White Night: A Korean Queer Film Inspired by a True Story
White Night is a 2012 Korean film directed by Leesong Hee-il, one of the most prominent queer filmmakers in South Korea. The film follows Won-gyu, a flight attendant who returns to Seoul after two years of absence, and Tae-jun, a motorcycle courier who he meets online. The two men spend a night together, wandering around the city and confronting their past traumas and present fears.
The film is inspired by an actual case of random street assault by a homophobe in Jong-no, a district in Seoul known for its gay nightlife. The film explores the themes of violence, discrimination, identity and love in the context of contemporary Korean society. White Night is the first part of Leesong Hee-il's "Night Flight Trilogy", which also includes Night Flight (2014) and Goodbye Day (2015).
White Night was released in South Korea on November 15, 2012, and received positive reviews from critics and audiences. The film also won several awards at international film festivals, such as the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the 17th Busan International Film Festival. The film is available online with English subtitles on various platforms, such as Bilibili[^1^] and MyReadingManga[^2^].White Night is not only a personal story of two men who find comfort and connection in each other, but also a social commentary on the challenges and prejudices that queer people face in South Korea. The film depicts the reality of homophobia, violence, stigma and isolation that many LGBTQ+ individuals experience in a conservative and patriarchal society. The film also criticizes the lack of legal protection and recognition for queer rights and identities, such as same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws.
However, White Night also offers a glimpse of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. The film shows the diversity and solidarity of the queer community in Seoul, as well as the possibility of finding love and healing in unexpected places. The film also celebrates the beauty and vitality of the city at night, as a contrast to the darkness and danger that lurks in some corners. The film uses music, cinematography and symbolism to create a poetic and atmospheric mood that captures the emotions and conflicts of the characters.
White Night is a film that challenges the stereotypes and norms of Korean cinema and society, and invites the viewers to empathize with the struggles and dreams of queer people. The film is a testament to the talent and vision of Leesong Hee-il, who has been making groundbreaking and influential queer films since his debut feature No Regret (2006). White Night is a film that deserves more attention and appreciation from both local and international audiences.White Night has been recognized and acclaimed by various film festivals and awards, both in South Korea and abroad. The film won the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in 2013, becoming the first Korean film to receive this prestigious award for queer cinema. The film also won the Grand Prize at the 17th Busan International Film Festival in 2012, as well as the Best Director Award at the 13th Jeonju International Film Festival in 2012. The film was also nominated for the Best Film Award at the 19th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards in 2012.
White Night has also received positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised the film's realistic and sensitive portrayal of queer issues and relationships, as well as the performances of the lead actors. The film has a rating of 6.5 out of 10 on IMDb[^1^], based on 398 user ratings. The film also has a rating of 3.5 out of 5 on Letterboxd[^3^], based on 1,038 user ratings. Some of the comments from the viewers include:
"A beautiful and heartbreaking film about two men who find each other in a night full of pain and violence."
"A powerful and poignant story of love and hate, fear and courage, hope and despair."
"A stunning and moving film that shows the harsh reality of being gay in South Korea."
"A captivating and emotional film that explores the themes of trauma, healing, identity and connection." aa16f39245