Hot Docs 2016: The Apology

A group of women demand to be apologized for being forced into sexual slavery in The Apology. During World War II, over 200,000 women across Asia were forcibly made “comfort women” by the Japanese Imperial Army, many of whom were only in their teens at the time. More than 70 years later, the surviving comfort women, known collectively as “The Grandmas,” are demanding the Japanese government to issue and official apology for the way they were treated during the war.

The Apology tells the story of these women, who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Being raped by the Japanese soldiers seriously damaged these women, who have had trouble viewing themselves are normal people in the decade following the war, with the women even feeling shameful about telling their family. The Apology follows Grandma Gil from South Korea, Grandma Cao from China, and Grandma Adela from the Philippines, who are three of the last surviving comfort women, all of whom are in their late-80s. Grandma Gil is particular involved in the quest for an apology, with her having been part of a demonstration every week for more than 20 years.

One of the things that The Apology accomplishes is that it enlightens people about these atrocious war crimes that were perpetrated against Asian women. The protests by the grandmas often fall upon death ears, with some Japanese politicians having the audacity to suggest that sexual slavery the necessary during the war. The Apology is an important women’s rights documentary, which will hopefully generate an apology while these former sex slaves are still living.

8 / 10 stars


Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).