams up with human rights activist Seo Yoo-jin, but he and Yoo-jin soon realize the school's principal and teachers, and even the police, prosecutors and churches in the community are actually trying to cover up the truth.[6][7][8][9] In addition to using "privileges of former post" (Jeon-gwan ye-u) the accused do not hesitate to lie and bribe their way to get very light sentences. Using their last night of freedom to go out partying, the Lee brothers are last seen laughing that the judge was so easy to pay off for a light sentence. As Park leaves the party and walks home, he bumps into Min-su along the way. Attempting to force the boy to come to his home to be raped once more , Park is shocked when Min-su stabs him in the side with a knife, having fallen into despair at his grandmother giving away his chance to put Park away for good. Park, brushing off the stabbing, smacks Min-su to the ground, where he begins viciously beating and kicking the boy, proclaiming that before he goes to prison, he's going to beat Min-su to death. As he prepares to finish Min-su off, Park is overpowered by the boy, who flings the both off them onto a nearby railroad track. As a coming train barrels toward them, Park begins screaming at Min-su, but, using Park's knife wound, keeps Park held down. Ultimately, the train runs over both the screaming Park and Min-su, the latter refusing to let the rapist get away with his acts, and they are both killed by the train.


  • Gong Yoo - Kang In-ho
  • Jung Yu-mi - Seo Yoo-jin
  • Kim Hyun-soo - Yeon-doo
  • Jung In-seo - Yoo-ri
  • Baek Seung-hwan - Min-su
  • Kim Ji-young - In-ho's mother
  • Jang Gwang - headmaster twin brothers
  • Im Hyeon-seong - Young-hoon
  • Kim Joo-ryung - Yoon Ja-ae
  • Um Hyo-sup - police officer Jang
  • Jeon Kuk-hwan - Attorney Hwang
  • Choi Jin-ho - prosecutor
  • Kwon Yoo-jin - judge
  • Park Hye-jin - headmaster's wife
  • Kim Ji-young - Sol-yi
  • Eom Ji-seong - Young-soo
  • Lee Sang-hee - auto repair shop owner
  • Nam Myung-ryul - Professor Kim Jung-woo
  • Jang So-yeon - courtroom sign language interpreter
  • Hong Suk-youn - school custodian/guard


The film sparked public outcry over lenient court rulings, prompting police to reopen the case and lawmakers to introduce bills for the human rights of the vulnerable.[10] Four out of the six teachers at the Gwangju Inhwa School for whom serious punishment was recommended by the education authority were reinstated after they escaped punishment under the statute of limitations.[11] Only two of them were convicted of repeated rapes of eight young students and received jail terms of less than a year.[12] 71-year-old ex teacher Kim Yeong-il recently claimed that two children had died when the incident took place in 1964, after which he was beaten and forced to resign his job by the vice principal.[13][14] Two months after the film's release and resulting controversy, Gwangju City officially shut down the school in November 2011.[15] In July 2012, the Gwangju District Court sentenced the 63-year-old former administrator of Gwangju Inhwa School to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting an 18-year-old student in April 2005. He was also charged with physically abusing another 17-year-old student who had witnessed the crime (the victim reportedly attempted to commit suicide afterward). The administrator, only identified by his surname Kim, was also ordered to wear an electronic anklet for 10 years following his release.[16][17]


In Korea the film ranked #1 for three consecutive weeks and grossed ₩7.8 billion in its first week of release[18][19] and grossed a total of ₩35 billion after ten weeks of screening.[20][21]

After the film's release, the bestselling book of the same name by author Gong Ji-young, which first recounted the crimes and provided the bulk of the film’s content, topped national bestseller lists for the first time in two years.[5] Ruling conservative political party Grand National Party (GNP) then called for an investigation into Gong Ji-young for engaging in "political activities", a move that was met with public derision.[22]

It received the Audience Award at the 2012 Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy.[23]

Conversations about the film and its impact re-emerged when the Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI) released its annual survey of the year’s top ten consumer favorites on December 7, 2011. Based on a poll of market analysts and nearly 8,000 consumers, SERI’s "Korea’s Top Ten Hits of 2011" ranked Silenced among the year’s top events.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2011 32nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Film Silenced Nominated
Best Director Hwang Dong-hyuk Nominated
Best Actor Gong Yoo Nominated
Best Actress Jung Yu-mi Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jang Gwang Nominated
Best Screenplay Hwang Dong-hyuk Nominated
Best Music Mowg Won
Popular Star Award Gong Yoo Won
2012 48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actor Nominated
49th Grand Bell Awards Best Film Silenced Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Hyun-soo Nominated
KOFRA Film Awards Best Film Silenced Won
Udine Far East Film Festival Audience Award Hwang Dong-hyuk Won
Black Dragon Audience Award Hwang Dong-hyuk Won

International release[edit]

The film's international title is Silenced. On November 4, 2011, the film was released in select theaters in Los Angeles, San Jose, Huntington Beach, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Toronto and Vancouver. It has been reviewed by The Wall Street Journal,[24] The Economist[25] and The New York Times.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dogani (Crucible) Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-25
  2. ^ Fueled by need for fresh material, best-sellers become box office hits Archived 2013-01-27 at JoongAng Daily. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
  3. ^ "'The Crucible' Brings Demons of Child Molestation Case Back to Life" Chosun Ilbo. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
  4. ^ Film examines child abuse case Korea Times. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
  5. ^ a b c Kwon, Jungyun (15 December 2011). "A look back at the year's breakout films". Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  6. ^ Real life case of child abuse explored in The Crucible The Hankyoreh. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
  7. ^ The Crucible (2011) The Chosun Ilbo. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
  8. ^ 2011.9.23 NOW PLAYING Archived 2012-07-10 at JoongAng Daily. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
  9. ^ Now showing Korea Times. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
  10. ^ "Sexual abuse of disabled, vulnerable, or Dead people on the rise" Yonhap News. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
  11. ^ "Deaf School Teachers Face Firing Over Sex Abuse Scandal" Chosun Ilbo. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
  12. ^ "Box-office hit sheds new light on sex crimes against disabled students" Yonhap News. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
  13. ^ "광주 인화학교 50년전 학생 암매장 폭로(종합)" Yonhap News. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08 (in Korean)
  14. ^ "경찰, 47년 전 인화학교 학생 암매장 의혹 조사" Yonhap News. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08(in Korean)
  15. ^ "'Dogani' school to be shut down" Korea Times. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-31
  16. ^ "Gwangju school sex offender gets 12 years in prison". Korea Times. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  17. ^ "Gwangju school sex offender gets 12 yrs in prison". Yonhap News. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  18. ^ a b "'The Crucible' surpasses 1 million viewers at box office" The Hankyoreh. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
  19. ^ "South Korea Box Office: September 23–25, 2011" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-19
  20. ^ "South Korea Box Office: November 25–27, 2011" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-19
  21. ^ Victims at Deaf School Meet Film Stars During Seoul Tour Chosun Ilbo. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-25
  22. ^ "GNP calls for investigation into 'The Crucible' author" The Hankyoreh. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08
  23. ^ 2 films won Audience Award at Far East Film Festival Korea Times. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-30
  24. ^ Woo, Jaeyeon "Unsettling ‘Dogani’ Revisits School Horror" The Wall Street Journal. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08
  25. ^ "Silent for too long" The Economist. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08
  26. ^ Choe, Sang-Hun "Film Underscores Koreans' Growing Anger Over Sex Crimes" The New York Times. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08

External links[edit]