Controversy brews over new film on ParkA new film about Park Chung Hee is adding fuel to the ongoing controversy over the former president and his authoritarian rule.
A preview of “Geuttae Geusaramdeul” (The President’s Last Bang) was held on Monday for an audience that included politicians and filmmakers.
Supporters of Mr. Park have blasted the film’s portrayal of the former president and his assassination, and the movie is expected to create further political and social discord in a country where his rule from 1961 to 1979 remains a sensitive issue.
MK Pictures, the producer, plans to release the film on Thursday, but an ongoing legal battle makes it unclear whether it will ever be seen by the public.
Park Ji-man, the former president’s son, is seeking an injunction against the film’s distribution; the court said it would announce a decision on Tuesday.
Several parts of the film are considered problematic. According to Mr. Park, his father is described as a promiscuous man in the film. The president also speaks Japanese and listens to Japanese music several times in the movie, a painful issue to many Koreans because of Japan’s colonial rule. More crucially, the president's death is portrayed in an insulting and comical manner, Mr. Park claims, depicting the president as servile and cowardly.
Mr. Park says, “The film is not fiction, but a documentary based on true events. However, some scenes in the film distort the truth, humiliating the former president.”
In the film, President Park has a sexual relationship with a young woman, and her mother discusses it in detail. He also uses Japanese terms ― when he orders his subordinates to bring Shim Su-bong, a popular Korean singer of that time, to a party he is giving, he refers to her as “the girl who can sing Enka (Japanese songs) very well.”
Kim du-yeong, a former secretary to the president, said, “President Park didn't like Enka at all. He even scolded Shim Su-bong when she sang an Enka.”
When he is shot by Kim Jae-kyu, his intelligence chief, the former president desperately says, “Are you going to shoot again? This is enough...”
The producers argue that the movie is not a documentary but a “docu-drama,” or a combination of the director's creativity and imagination and actual facts, adding that the audience should be the judge of the film’s merits.
Im Sang-su, the director, said, “Watch and evaluate the film as a whole, not based on some parts.”
Even though Park Ji-man did not mention it, the film has a scene that might be the most offensive and insulting to those who still have respect for the former president. In that scene, a drunk President Park at a private party rests his head against a college girl's chest and listens to an Enka that Shim Su-bong sings. His secretary is also lying down in the room near the president, smoking a cigarette.
A sentence at the start of the film reads, “The details of the story and representation of the characters are all fictional,” emphasizing that the movie is a fictional drama. But, Mr. Park says, “Since the beginning and the end of the film show actual scenes from the president's funeral, the film would look like a documentary to the audience.”
by Kim Jin, Choi Sun-young