After 13 years of production, director Cho Jungrae has completed “Spirits’ Homecoming,” a movie about Korean women brutalized and raped by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War.
“More than 200,000 young girls were dragged into foreign battlegrounds and died. Only a small number of majority returned back, and these are the only stories we heard. We wanted to bring back the souls of these victims to their home country,” said Cho in an interview about the film.
Cho began the project in 2002 while volunteering at a home for living comfort women and learning of the atrocities they faced. Yet he had a hard time finding funding and securing actors, several of whom left the project due to worries about its negative impact on their relationship with Japan. Many of the actors who did appear elected not to receive payment, as they were devoted to presenting what happened to the young girls during war.
Cho and his production crew finally completed the film using ₩600 million in donations. Koreans residing overseas not only contributed financially but also made efforts to highlight the issue globally, raising interest among Non-Koreans as well. Yet the film now faces another problem: it has no distributor to put it in theaters.
With no distributor, Cho is hoping to have the film screened at festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival. Cho has also presented a short clip of the film to the US Congress, with the help of US Representative Mike Honda.
“I think this movie should be showcased by any means. As a Korean, I think this reminds us about our past and about how much the comfort women had to get through. Although this deals with an extremely sensitive subject, it still needs to be addressed,” Hee Yeon Kim, a senior at Foxcroft School in Virginia, told JSR.