In the month of July, a great many queer events were convened in Seoul. On July 23, the 18th Queer Festival attracted 85 thousand LGBT attendees and on July 20 to 23 the 17th Korean Queer Movie Festival took place. These festivals improved the perception of queer community, and Kim Hye-jin, studying Hindi at HUFS took a part. At a difficult time when conflicts about LGBT rights heat up, Kim was invited to screen her LGBT film “There’s No Exit in a Taxi." To find out more about her efforts, The Argus met Kim who has been sending her message and pioneering new ways to fight against the odds.
The Argus: Could you please introduce yourself?
Kim Hye-jin (Kim): Hello, I am Kim Hye-jin. I am 24 years old and I major Hindi. I have filmed movies for three years so far and all the movies I have directed relate to minorities in our society.
I believe that problems occur due to lack of attention and communication. That is why I use minority issues as my movies’ underlying themes. I often feel that these issues are not getting the attention they deserve, so I use movies as the medium to initiate discussions and hopefully help open up possibilities for reconciliation between the minorities and the majorities.
Most recently, I filmed “There’s No Exit in a Taxi,” a queer film which was invited to be shown at the Korean Queer Movie Festival.
The Argus: How did you start making films?
Kim: After watching film director Park Chan-wook’s renowned film “Old Boy (2003)” in high school, I was deeply moved by how effectively it delivered both a deep message and art. That was when I first thought that I should have my future career related to film. My parents dissented, however, and I had to choose a major irrelevant to filming. After enrolling at HUFS, I took a liberal arts class that had filming as an assignment. In that class, I was lucky enough to come in contact with the movie club called “Woolim” and from there, I came all the way here.
The Argus: Where do you get inspirations for your films?
Kim: Ideas for my movies come from my daily life. At times, I feel that the things you experience seem more dramatic than movies. The movie, “There’s No Exit in a Taxi,” was based on my experience in a taxi. One day, I got in a taxi with my friend, and when my friend got off, I faced the situation where I had to endure verbal abuse from the taxi driver. In that closed space, I was totally vulnerable. This moment kindled within me the desire to make a movie that discloses the insults women go through in their everyday lives.
The Argus: What is the nominated work “There’s No Exit in a Taxi” about?
Kim: “There’s no Exit in a Taxi” is about a lesbian couple persevering verbal abuse from a taxi driver, and eventually getting their revenge for what he has done. In a taxi, people are forced to depend on the driver. For many, this is not much of a problem but for those who do feel it as a problem, it is a space that makes them feel intimidated and unsafe. I wanted to explore this with the audience through this movie.
The use of lesbian couples in the movie was to really lay the unreasonable treatments they receive bare to the public. The lines from the taxi driver are actually all based on people’s comments from the internet. Through the mouth of the bully in the taxi, I wanted to share the daily insults that sexual minority couples have to tolerate.
The Argus: What was memorable in directing this queer film?
Kim: The first thing I noticed after finishing my scenario was people’s prejudice. They tried to sound my sexuality out as though I am a minority myself. This would not have bothered me if I were confident about my scenario. At that time, however, I was not and their prejudgment unnerved me a lot. Also when my film was screened in the festival, I learned that I should pay more attention to the details when it comes to describing a lesbian couple. I received both praise and criticism. I was praised for trying a new subject matter other than love. However, I was also criticized for missing out on lots of details portraying the lesbian couple. This instilled in me a greater need to be careful when representing certain characters.
The Argus: What genre do you want to work on next?
Kim: I do not yet have any specific ideas for my next movie, but I wish to produce films that include wits just like those of director Park Chan-wook’s film, Old Boy. The wits that I am thinking of are the kinds of intelligent comments that well describe a situation or a scene. A good example of this is shown in a line by antagonist Lee Woo-jin in Old Boy, “Whether it is a stone or a grain of sand, they both sink.” In this line, the character uses an analogy to express that the size of guilt does not matter as much as the fact that the misconduct leads to a certain outcome. I found this phrase to be wonderfully witty in that it has both poetic beauty and a director’s color. In the future, I want to well utilize wit in my movies like director Park.
The Argus: Do you have any additional words for The Argus readers?
Kim: I noticed that people around me are often reluctant to deviate from their majors. On lots of cases, they eventually give up on taking a shot and I think this is somewhat regrettable. I want them to realize that doing something different from their major does not necessarily alter their courses of life. If they did not like something after a try, they can just find other things to do. After all, university is the place that provides students with the opportunity to venture on to one’s likings. For those who are still hesitant to make choices, I want to tell them “just try.”
There could be HUFSans who are already striving to develop their futures, but for the most part, many have yet found their paths. Kim Hye-jin chose filming regardless of her major and poured her passion into creating a story that spotlights minorities. She exemplifies an individualistic life. The Argus hopes this interview has motivated HUFSans to leave their comfort zone and take on new challenges.