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[ENTERTAINMENT]Attention! Military more receptive to filmmakers

Oct 06,2002
What if Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, had a spoiled, demanding daughter? A new Korean film, "Hwiparam Gongju" (Whistle Princess), poses the question.

The idea occurred to the scriptwriter, Park Gye-won, when she saw a picture of Kim Jong-il's son walking with his wife, who was carrying a Louis Vuitton bag.

Recently, the topic of the two Koreas has been a sure-fire route to success. While "Shiri" (1999) and "Joint Security Area" (2000) were serious, grayish dramas, "Whistle Princess" is a lighthearted, romantic comedy. "Whistle" is the title of a North Korean pop song that's been well-received in the southern part of the peninsula as well.

An aspiring young actress, Kim Hyeon-su, takes the lead role as a harum-scarum daughter who falls in love with a handsome, reflective South Korean young man (Ji Seong) who is a drummer in an underground rock band.

The film, which recently finished shooting, ends with scenes shot near the Demilitarized Zone, close by the steel, barbed wire fence that separates the Koreas. It's the first movie to be filmed there.

It is extremely rare for a movie to get access to a military base area. "Shiri" and "JSA" were both turned down by military authorities.

"It's like a miracle," says Kang Sung-gu, a major working in the public relations department at the Ministry of National Defense.

Mr. Kang told the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition that the military is recently beginning to open up, and is now receptive to films with sound themes that do not clash with the ministry's principles.

"As long as a film does not go against universal sentiments," Mr. Kang says, "we are more than ready to open the door."

by Chun Su-jin




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