YIDFF 2015 New Asian Currents
My No-Mercy Home
An Interview with Aori (Director)

From My Meeting with Dolphin

Q: The path that Dolphin’s case takes in this film is a terribly cruel one, and you sometimes cried together with her, but it’s clear that you derived courage from her moving forward despite her doubts. Tell us more about your meeting with Dolphin.

A: When I think back on it, I think she felt the need for someone to listen to her story. People suffer emotional pain even over mere heartbreak, don’t they? She suffered a greater pain than that, but I think it was just at the point for her where she had no one to talk to. Not just she, but all victims of sexual abuse need consolation. Dolphin sat facing the camera and talked about all kinds of things, I listened from behind the camera, and this was brought together in the film. For her it was very good that we created an atmosphere in which she could speak, and I think that by speaking in the film the pain in her heart was consoled.

Q: What were her feelings on seeing the film?

A: When the film was finished I showed it to her alone. That is to say, I thought that perhaps there would be some scenes that she might not want me to include. People can change their minds pretty easily, right? I anticipated this myself, and I had tried to approach the editing stage thinking “hmm, what about this part . . . ?”

When she watched the film, at first she said it was really good, but suddenly, during her the scene of her mother’s testimony, she started to cry. Even in everyday life, when she was doing just fine, whenever talk of her mother came up she would become downcast and unable to face her feelings. Later she watched it together with the audience at the Woman’s Film Festival in Seoul, and even participated in the Q&A. The audience, you know, would ask questions like “are you okay now?” To this she would say “I am just the same as any other young Korean my age. I worry about college and about love. It’s just that I have one more worry to add onto these.” I was surprised at this, at how well she spoke, at how sophisticated she was.

Q: The red raincoat and the picture of the girl in the title evoke the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Are you picking up on some symbolism in the story of Little Red Riding Hood?

A: At first the thought of the Little Red Riding Hood motif hadn’t occurred to me at all, but during the final shoot, climbing Hallasan in Jejudo, Dolphin was wearing a red raincoat. When I saw it I though “ah, that’s it.” Only it’s not the regular Little Red Riding Hood, but rather really a scary version. Fairy tales are actually so cruel, right? I know a cruel version of Little Red Riding Hood that’s about a girl who becomes, with the consent of her parents, a sacrificial offering. When I remembered that story I thought it quite resembled this film. In the end, someone has to be sacrificed to help the family, right? The mother who offers up her daughter as a sacrifice and Dolphin’s mother overlap. From that point I began to think about this motif.

Dolphin is in her twenties now, but she repeatedly says, “I want to go back to when I was seven.” At the time she couldn’t say anything but if, when she was seven, she could have understood that her father’s actions were sexual abuse, she could have said: “dad, you can’t do this. This is sexual abuse, and you’ll be prosecuted.” When I hear this I think yes, she’s still living with this pain in her heart, just as she has ever since she was seven.

(Compiled by Kimuro Shiho)

Interviewers: Kimuro Shiho, Harashima Aiko / Interpreter: Nemoto Rie / Translator: Tyler Walker
Photography: Kat Simpson / Video: Ishizawa Kana / 2015-10-13