Moon gives his blessing to pro-democracy film

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Moon gives his blessing to pro-democracy film


President Moon Jae-in, fifth from right, with his wife Kim Jung-sook, fourth from right, after a screening of “1987: When the Day Comes,” a historical film about the pro-democracy movement in which he was a participant, at the CGV Yongsan theater in central Seoul on Sunday. Moon had lunch with key cultural figures, including actress Kim Gyu-ri, fifth from left, who were targeted through a “cultural blacklist” for being critical of the administration of his predecessor, President Park Geun-hye. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday watched a popular historical film about a pro-democracy movement in which he himself played a leading role as a human rights lawyer.

The movie, “1987: When the Day Comes,” depicts the landmark year when Korea’s struggle for democracy led to the death of a university student at the hands of military police and mass protests in June that year calling for an end to the military-backed government.

Chun Doo Hwan, a general who ran the country with an iron fist, bowed to protesters and agreed to a constitutional revision that included direct presidential elections.

After watching the film, considered significant because the politics of 1987 still separate the country’s left and right today, Moon said the movie showed that though the world cannot change suddenly, it can if citizens work together.

“During the June struggle, what plagued democracy fighters most was the question of whether the world would change,” Moon said, “and now there are some who raise the question of whether there will be any difference after a change of government. I believe this movie is the answer to that question.

“The movie,” he added, “shows when we muster up our power, when Yeon-hee participates [in protests], the world will change,” referring to a female protagonist in the film.

Moon also heaped praise on the movie, raising expectations that the number of viewers will reach the industry benchmark of 10 million.

“I cried all throughout the movie and was touched by it,” he said.

For Moon, the movie was a reminder of his grueling fight in the ’70s against dictator Park Chung Hee, who ran the country for 18 years before Chun. Moon was jailed in 1975 for joining a pro-democracy campaign.

Moon also led the June 1987 uprising in the southern city of Busan with the late President Roh Moo-hyun when they were human rights lawyers.

The movie premiered on Dec. 27 and had attracted more than 3.66 million viewers as of Saturday.

Moon later had a luncheon with local artists that the former Park Geun-hye administration allegedly blacklisted for being critical of her conservative government.

“When I heard of the blacklisting and met with those who suffered disadvantages, I always felt a sense of guilt,” he said.

The liberal president pointed out that many of the victims were those who supported him during the 2012 presidential race in which Park bested him.

“I once again extend my words of solace to those who suffered from the blacklist,” he said.

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