A resolutely left-field and refreshingly off-kilter drama, July Jung’s A Girl At My Door is a deftly intriguing tale that starts off as a familiar domestic drama before spiralling off into something more unnerving.

The film is given heart and soul by a magnetic performance by Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas – JDIFF 2013) as a policewoman seeking to protect a  young girl from physical abuse. Young-nam (Doona Bae) is the newly appointed chief of a small-town police station. Drama comes into her life in the form of Dohee-ya (Kim Sae-rom), a timid 14-year-old who is beaten by her boozy stepfather. When Yong-ha attacks the girl again, Young-nam offers to let her stay at her house, where the two women offer each other a kind of solace. The film spins off in a subtly different direction when Young-nam’s former girlfriend comes to visit and, despite her good intentions, Young-nam finds herself caught in a terrible position.

A Girl at My Door is an engagingly strange drama that weaves abuse, sexual manipulation and racism into its apparently low-key story.

Mark Adams
Screen International

Please note that the festival is for over 18s only