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Silenced ("Dogani ")

Quebec Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2011
  • 125 mins
  • DCP
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
WINNER: Black Dragon Audience Award, Udine Far East Film Festival 2012
WINNER: Best Music, Blue Dragon Film Awards 2011
WINNER: Best Film, Film of the Year Awards 2011

“Incendiary and compelling” — Maggie Lee, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Kang In-ho is on his way to Mujin city to begin his new job as a teacher for hearing-impaired children when he is involved in a minor car accident. This leads to his meeting Seo Yoo-jin, who works at the Mujin human-rights centre. At first he is annoyed by the young woman, having no idea of the important role she is about to play in his life. Within a few days of working at the school, he begins to suspect that things are not what they seem. A young boy shows signs of violence while two of the girls are strangely withdrawn and fearful. Still, he perseveres, struggling to gain their trust. When he witnesses one of his fellow teachers punishing the boy too severely he begins to wonder — can he risk his career and his family’s well-being by questioning the school’s methods? Then, one night, a small child takes him by the hand and leads him to a room in the basement. What he discovers there will forever change his life.

SILENCED is an intense and troubling film that resonates with the viewer long after the credits have ended. It is inspired by true events that occurred in the city of Gwangju in South Korea, which spawned a novel (Dogani) and the movie based on it. It is both dark and disturbing, and it should be. Dealing with such serious subject as the rape, sexual abuse and brutalization of children, the director pulls no punches and the graphic depictions of the events of the film will shock many, as he displays to us the ugliest sides of human nature. But he also gives us a ray of hope. When faced with pure evil, heroes will arise to stand up for the helpless, no matter the cost. This is an important film that needs to be seen.

— Robert Guillemette