Haeundae-gu, Busan, Republic of Korea,
DGK Publishes Bechdel Choice 10 List
Directors Guild of Korea Shines a Light on Gender Representation
Last week, the Directors Guild of Korea (DGK) published a list of ten titles that a jury had found to have successfully met the requirements of the Bechdel Test, in addition to several other guidelines. The exercise was carried out to bring attention to the lack of equal gender representation in Korean screen content.
The titles on the list included the commercial films The Call (2020), THE DAY I DIED: UNSOLVED CASE (2020), Diva (2020), SAMJIN COMPANY ENGLISH CLASS (2020) and WHISPERING CORRIDORS 6: THE HUMMING (2020), and the indie titles Aloners, Black Light (2020), I Don’t Fire Myself, Moving On (2019) and An Old Lady (2019).
The Bechdel Test is an informal exercise coined by comic strip artist Alison Bechdel in 1985. The test, which features three rules, was designed to highlight the lack of independent women and women-centric narratives in Hollywood cinema. The rules stipulate that two female characters must be named, that two female characters must talk to each other, and that the subject of their conversation cannot be a man.
The DGK added four other guidelines for its test - either a director, producer, screenwriter or cinematographer must be a woman, the film must feature a female lead who should have screen time equal to or more than that of any male co-star, and the female character should not be portrayed stereotypically and should not show any prejudice toward social minorities.
The judging panel, which included directors Kim Dongryung, Shin Ahga, Jo Wonhee, actor Bong Taegyu, PGK (Producers Guild of Korea) chairperson Choi Junghwa, academic KwonKim Hyunyoung, film critic Ham Yeonson, producer Lee Dongha and screenwriter Lee Boram, pointed out that the difficulty they faced in finding films that met all seven criteria indicated how much progress has yet to be made in the Korean film industry regarding equal representation.