Reporting from the annual Gothenburg Film Festival, Robert Schenck has seen and reviewed the renowned movie The Apology – a movie depicting the reality of estimated 200,000 women and girls in eastern Asia during the second world war. These women, captured by the Japanese army who at the time had occupied several countries in eastern Asia, were to serve as sex slaves for the military posted abroad. 75 years later, we at RealStars still find this issue as important. The stories of trafficking and sex work displayed in the movie devastated the lives of the women involved, and the consequences are still evident.
The victims, who at the time were as young as 13 or 14 years old, are now in their nineties. They have all suffered serious physical injuries as well as psychological. The women say that in order to cope with ”normal” life after the war, most of them simply resort to denial. The movie focuses on three women; one in China, in the Philippines and in South Corea – all of whom have decided to go public with their survival stories. The viewers follow their journey towards closure and reconciliation, despite massive dissent amongst the public.
The movie would have in our opinion profited off of less conventional rape scenes and sentimental music, and it could perhaps have focused more on the stories and emotions of the protagonists. Nor would it hurt to include more of a historical context to the movie — in order to gain cohesion. Even though there was a mention of how what has been depicted in the movie is a typical occurrence in modern warfare as well, it is in our opinion important to emphasize that sexual abuse is rather the norm when it comes to war.
However, despite the drawbacks we do recommend watching this movie. It gives an important insight to something we must never forget. It analyzes and clarifies the horrible consequences of trafficking, but also recognizes and honors the victims. If ever in the city of Busan in South Corea, one can visit the statue in place to honor the so called ”Comfort Women” of the second world war. The consequences of trafficking must not be depreciated.