Asia Society at the Movies: Innocent Witness
Screening and Conversation With Director Lee Han
August 17, 2021 ㅡ In collaboration with Asia Society Museum and Asia Society Southern California, and with the support from Lotte Entertainment, Asia Society Korea showcased a two-part program of Innocent Witness (2019) and invited Director Lee Han and Asia Society Korea Executive Director Yvonne Kim for a post-screening talk as a part of our Leo Gala Series.
Director Lee is a wonderful subject who is smart, self-amused, and occasionally self-deprecating. The interview takes us through his justifiably proud journey from the delicious entertainments of his youth to the compassionate questing movies that have marked his career. In recent years a number of Korean movies have depicted autistic characters, but not all of them have handled these depictions with sensitivity. In the hands of director Lee, however, the end result is a film that is effortlessly comfortable to watch but becomes steadily more emotional as it reaches its final act. It is charged with a passion that is not just added on but feels earned.
Duration: 129 minutes
Director: Lee Han
Producers: Jae-joong Kim, Woo-jae Kim, Jun-woo Lee
Main Cast: Jung Woo-sung, Hyang-gi Kim, Song Yun-ah, Jang Young-nam, Yeom Hye-ran
Innocent Witness tells the story of when Soon-ho (Jung Woo-sung) a lawyer trying to prove the innocence of a murder suspect, meets the only witness, Ji-woo (Hyang-gi Kim), a girl who has autism. At the beginning of the film, Soon-ho approaches Ji-woo to put her on the stand in the case on which his success depends. Soon-ho only meant to use Ji-woo for the trial, but in the process, finds solace in their relationship. At the same time, Ji-woo finds the courage to open up and communicate with the outside world. The film, a heartwarming portrayal of an unlikely bond, moves viewers to examine our perceptions of one another in a world where we are so easily closed off from others.
Lee Han made his directorial debut in 2002 with the movie Lover’s Concerto starring Cha Tae-hyun, Son Ye-jin and Lee Eun-joo. He followed up with the young love story Almost Love (2006) and gained widespread recognition as a major director with My Love (2007), a film that shares the stories of different couples. He captivated 5.3 million moviegoers with Punch (2011), a film that explores the treatment of minorities in society. Lee Han’s Thread of Lies (2014), focuses on the lives of those left behind after a young girl’s suicide, and A Melody to Remember (2016), is based on true story of a children’s choir formed during the Korean War. Innocent Witness (2019) is his seventh project, dealing with the true meaning of trust and communication through the story of a lawyer and his developing friendship with a girl with autism.
Yvonne Kim is currently the executive director of Asia Society Korea Center, having been with the inaugural Seoul-based branch of the Global Asia Society since its startup stages in 2008. Ms. Kim has brought Asia Society and the presence of international businesses and embassies to the forefront of the Korean media through her extensive public relations network. By increasing overseas and local branding of Asia Society, she developed programming and financial planning for the prestigious and selective Asia 21 Young Leaders Program in Korea and Asia Society global fundraising. Ms. Kim is often sought after for her senior-level contacts in Korea’s public and private sectors, as well as in the international business community, to further global programming support, strategic planning, and public relations for global outreach.
This program is presented by Asia Society Museum, Asia Society Korea Center, and Asia Society Southern California as part of a new series titled Asia Society at the Movies. Asia Society at the Movies showcases a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora.
This program is organized in partnership with Asia Society Korea Center. The screening is made possible by Lotte.
Asia Society at the Movies
Asia Society is proud to announce the launch of Asia Society at the Movies, a new series of film screenings and conversations showcasing a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. Asia Society at the Movies celebrates established and emerging voices, contemporary films and classics, and documentaries. The series builds on Asia Society’s long and rich history of film programming. This initiative also serves to deepen understanding of Asian cultures—a core part of Asia Society’s mission since its creation. Learn more about the Asia Society at the Movies initiative.
About Asia Society Museum
Asia Society Museum presents a wide range of traditional, modern, and contemporary exhibitions of Asian and Asian American art, taking new approaches to familiar masterpieces and introducing under-recognized arts and artists. The Asia Society Museum Collection comprises a traditional art collection, including the initial bequests of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, and a contemporary art collection. Through exhibitions and public programs, Asia Society provides a forum for the issues and viewpoints reflected in both traditional and contemporary Asian art and in Asia today.
About Asia Society Korea
Since its establishment in April 2007, Asia Society Korea Center has been serving as an active gateway for engagement on issues affecting Korea, the Asia-Pacific region, and the United States. Through its programs addressing policy, business, and education, as well as arts and culture, the Korea Center has been seeking to integrate Korean voices into the broad range of Asia Society programs across the region.
About Asia Society Southern California
Established in Los Angeles in 1985, Asia Society Southern California (ASSC) is ideally situated at the gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. ASSC has played a pivotal role through creative programs and activities in increasing shared knowledge, enhancing dialogue, and furthering cultural exchanges transcending regional boundaries. As part of the global Asia Society, which was founded more than 60 years ago in New York City, ASSC has launched many creative initiatives and programs addressing current issues of importance across the fields of the arts, culture, policy, business, and education.
About Lotte Entertainment
Lotte Entertainment is a South Korean film production and distribution company. Established in the Republic of Korea, the company has distributed films throughout South Korea since its founding in September 2003. Lotte Entertainment distributes over 25 Korean / foreign titles a year through its multiplex circuit Lotte Cinema branch, which presents more than 800 screens nationwide in Korea.