In Ji-woo Jung’s Fourth Place, Young Jun-Ho’s mother sees her son as a potential swimming champion, leaving him in the hands of a merciless coach, thus opening the door to moral and physical abuse.

Carefully crafted, structured with simplicity in a straight forward fashion, Fourth Place throws a punch at bullying by exposing the process (there is a beautiful 20 minutes prologue with the coach as a young man) leading to such anomaly.

Built on strong performances by the leads (particularly Hang-na Lee as the mother), the film tackles the excess of a society longing for performance at any price with the increasing abusive behaviors surrounding a kid seen as a potential winner by his relatives. Not only the coach but the parents, especially the mother who explicitly closes an eye on the mistreatment of her kin in order to submit to her own addiction to performance and prospective celebrity, make the kid’s life an inferno.

Fourth Place is a compelling drama.


Fantasia Screening: July 23rd 2:40PM

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