72 min film Jane Jin Kaisen & Guston Sondin-Kung (2010)
The Woman, The Orphan, and The Tiger, begins with the sound of women’s voices
speaking of histories of violence, of things repressed and silenced. Gradually,
their voices accumulate into a cacophony of pure sonic intensity against an
extreme slow-motioned image of a woman survivor of Japan’s military sexual
slavery who, in the absence of words to accurately account for her suffering,
gets up and walks into the center of a war crimes tribunal court room and
gestures wildly before she faints.
The Woman, The Orphan, and The Tiger explores ways in which trauma is passed on
from previous generations to the present through a sense of being haunted.
Following a group of international adoptees and other women of the Korean
diaspora in their 20s and 30s, the film uncovers how the return of the
repressed confronts and destabilizes narratives that have been constructed to
silence histories of pain and violence inflicted onto the bodies and lives of
women and children.
A genealogy is created by relating the stories
of three generations of women: the former ‘comfort’ women who were subjected to
military sexual slavery by the Japanese military between World War I and World
War II – women who have worked as sex-workers around US military bases in South
Korea since the 1950s to the present – and transnational adopted women from
South Korea to the West since the Korean War.
Composed of oral testimonies, poetry, public
statements and interview fragments, the filmic narrative unfolds in a
non-chronologic and layered manner. By reinterpreting and juxtaposing
historical archive footage with recorded documentary material and staged
performative actions, multiple spaces and times are conjoined to contour how a
nexus of militarism, patriarchy, racism and nationalism served to suppress and
marginalize certain parts of the population and how this part of world history
continues to reverberate in the present moment.