[EDITORIALS]Good news for Korean films

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[EDITORIALS]Good news for Korean films

The movie “Silmido” has now sold 10 million tickets, a new milestone for a domestic film. Because the movie is rated, “over 15,” about a third of Koreans over that age have seen the movie. This is an amazing feat by any standard.
In terms of quality and quantity, Korean movies are enjoying a renaissance.
At the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2002, Lim Kwon-taek received the Best Director prize for “Chihwaseon.” Then Lee Chang-dong was named best director at the 2002 Venice Film Festival for his movie, “Oasis.”
This year, Kim Ki-duk won the Best Director award at the Berlin Film Festival for his movie “Samaria.” We have won awards at three major international film festivals.
Ticket sales here keep rising, breaking one record after another.
After the public success of the 1999 movie “Swiri,” movies such as “Friend” and “Silmido” have carried on the triumphant box office success. The new film “Taegukgi” has had an audience of 5 million in a matter of 13 days, catching up rapidly with “Silmido.” We may have another record breaker on hand.
The successes do not merely mean that our culture is spreading throughout the world. It is also welcome that the success translates into exports, tourism imports and sales of videotapes and DVDs.
But box office appeal must not become a hindrance to the diversity of movies. Already, there is a formula that is emerging; movies focus on North-South Korea themes and add a touch of humanity. That promises box office success. We should not use the difficult situation of North-South relations for commercial purposes because films can provide a history education for young generations.
The massive box-office appeal can be partly traced to the screen quota system. If four or five screens in a movie theater are showing the same film, there is no need for multiplex cinemas, and blockbusters would crowd out films of good quality but with smaller production or advertising budgets.
In order to provide a diverse menu of movies to audiences, we should review the possibility of having a limited number of movies, such as two in the case of France, shown in movie complexes.
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