By Mónica Delgado
We’ve seen Doona Bae, the Korean actress in several roles, but none like this in A girl at my door, by debutant July Jung. From Linda, Linda, Linda to The Host or Air Doll, this actress has show an evolution but always coming from the independent scene of her country, and going through roles where she’s presented in a passive character and resigned from certain situations. But in A girl at my door, she becomes an alcoholic policewoman, of fragile appearance but very firm, a woman which is sent to work in a rural area, filled with strange characters, to deal with contexts of violence or illegality.
Filmmaker July Jung chooses dry melodrama to tell the story of a child (Kim Sae-ron) who suffers the beatings of her father and grandmother and who is helped by Doona Bae, who finds in the pubescent girl some connection to the new community she’s been assigned to. The film’s treatment achieves a simple dimension, centered in describing the relationship of both characters, and in doing a portrait of this policewoman from her absences and secrets, avoiding the sensationalism of the violence plot . July Jung is more interested about the evolution of the friendship of this two woman, running away from some topics, but holding ground in the memory of films about protectors and apprentices or kids that discover the terrors of adulthood.
A girl at my door has as merit to narrate a story of emotional survival from an angle that doesn’t appeal to the sordid, despite the plot that could’ve had a more shocking effect. Howver, the filmmaker intention deals with what it seems a scarcely pretentious form, centered in how antagonisms are established with the bad guys of the film, but also on how freedom is achieved beyond any moral notion.
Un Certain Regard
Director: July Jung
Producer: Lee Chang-dong
Script: July Jung
Cast: Bae Doona, Kim Sae-ron