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Korean Women in “Habitual Sadness” Documentary Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Apr 28th, 2021

In developing the film, the director attempts to record important events within the history of Korea and inform the viewer about the past and experiences of the people during the Second World War. The director depicts the efforts of the elderly Korean women as they attempt to overcome the physical pain as well as the society’s prejudice (Gateward 209). The victims, who are now elderly, actively lead normal lives and attempt to transform their relationship with the changing world. In doing this, the women find comfort in life despite the physical and psychological pain that they had endured during the incident. The director attempts to make the audience realize that the victims are the most dignified as well as comfortable women in the society, which makes one realize that there is a need to transform habitual sadness from pain to hope for a better life.

Although there have been several Korean fictional films concerning Yang Gong-Ju, the number of narrative films about comfort women in the country have been scarce, yet it is an important topic in the history and society of Korea. One major reason for the scarcity of the narrative films on comfort women is the fear of filmmakers that exposes the experiences of women in comfort stations. In addition, filmmakers tend to develop fear that exposing the experiences of these women is likely to expose the shame and trigger public outcry, which may stigmatize women.

This film seems to create an important platform for transforming the elderly women from victims to active participants in a study. The relationship between the women and the director provide a good method through which the audience discovers some hidden aspects of the Korean society. In fact, the director uses this platform to reveal the faces of the women, making it possible for the audience to believe the story.

Habitual Sadness Film

The director’s purpose in developing the film “habitual sadness” was to inform the audience as well as provide a documentation of the experiences of the elderly people, especially women, within the comfort centers (Gateward 209). It also provides evidence of the historical injustices that the elderly women endured during their captivity under the Japanese rule. The director also wanted to use the film as a platform for persuading other individuals with similar or related experiences to come forward and narrate their stories in order to develop a good understanding of the society’s history.

Although the number of Korean fictional films depicting Yanggong-ju is several, only a few have attempted to provide a narrative of comfort women. It is likely that filmmakers develop the fear of exposing individuals with such experiences as rape and other shameful acts because it might create stigmatization. Secondly, filmmakers tend to think that individual women with shameful experiences are likely to avoid being filmed and avoid being part of the participants because the society is likely to stigmatize them.

Personal response

The director uses this platform to transform the elderly women from victims to active participants in a study. The relationship between the women and the director provide a good method through which the audience discovers some hidden aspects of the Korean society. In fact, the director uses this platform to reveal the faces of the women, making it possible for the audience to believe the story.

Inspired by the story of Kang Duk-Gyeong, the director realizes that filming individuals and encouraging them to reveal their experiences is an important aspect of developing the actual history of a society. As such, it is evident that some aspects of the Korean history are missing in the current understanding because a number of people who experienced torture under the Japanese rule have died without getting a chance to narrate their experiences during the war. It is evident that the issues of torture and other atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers during the war remained concealed until the film was released in the late 1990s.

Works Cited

Gateward, Frances. Seoul Searching. New York: State University of New York, 2014. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2021, April 28). Korean Women in "Habitual Sadness" Documentary. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/korean-women-in-habitual-sadness-documentary/

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"Korean Women in "Habitual Sadness" Documentary." IvyPanda, 28 Apr. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/korean-women-in-habitual-sadness-documentary/.

1. IvyPanda. "Korean Women in "Habitual Sadness" Documentary." April 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/korean-women-in-habitual-sadness-documentary/.


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IvyPanda. "Korean Women in "Habitual Sadness" Documentary." April 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/korean-women-in-habitual-sadness-documentary/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Korean Women in "Habitual Sadness" Documentary." April 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/korean-women-in-habitual-sadness-documentary/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Korean Women in "Habitual Sadness" Documentary'. 28 April.

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