Bloodless is a 12minute VR film that deals with camp town sex workers for US army stationed in South Korea since the 1950s. The film traces the last living moments of a real-life sex worker who was brutally murdered by a US soldier at the Dongducheon Camptown in South Korea in 1992. Portraying the last hours of her life in the camp town, the VR film transposes a historical and political issue into a personal and concrete experience. This film was shot on location where the crime took place, bringing to light ongoing experiences at the 96 camp towns near or around the US military bases.
US military bases have occupied as much as 17.7 percent of the habitable land of the entire South Korean peninsula since the Korean War. Their presence produced 96 camp towns near or around these bases that have involved one million women so far. Every day, US soldiers stationed in South Korea commit an average of eight crimes, including murder, assault, and rape. These crimes are mostly directed against the camp town sex workers who live, quite literally, in the space between two countries and outside the protection
Based on a true story, Bloodless is a virtual reality short film about the murder of a sex worker in 1992 committed by a US soldier stationed in Korea. At 1AM on October 28th, 1992, the body of 26-year-old Yun Keum Yi was found at a decrepit house at the Dong- ducheon camp town. Her cause of death was brain hemorrhage, and her body was found covered in detergent powder to dispose of evidence. Two beer bottles and one cola bottle were found inside her uterus, and an umbrella penetrated 11 inches intoher rectum.
Shot on the actual location, the film opens to a decrepit residential neighborhood in Dong- ducheon near a US military base. Amidst the flashing neon lights, clubs, and bars, a woman takes fragile steps along the streets. She leads the audience into darker and narrower alleyways. Moments later, the audience is now in a shabby motel room. Scattered clothes and traces of violence are all around. The audience realizes that this room belongs to the woman. Over the course of the next three minutes, the audience experiences the space in which the murder took place.
Bloodless transforms the controversial issue of crimes by US military personnel into a personal and emotional experience while introducing textual history to the sensory realm of virtual reality.
On October 31st, the suspected murderer of Yoon Keum Yi was arrested while returning to the base with blood still on his pants and shoes, but the United States Forces in Korea refused to extradite him. Mass protests broke out demanding that the soldier be tried in the Korean court system. I took part in the protests as a freshman in college. We put posters on walls and marched while spreading flyers to civilians. The graphic and disturbing image of the crime scene was printed on each flyer. Every time I saw Yun Keum Yi’s brutally mutilated body being endlessly reproduced in posters and flyers, I saw her dignity being once again destroyed.
For 25 years, I have struggled to find a way to make a film about this tragic incident. But I kept coming up against the fact that I could not cinematically represent the story without exploiting the image and thereby reproducing the original violence itself. But with VR, the viewer is no longer a passive spectator, who can take voyeuristic pleasure from a spectacle in front of them (and at a distance). Upon realizing the potential of the VR, I came up with a way to tell the same violent story, without showing and exploiting the image of her. After studying the neighborhood where she lived and worked, obsessively walking in loops around the brothels, mimicking her itinerary on the night of her murder, I determined to have her ghost guide us: to the perfectly preserved dilapidated streets, the club that she met the soldier, and finally the small room she was mutilated and died.
The image on the flyer still haunts me, motivating me to return to these non-sovereign spaces and the many women exiled there whose voices have yet to be heard.
CAST AND CREDIT
In association with Dankook University Graduate School of Cinematic Content BK21 Plus Team, Institute of Dankook Global Visual Content, Venta VR, and VR Sound Starring Boryeong Kim Produced by Seonah Kim, Jiyoung Kang Written and directed by Gina Kim Co-producer Gina Kim Cinematographer Sam Jeon Line Producer Eunsuk Jo Assistant Director Hyunseung Kim Script Supervisor Jihyun Son Editor Gina Kim, Sharon Choi VR Sound Kyusik Chang Sound Design and Mix Marco d’Ambrosio Audio Post Supervisor Terri d’Ambrosio Production Designer Heejung Lee Art Director Mikyung Kim Special Effect Eunjung Jang Costume Designer Jungmin Lee Makeup and Hair Sujin Baek VR Supervisor Jihyun Son Post Production Manager Sansoo Kim Promotion Manager Hyeeun Kang Stereoscopic Supervisor Venta VR Visual Effects Supervisor Beomyoun Jeong Colorist Xinzhong (Golden) Zhao Stereoscopic Title Editing Jiyoung Kang Audio Post Services MarcoCo. Studios On Set PA Minil Park, Geunyoung Park UPM Younghun Hwang 1st AC Narae Song Research Assistant Sharon Choi, Sunhee Ahn
12min, Color, Virtual Reality, 2017.