2015 | HD | 62min | 1.85:1 | Documentary | Co-director: Caroline Key
South Korea’s brothels are disappearing as the nation’s “Special” Anti-Sex Trade Law steadily drives prostitution underground, pushing already vulnerable groups of women further into risk. Grace Period is a record of the Yeongdeungpo sex workers in Seoul and their collective resistance to government crackdowns on their work and space. It is also a careful consideration of how representations of alterity and struggle are and could potentially be constructed. Footage from the sex workers’ protests traces their lineage to Korea’s democratic union movements of the 1980s, while audio interviews overlaid upon footage of brothel interiors foreground the precarity of their work. The film digitally obstructs the figures of the women while they are at work, turning them into unstable, flickering silhouettes – an effort to maintain their physical presences, while honoring their anonymity. Combining documentary with experimental video, Grace Period brings the specificities of these women’s struggles into relief against ubiquitous conditions of debt, urban development, gendered labor, and institutional and state violence. It is a feature film portrait about a community of women, the place where they work, and their efforts to survive.