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Aloners 2021

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Film Movement
Produced by Lee Seung-won
Directed by Hong Sung-eun
Streaming, 91 mins

General Adult
Feature films; Social behavior

Date Entered: 09/20/2023

Reviewed by Johnnie N. Gray, Technology Services Librarian, Christopher Newport University

Coming from South Korea, this film follows a solitary woman's mundane life as she discovers that alienating others is more detrimental to her existence than she realizes. This is a solid study in personal apathy and growth. It is a poignant portrayal of being young and alone in the world. It also makes a point of showing examples of how technology isolates us from other people - everything from Jina's job as telephone support, her constantly on her phone, or spying on her widowed father with a camera. Jina shows withdrawal when her phone doesn't work, or her cable channels become disrupted - a universal feeling that extends across cultural boundaries. The actress portraying Jina is subtle, believable, and starts to redeem her character in the end.

As a linear story, it is easy to follow with minimal dialog. Easily used in the classroom for high school and beyond. Younger audiences would miss many of the messages as well as be inattentive due to the lack of action on the screen. A well shot film with a provocative storyline, it also gives a glimpse into Korean culture and reveals that being alone is universal.

2022 Winner Grand Prize, Osaka Asian Film Festival; 2021 Winner Cine21, Best New Director of the Year; Best Actress, Torino Film Festival; CGV Korean Independent Feature, Jeonju Film Festival; Best Acting Award, Jeonju Film Festival; Best New Actress, Korean Association of Film Critics

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