The movie deals with social justice, child abuse, small-town politics and migrant worker issues.
The 34-year-old director is the first Korean to receive the award at the festival, which is in its 25th year. The jury recognized her for taking a new approach to characters and settings.
“There is an existential excitement in seeing the intersection of basic human needs and in deciphering behaviors that we don’t understand fully, which nevertheless have shocking consequences,” the jury said in a statement.
|Korean filmmaker July Jung (left) gives an acceptance speech after receiving the Best First Film award at the Stockholm International Film Festival in Stockholm, Sweden, Friday. (Yonhap)|
At the festival, which took place from Nov. 5-16, six other Korean films, including “Revivre” by Im Kwon-taek and “Hill of Freedom” by Hong Sang-soo, were screened as part of the noncompetitive section “Asian Images.” The festival showcased a total of 201 films from 60 different countries.
Starring Bae Doo-na (“Cloud Atlas” and “The Host”) and Kim Sae-ron (“The Man from Nowhere”), “A Girl at My Door” centers on the relationship between Young-nam (Bae), a promising police officer who was banished from Seoul to a small seaside village for misconduct, and Do-hee (Kim), a village girl who is abused by her stepfather. When Young-nam tries to help Do-hee, things go well for a while until Do-hee discovers her secrets.
Jung graduated from Sungkyunkwan University and Korea National University of Arts, where she majored in film and multimedia. She directed a number of short films before “A Girl at My Door,” her first critically acclaimed feature. These include “A Man under the Influenza” (2007), which won a Sonje Award at the 2007 Busan International Film Festival, and “The Dog that Came into My Flash” (2010). “A Girl at My Door” was screened in the “Un Certain Regard” section, a showcase of emerging directors’ films, at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival in May.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)