THE APOLOGY (Tiffany Hsiung) 105 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (December 2). See listing. Rating: NNNN
A pack of women in their 80s have been picketing Japanese consulates all over the world for over 20 years. Former “comfort women” – from all across Asia – forced into prostitution by the Japanese army during the Second World War, they want the world to know about it, insisting the Japanese government give them an official apology.
Their persistence is epic. They’re often jeered at or dismissed as communists by Japanese men determined to thwart them. Right-wing politicians respond to their protests by defending the forced prostitution as a necessary military strategy.
As their numbers dwindle, the women continue to fight, gathering supporters in what’s turning into a world-wide movement.
Fuelled by the deep personal relationships she developed with three women over five years, first-time director Tiffany Hsiung gives these courageous survivors their voice. Following them to their villages to revisit the site of their trauma or witnessing them disclosing their experience to their families, she’s created a documentary that’s both upsetting and inspiring.
Another triumph for the National Film Board.
See our cover story on director Hsiung here.