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Variety Survival Talkshow cover photo

Variety Survival Talkshow 2009


Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Produced by Se Young Jo
Directed by Se Young Jo
DVD, color, 88 min.

College - Adult
Asian Studies, Crime, Criminal Justice, Social Work, Women’s Studies

Date Entered: 05/20/2011

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

During the past decade, violent crime in South Korea has been on the increase. Included in this statistic are rapes and other forms of sexual assault. Many of these crimes are never reported, with families often convincing the victims of sexual violence to remain quiet or accept minor compensation for the traumatizing acts. In other cases even when prosecuted, the perpetrators receive leniency in the form of admonishment. For the women who survive these assaults, there is little recourse for the pain and suffering they experienced.

In this tightly constructed film, the personal stories of three of these women are sympathetically presented. Mai, violently assaulted in her own home, later goes to trial only to hear the defendant’s lawyer excuse his client’s actions as the result of ‘momentary lust’ that was ‘almost accidental.’ Single mother Hansae was attacked as a teenager and now teaches sex education to Seoul high school students. Bozzang, a student activist, calls for others in the same situation to speak up. Each of the women participates in public events to raise awareness about the crimes and attends a support group that provides a space and place where others in the similar situations can express the overwhelming feelings of anger, shame, and desire for revenge. The title of the film refers to a selection of activities these survivors attend.

Winner of the Best Film of Progressive Vision at the 2009 Seoul Independent Documentary Film Festival, this critical look at contemporary Korean society includes interviews and animation. Recommended.