“Eden” is heartbreaking yet inspiring, horrifying yet captivating. The film is akin to running a marathon, it is hard bordering on physically painful but does have a silver lining. Eden is based on the real life story of Chong Kim who was kidnapped and forced into a prostitution ring at eighteen years old. Although originally from Korea she was an American citizen living in New Mexico at the time. Eden (a name given to the title character by her captors) is brought into a terrible nightmare in which she is raped, beaten and threatened into submission. The film is not a documentary, and all names and some events have been changed, but it is closely based on Chong’s story and she collaborated on the screenplay and on set. Many other victims have given positive feedback and said it is an accurate portrayal of sex slavery in America according to director Megan Griffiths.
Eden is taken one night from a club and immediately brought to a storage facility where she is thrown in with the other stolen girls. She learns quickly that fighting back or running away will only get her (and possibly her family) killed. Instead she makes herself invaluable to her captors as she works toward finding a way out. The film does not let up as she is presented with horror after horror. Although not easy to watch, it is truly a masterpiece of filmmaking. At no point does it feel overdone or surreal and each character is given a voice. It is no surprise that “Eden” won three awards at SXSW including the Audience Award for Narrative Feature. In the Q&A following the screening, Megan Griffiths advised anyone inclined to learn more or work towards ending human trafficking to check out organizations such as the Polaris Project.
Directed by: Megan Griffiths
Written by: Richard B. Phillips, Megan Griffiths, Story by: Richard B. Phillips, Chong Kim
Starring: Jamie Chung, Beau Bridges and Scott Mechlowicz