Chung Ji-young’s film highlights state torture

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Chung Ji-young’s film highlights state torture

BUSAN - A controversial Korean movie about state-sponsored torture premiered Saturday at the Busan Film Festival, with its director hoping it could influence the upcoming presidential election.

Director Chung Ji-young’s “National Security” highlights the often brutal treatment meted out under Korea’s former military leadership installed by General Park Chung Hee in 1961, which lasted beyond his assassination until 1987.

Park’s daughter Park Geun-hye is running in the Dec. 19 election and last month apologized for the abuses which occurred under her father’s leadership.

“The character and the personality of the film made it appropriate that it was released before the December elections,” said Chung, speaking before the premiere at Asia’s biggest film festival.

“I don’t know how it will influence the presidential elections but I do hope it does influence the way people vote.

“As a filmmaker, if my work has social influence and if people are influenced by my message in the film, that is the most rewarding moment a filmmaker can have.”

The film tells the story of democracy activist Kim Geun-tae, imprisoned and tortured by Korea’s notorious Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) in 1985 over alleged ties to the North and a plot to overthrow the government.

Starring Park Won-sang in the central role, it offers an unflinching look at the various torture methods used by the KCIA and has been greeted with a huge amount of interest - and critical acclaim - here at the festival.

Director Chung made no apologies for the often graphic nature of the production.

“I have been a filmmaker for 30 years and this film gave me the most difficult time of my career,” he said. “If the audience has as difficult a time as I did, then I have achieved my goal.”

“National Security” is based on Kim’s autobiography and Chung said he had invited Park to the premiere.

Although the presidential hopeful was in the audience at the opening of the festival on Thursday night, it could not be confirmed whether or not she had accepted the invitation.

Chung had said before the festival that he “really wanted” Park to see the film and was unconcerned by the possibility it could be claimed the film revealed his own political leanings.

“I don’t care how people look at it or label it,” he said.


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