Special committee in South Korea urges eradication of violent practices on film-sets
Call comes after well-known filmmaker allegedly slapped an actress in the face and forced her to shoot an unscripted sex scene
By Kim Jae-heun
A joint special committee, established to deal with Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk’s assault on an anonymous actress, has urged the industry to end all kinds of violence against actresses, which has been excused as a routine practice in filmmaking.
The committee, consisting of 136 film and women’s rights organisations at the Seoul Bar Association argued that committing violence to evoke an actor’s empathy while shooting scenes cannot be justified as effective or ethical directing.
“Filmmaker Kim Ki-duk’s case is about Kim abusing his power as a director, having supreme status and unconditional control on the set,” said a committee member. “He took advantage of the long-standing custom in the film industry, which must be eradicated as it infringes directly on human rights and dignity.”
The committee also urged the prosecution to investigate the case fairly and thoroughly amid flourishing speculative articles trying to identify the actress and the reason why she has revealed the case four years after it happened. It said such reports are obscuring the essence of the case and hampering the debate to solve the problems with the infringement of an actor’s human rights in the scene.
The committee has decided to receive reports about sexual assault and human rights infringement cases for a month up to September 7 by phone through the Korea Women’s Human Rights Centre.
The filmmaker has been accused of hitting an actress and forcing her to shoot sex scenes for his drama film “Moebius” (2013).
The 41-year-old actress, whose identity is being withheld, argued that Kim slapped her in the face in front of the film crew and coerced her into an unscripted sex scene. She quit shooting later because of such treatment.
The actress told police it took a long time for her to report the case because she was afraid Kim might seek revenge on her, as the high-profile independent filmmaker exercises considerable influence in the film industry.
The Federation of Korea Movie Workers’ Union also claimed that several members of the production staff testified against Kim that they witnessed the director hitting the actress.
Kim dismissed the sex scene charge but his representative admitted he hit the actress, saying “the director tried to teach the actress how to act in a physically violent scene.” Kim stressed that he had no personal feeling against her.
Kim is well-known for his contemporary independent films that have won him many international awards like the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival for “Pieta” (2012) and a Silver Lion for Best Director at the same event for “3-Iron” (2004) eight years earlier.
Netizens have commented that his previous films show how Kim sees woman as inferior which is apparent in the scenes he shoots.
One netizen said he is curious about the background in which Kim grew up and what makes him treat women so thoughtlessly and why he looks down on them.