SEOUL, Feb.29 (Korea Bizwire) – A Korean movie depicting the horrific suffering of Korean ‘comfort women’ sexually enslaved for Japanese soldiers during World War II has reached the break-even point only four days after its release. The results are encouraging given the 14-year struggle to produce and distribute the film.
According to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), “Spirits’ Homecoming” was viewed more than 300,000 times on Sunday alone, taking the accumulated number of viewers to more than one million since its release on Wednesday.
On the first day of its release, the film instantly jumped to the tops of the charts. It maintained the top rank for the next five days, and on Saturday, it accounted for 29.7 percent of all theater ticket sales.
The movie is based on testimony from “comfort women” who were forced to sexually ‘serve’ the imperialist Japanese army at military brothels during World War II. The cinematic inspiration came from “Burning Women,” a drawing by one of the victims, Kang Il-chul, depicting Japanese soldiers leading young sex slaves to a burning pit.
Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in front-line brothels during the war. Korea was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.
The movie, 14 years in the making due to a lack of financial resources, was finally able to see completion after more than 75,000 citizens, actors, and production staff members supported a crowdfunding campaign or provided services for free.
The movie seemed to be ready for release, when more difficulties were met in finding a distribution company, and securing theaters to screen the piece.
A small distribution company stepped in, and decided to invest and distribute the movie. Once “Spirits’ Homecoming” was finally screened for the first time, positive reviews spread and viewers continued to ask for more theaters to screen the film. Finally, large cinemas such as CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox participated in screening the movie.
Director Cho Jeong-re spoke of his gratitude and happiness in a phone interview with Yonhap news. “Moviegoers are swarming in to watch “Spirits’ Homecoming”, which was once turned away by so many investors. I am so thankful and happy for how things turned out.”
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)