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Park Seeks to Ban Film on Late President

2005/01/11 Source

By Lee Yong-sung
Staff Reporter

Park Ji-man, the only son of former President Park Chung-hee, has taken legal action to prevent the release of a new feature film dealing with the assassination of his late father in the late 1970s.

According to the application for a provisional disposition submitted to the Seoul Central District Court on Monday, Park, the younger brother of Grand National Party leader Park Geun-hye, accused the makers of "People at That Time - The President's Last Bang (Kuddae Ku Saramdul)" of dishonoring the late president by presenting a distorted and biased description.

However, KangJeGyu & Myung Film, which produced the film, said they had no political motivations nor any intention to defame the late president through the movie, scheduled to open next month.

"We haven't received any legal document about that yet", the company said. "We will take proper actions as soon as we receive notification".

With a production cost of 6 billion won, "People at That Time" recounts the day of the president's death on Oct. 26, 1979, but does not use real names. The film is directed by Im Sang-soo and stars Baek Yoon-sik from " The Big Swindle (Pomchoeui Chaegusong)" playing a character based on Kim Jae-kyu, then chief of the Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) and who assassinated President Park.

Han Suk-kyu plays a KCIA official and Kim's right-hand man and Song Jae-ho plays the president.

On Park's move for legal action to prevent the release of the film, the public has shown a mixed reaction, but the majority seem to think that Park is going too far.

"In talking about dishonoring the former president, the junior Park must stay calm", one posting on the portal site Empas ( said.

Most members of the National Assembly's Culture and Tourism Council also disagreed with Park's move.

"It's an irrational act that goes against the idea of freedom of expression", Uri Party lawmaker Min Byung-doo told Sports Today, a local sports and entertainment daily.

Other people, however, pointed out that the filmmaker should be careful in dealing with a historical figure, the evaluation of whom is yet to be settled.

The 46-year-old Park, who currently runs a relatively small electronics firm he took over in 1991, came to the center of media attention last month when he married a 30-year-old lawyer at a ceremony held at a hotel in eastern Seoul. Some 2,000 guests, including former and incumbent politicians, officials, academics and celebrities, attended.

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