The film which will open this year’s Jeonju International Film Festival is Foxfire by Laurent Cantet who won Palme d'Or at 2008 Cannes with The Class. Foxfire is based on a novel by one of the most renowned female writers of the English-speaking world, Joyce Carol Oates, Oates has written over fifty novels as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry and non-fiction and one of the topics she likes to delve into is life seen from a female perspective in a male-dominated world, full of sex and violence. In Foxfire, Oates focuses on these issues through perspective of teenage girls who turn into gang members.
In his debut feature, Human Resources, Cantet depicted a labor union on strike struggling against the company. The film features non-professional actors in a limited number of settings, blurring the boundary between the genres of documentary and fiction, thereby showing a new kind of cinematic force of becoming involved in reality. We were under the impression that Cantet’s cinematic interest was limited to the life of the worker. But, as we saw in The Class which deals with a teacher and his students in a poverty-stricken area, his eyes focus on all those who live in the margins of society, the weak who the mainstream has chosen to ignore.
Foxfire portrays the progress of girls who were victims of sexual abuse who then turn to seducing men for money. The irony is that the method by which the girls were abused, in the end becomes the way for them to survive in the harsh, male-dominated world. The questions the film raises is this: is it possible to live in such a corrupt world without losing innocence? They end up becoming more and more marginalized, only depending on each other in a world where the line between good and evil become ever more blurry. This is not just the progress of the girls but also a self-portrait of all of us living in the present age.