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Award-winning 'Bloodless' takes 360-degree VR look at tragic death of sex worker

2017/09/14 10:26

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By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- Imagine witnessing the last few living moments of a sex worker before she is brutally murdered.

"Bloodless" by Korean director Gina Kim, which won the best virtual reality story award at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, gives viewers the very chilling experience without actually showing the horrific scene.

The movie is based on a real-life murder case in 1992 where an American soldier killed a Korean bar worker in one of the most horrific murder cases involving U.S. soldiers in Korean history.

Her body was discovered lying naked, soaked in blood, with an umbrella in her anus, and Coke and beer bottles in her vagina. White detergent was sprayed all over her body.

In this photo provided by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), South Korean filmmaker Gina Kim wins the best virtual reality story award at the 74th Venice International Film Festival that ran from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, 2017 (Yonhap). In this photo provided by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), South Korean filmmaker Gina Kim wins the best virtual reality story award at the 74th Venice International Film Festival that ran from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, 2017 (Yonhap).

At the "Artist Talk" session held at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) on Wednesday, the director said she couldn't have made the film without virtual reality tools.

"It was a perfect tool for me to let the viewers more acutely feel the pain and sadness that the woman must have felt before she met a lonely death," the director said.

The crime happened when the director was a freshman. Shocked, horrified and sad, she became fixated on the case and wanted to talk about it through film. But she couldn't bring herself to make it because the viewers would only be bystanders, which she didn't feel would be fair to the victim as they wouldn't be able to truly connect with her.

"But in virtual reality, viewers can be where the action takes place. I didn't need to say a lot about what was going on. People can just feel it by themselves," she said.

This photo, taken from the website of South Korean director Gina Kim on Sept. 14, 2017, shows a scene from the virtual reality short "Bloodless." (Yonhap) This photo, taken from the website of South Korean director Gina Kim on Sept. 14, 2017, shows a scene from the virtual reality short "Bloodless." (Yonhap)

The 12-minute-long film was shot at the Dongducheon camp town, located some 40 kilometers north of Seoul, where the murder took place.

The camp town in Dongducheon looks tawdry and tatty. There are few people on the streets. Only when the neon signs brighten the streets up at night, it becomes slightly more lively.

From afar, a woman emerges from the end of the street, her high heels clinking on the pavement. At one point, viewers are standing in the middle of a dark, narrow alley to suddenly confront a weary-looking, scantily-clad woman. Surreally, she passes right through the viewers. Then she quietly -- and sadly -- stares right back as if she had something to say. Without a word, she turns back and leaves.

The last spot of the journey is her shabby room. Through the door ajar is seen a dirty back alley, suggesting poor security. Barely furnished, only a few bottles of Coke and beer, a pack of cigarettes and a matchbox lie scattered around the floor. Soon blood slowly flows out of the blanket.

The director said her story is not limited to the certain criminal case, but it tells the sufferings of all the Korean sex workers, whose voices have yet to be heard, in 96 camp towns around the U.S. military bases.

"At least, she (in the film) is not alone for the last remaining minutes of her life," she said. "She must have wanted someone to be with her and know about her death."

  

The photo, taken from the website of South Korean director Gina Kim on Sept. 14, 2017, shows a scene from the virtual reality short "Bloodless." (Yonhap) The photo, taken from the website of South Korean director Gina Kim on Sept. 14, 2017, shows a scene from the virtual reality short "Bloodless." (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr

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