Sat, Mar 01, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Law and disorder

‘The Attorney’ taps into South Korean wave of discontent

By Jung Ha-won  /  AFP, SEOUL

Moon Jae-in, the former Roh aide who ran against Park in the 2012 presidential poll, rented a whole movie theater to watch the film with supporters and some of the real-life Burim Case defendants.

Park’s ruling Saenuri Party dismissed it as a “mere work of fiction.”

Director Yang Woo-seok insists he had no particular agenda but acknowledged that the film had been well timed.

“The box office success we’re seeing now can’t be explained simply with the quality of the movie itself,” Yang told AFP.

“I think a sense of political injustice prevails among many South Koreans, who saw in our film a way to vent their frustration,” he said.

Nostalgia for Roh Moo-hyun was also credited with fuelling the success of 2012’s Gwanghae — a period drama that became the fourth-highest-grossing Korean film.

Many drew parallels between Roh and the lead character — a humble acrobat who stands in for a Joseon dynasty king.

Other celluloid efforts have been intentionally polemical, including Namyeong-dong 1985 — a 2012 movie which details the torture of a real-life democracy activist in 1985.

“Moviemakers are always looking for what appeals to today’s audiences, and they’ve found that movies featuring evil, bad state authorities sell these days,” Kim Sun-yub, a Seoul-based film critic, told AFP.

A recent editorial in the conservative Chosun Ilbo newspaper said films like The Attorney were evidence of a near-universal “liberal bias” in cultural circles.

“Some liberal moviemakers, encouraged by the success of The Attorney, may be busy honing new scenarios now — with the 2017 presidential election in mind,” the editorial warned.

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