The Crucible (2011 film)
Promotional poster for The Crucible
|Directed by||Hwang Dong-hyuk|
|Produced by||Uhm Yong-hun
|Written by||Hwang Dong-hyuk|
|Based on||The Crucible
by Gong Ji-young
|Distributed by||CJ Entertainment|
|Language||Korean and Korean Sign Language|
The Crucible (Hangul: 도가니; RR: Dogani; MR: Togani; also known as Silenced) is a 2011 South Korean film based on the novel of the same name by Gong Ji-young, 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.
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 reached all the way to the National Assembly, 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.
The film has 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. 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. Only two of them were convicted of repeated rapes of eight young students and received jail terms of less than a year. 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. Two months after the film's release and resulting controversy, Gwangju City officially shut down the school in November 2011. 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.
Kang In-ho (Gong Yoo) is the newly appointed art teacher at Benevolence Academy, a deaf school children in the fictional city of Mujin, North Jeolla Province. He has a dark past - his wife was a high school student who committed suicide and his 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, however, 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 (Jung Yu-mi). 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. 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.
- 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-soo
- Kim Ji-young - In-ho's mother
- Jang Gwang - headmaster twin brothers
- Im Hyeon-seong - Young-hoon
- Kim Joo-ryung - Yoon Ja-ae
- Eom Hyo-seop - 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
|“||For the past few years, we have seen almost no South Korean films that actively examined the state of our society, the values of what is right, and what we need to do the way The Crucible does.||”|
— Film critic Ahn Si-hwan
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. 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.
Conversations about the film and its impact reemerged 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 The Crucible among the year’s top events.
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, The Economist and The New York Times.
- Dogani (Crucible) Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-25
- Fueled by need for fresh material, best-sellers become box office hits JoongAng Daily. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
- "'The Crucible' Brings Demons of Child Molestation Case Back to Life" Chosun Ilbo. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
- Film examines child abuse case Korea Times. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
- Kwon, Jungyun (15 December 2011). "A look back at the year's breakout films". Korea.net. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- "Sexual abuse of disabled, vulnerable, or Deaf people on the rise" Yonhap News. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
- "Deaf School Teachers Face Firing Over Sex Abuse Scandal" Chosun Ilbo. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
- "Box-office hit sheds new light on sex crimes against disabled students" Yonhap News. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
- "광주 인화학교 50년전 학생 암매장 폭로(종합)" Yonhap News. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08 (Korean)
- "경찰, 47년 전 인화학교 학생 암매장 의혹 조사" Yonhap News. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08(Korean)
- "'Dogani' school to be shut down" Korea Times. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-31
- "Gwangju school sex offender gets 12 years in prison". Korea Times. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Gwangju school sex offender gets 12 yrs in prison". Yonhap News. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- Real life case of child abuse explored in The Crucible The Hankyoreh. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
- The Crucible (2011) The Chosun Ilbo. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
- 2011.9.23 NOW PLAYING JoongAng Daily. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
- Now showing Korea Times. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-25
- "'The Crucible' surpasses 1 million viewers at box office" The Hankyoreh. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-15
- "South Korea Box Office: September 23–25, 2011" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-19
- "South Korea Box Office: November 25–27, 2011" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-04-19
- Victims at Deaf School Meet Film Stars During Seoul Tour Chosun Ilbo. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-25
- "GNP calls for investigation into 'The Crucible' author" The Hankyoreh. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08
- 2 films won Audience Award at Far East Film Festival Korea Times. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-30
- Woo, Jaeyeon "Unsettling ‘Dogani’ Revisits School Horror" The Wall Street Journal. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08
- "Silent for too long" The Economist. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08
- Choe, Sang-Hun "Film Underscores Koreans' Growing Anger Over Sex Crimes" The New York Times. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-08