The Witch: Subversion Part 1



The Korean film industry has really set itself apart from its romance loving and idealistic drama counterpart with its gritty and blindingly heady films. With the release of numerous films such as An ode to my father, The Handmaiden, and Train to Busan, Korea has made its presence known in the international film-making scene.

The release of The Witch: Subversion simply bolsters Korea’s reputation.A newly released Korean thriller film, The Witch makes itself worth a watch for its top-notch acting and interestingly novel presentation of the 10% of our brain myth. Set in a small town in South Korea, the story revolves around Ja-Yoon, the adopted daughter of two farmers, who escaped from a mad scientists (government) laboratory. As she grows older her not-so-normal abilities put her at the forefront of a mad hunt that is equal parts bloody and satisfying.  With enough twists and turns to scramble the mind, The Witch is worth a watch (and then a rewatch).

With both Director Park Hoon-Jung and first-time lead actress Kim Da-Mi on set at the international premiere of The Witch: Subversion at the Fantasia Film festival in Montreal, I was able to get a sneak peak into the minds of the people who created the new thriller.

Having entered the dimly lit  interview room, the quaint presence of Director Park and actress Kim Da-Mi gave me slight extrinsic bodily experience as I had just recently seen her wreaking havoc on screen.

Director Park had already made a slightly humorous impression of his personality and Kim Da-Mi’s respectful demeanour was quite nice to experience. And with that we quickly got into the interview.

“ Mr. Park why subversion (as a title)? ”

[because] in the movie there are many great changes such as in character, story itself and situation. [There is] No better way to say subversion or big twists in these elements. [It is a] good word to represent it.

“ Ms. Kim, congratulations on winning a Cheval Noir. As interesting as your character is and as amazing as that movie was, I want to know why you chose this particular project? What was so interesting about The Witch? ”

I got this role through auditions. I was selected for this role …. When I read the script, it was different from other stores scripts written in Korea. It was new and interesting and refreshing for me so I wanted to play this role.

“ Mr. Park, The question of nature vs nurture is touched upon lightly in your film. Ja-Yoon was changed biologically to be more violent but was raised in a loving family, but I think the viewers were left divided when it comes to what sort of person she is. So what I want to know is, what is your opinion on nature vs nurture? Especially in Ja-Yoons case? ”

You will know whether she is a villain or if she can be a good person [at] the end of the series.

“ Ms. Kim, having played Ja-Yoons character, do you think you have a better understanding of her? From my perspective she seems conniving? But how do you feel about her? What can you tell us about her character? ”

Her character is quite different from an ordinary person because her DNA was engineered so she is a mutant being and so because of this she is very talented in many fields. Her instincts and nature [is that of a] villain[ous] nature. but she is growing in a different environment, so she is growing as an innocent and nice girl.

“ Mr. Park, I’ve looked over of some of your films and noticed that you favour a lot of blood and violence in your films. But my question is, why? As a tool, what does it allow you to do or what does it give you? ”

I think its my personal inclination … and that is why. And second, I think in the making of [a] film … when you express violence you should show it is really violence and that is why I emphasized the violen[t] scene so spectators can see its violence and [the] emotions of violence. So they know it is violence.

“ Ms. Kim, what can you tell me about you experiences filming all these action-packed scenes. What was it like? ”

It was my first action film so I had challenges … while doing the actions. [For] the camera you have to act and show emotions and at the same time, physically, do the actions. it was very challenging, and [Ja-Yoon’s] character was very powerful and because I was trained very [well] for the action scenes I was not physically tired.

The Witch is part of a genre unfamiliar to what I consider most movie-goers. Its violent, its dark but at the heart of it, its about a woman learning to fight those who wronged her and it brings up important topics about the nature of humans. Are we born kind? Are we born destructive? What makes us who we are? Can we change? And for that little bit alone, it’s worth a watch.

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