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'Spring' director hoping to hit Tinseltown

2003/09/27 Source

Director Kim Ki-duk's new film "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" has been chosen to represent Korea for an Academy Award nomination, the Korean Film Commission announced Wednesday.

Dealing with a Buddhist monk's quest for truth as he matures from a child to an adult, the film is the ninth of Kim's prolific career and was released in Korea Sept. 19.

Although Kim has been a fixture at international cinema showcases over the past several years, his selection to represent Korea is seen as a sign of his growing acceptance into the mainstream.

Kim's proclivity toward bloody scenes of sexual violence enthralled viewers in Venice and Karlovy Vary but triggered criticism at home that he was spreading a distorted image of Korea abroad.

Kim toned down his method of expression for his new film, veering away from his typical imagery for a quieter and more philosophical meditation that earned his first over-15 rating. The film's paucity of dialogue and focus on Eastern themes are also seen as having boosted its chance of being chosen.

Of the entries from around the world, five will be nominated Jan. 27 and one will win an Oscar statue for best foreign film Feb. 29 at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

Korea has contended for an Academy Award nomination four times. Shin Sang-ok's "Mayumi" was submitted in 1991, Chung Ji-young's "Life and Death of the Hollywood Kid" in 1995, Im Kwon-taek's "Chunhyang" in 2000, and Lee Chang-dong's "Oasis" in 2002. None have been nominated.

By Kim Jin

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