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'Blue Swallow' Faces Turbulence

2005/12/22 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

The upcoming film "Blue Swallow" seems to face strong criticism from moviegoers prior to its official release on Dec. 29.

The blockbuster film is a fictional treatment of the true story of Park Kyong-won, a female pilot of the 1920s, with the addition of fictional characters and narratives to tell the story of her career and love life.

But many argue that Park was pro-Japanese, participating in many propaganda activities during Japanese colonial rule and should be considered a traitor to the nation and its people. Some even suggest the movie should not be released.

In addition, it was belatedly discovered that Park was not the first female Korean pilot in Korean history as claimed by Korea Pictures, the film's maker, requiring the promotional campaign for the film to be changed. The first Korean female pilot turned out to be Kwon Ki-ok, who worked for the Chinese air force against Japan.

Because of all the unfavorable responses to the film, the director and cast spent part of their news conference after the film's screening in Seoul Wednesday defending Park.

"I don't have any intention to embellish her or depict her as a independence fighter in my film", director Yoon Jong-chan said. "I just wanted to show a tragedy of a woman who had to choose her dream over her country".

On the other hand, Yoon said Park is not blameless for her pro-Japanese activities, but the film tries to reveal her involvement with the Japanese so that audiences can make their own judgment.

Born in Taegu in 1901, Park went against all odds and set out for Japan at the age of 16 to become a pilot. She attended pilot school and graduated at the top of her class.

After making a name as a female pilot, she also appeared in gossip columns in newspapers due to scandals involving Matajiro Koizumi, the minister of Posts and Telecommuncations in Japan, who is the grandfather of the current Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.

But in August 1933, the 32-year-old Park died as her plane went down just an hour after takeoff. Her last flight formed part of propaganda activities to encourage people in China, Korea and Japan to participate in war.

"I think the film is more about a woman with strong passion", Jang Jin-yeong said, who plays Park in the film. "I was really touched by her real story".

Jang seems to want people to focus more on the sadness and passion that her character has in the film rather than the issue of whether she was pro-Japanese.

Co-starring Kim Joo-hyuk and Yuko Fueki, the movie was shot in four different countries _ United States, Japan, China and Korea. All aerial scenes, which take up about 30 minutes of the film, are enhanced by the latest technology and computer graphics for greater realism.

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