Girl at my Door, A
A female police chief (Cloud Atlas’ Lee Young-nam) moves from the city to run a rural station and finds herself deeply at odds with a bigoted local community and simultaneously undermined by her own officers.
As she attempts to protect dishevelled, neglected school girl Do-hee from her father’s domestic abuse she exposes a complex web of blighted lives, alcoholism and neurosis behind the friendly facade of the town.
While at first glance this may sound like the off-kilter Lynchian terrain of Twin Peaks, or even The Wicker Man, it is produced by critically lauded Lee Chang-dong, and has much more in common tonally with his earlier Poetry or perhaps Bong Joon-ho’s Mother.
It’s a grown-up, complex and thrilling tale with an outstanding, carefully modulated performance from Lee as she gradually finds herself in the role of Do-hee’s surrogate mother. Her interference in local affairs enrages the villagers who perceive her as a meddling outsider, exposing their insular complicity in the bullying and abuse of a young girl, rather than as a compassionate Police Chief.
A terrifically assured, labyrinthine narrative gradually – and very believably – unfolds into a gripping character study of a woman attempting to come to terms with her own personal demons through helping an innocent child.
Moving, thrilling and thought-provoking in equal measure, this was one of the buzz titles in this year’s Cannes Film Festival.