The ApologyPurchase Tickets
Nearly seventy-five years after being forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army, the few surviving individuals whose life-shattering experiences as “comfort women” continue to haunt them wait for an apology. The film’s titular expression of regret on the part of Japan’s current government has been slow to come, though, and was only recently delivered (after this documentary was completed) as a half-hearted token of remorse. In other words, it was an “apology” that, following several public petitions and weekly demonstrations outside the Japanese embassy, was designed to bring that sad chapter from the Second World War to a close. Produced by the Academy Award-winning Anita Lee (of the National Film Board of Canada) and directed by the enormously talented Tiffany Hsiung, The Apology ensures that the lives of some 200,000 victims of institutionalized rape are not forgotten. Significantly, the film departs from earlier cinematic portraits of comfort women by focusing on a trio of good-humored octogenarians — lovingly referred to as “grandmas” — living in three different Asian locations: South Korea, China, and the Philippines. The director’s regionally expansive approach to the subject highlights the ways in which lingering traumas can be confronted, if not completely dispelled, through a shared understanding of other victims’ pain. Audiences the world over will be moved by the actions and words of Grandma Gil, Grandma Cao, and Grandma Adela — women who, even in their twilight years, embody a level of political commitment and emotional resilience that is truly inspiring.
– By David Scott Diffrient