The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Con Artists

The Con Artists is a South Korean heist film about Ji-Hyuk (Kim Woo‑Bin), a safe-cracker who assembles a team made of a hacker and an engineer to do one last heist. Their goal? To find the $150 million hidden in Incheon Customs and to steal it in under 40 minutes.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

The Con Artists passes the race test but does not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

2014 - The Con Artists (still 2).png

The entire cast of The Con Artists is Asian, and because none of the cast ever mentions White people, the film easily passes the race test. The same, however, cannot be said when it comes to the film and the Bechdel and Russo test.

There is only one named woman (Eun-Ha as played by Jo Yoon‑Hee) in The Con Artists (not to mention the fact that women never even speak each other) so the film obviously does not meet all of the requirements of the Bechdel test and The Con Artists consequently fails to pass the Bechdel test. The Con Artists also fails to pass the Russo test, and the film does not pass this test because there are no LGBTI characters in The Con Artists.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

*The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.

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