Korean Film Festival mourns Itaewon crowd crash victims
The annual Korean Film Festival was inaugurated on the evening of November 2, at the Bangladesh National Museum. The festival is being hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Bangladesh and the Korea Foundation. The event has been sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
During the opening ceremony, Md Kamruzzaman, Director-General of Bangladesh National Museum; His Excellency (HE) Lee Jang-keun, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Bangladesh, and Chief Guest KM Khalid, Honorable State Minister of Cultural Affairs delivered their remarks.
His Excellency, Lee Jang-keun, greeted the audience with his Bengali speech, saying that he is thankful to all the people who have graced this event with their presence. "For this year, we are holding this Korean Film Festival at a very strange time. As you all know that there was a very sad incident in Seoul a few days ago, during the Halloween celebrations, where as many as 157 people lost their lives," said HE Lee Jang-keun, referencing the Itaewon crowd crash.
Chief Guest and Honourable State Minister of Cultural Affairs, KM Khalid also expressed his sadness over the incident. He remembered 24-year-old Lee Ji-han, who was a rising K-drama and K-pop star, who unfortunately passed away in the accident in Seoul. "Two countries in the world have given their lives for their nation, one is Bangladesh and the other is South Korea, so we hope that this arrangement of films helps you understand and empathise with the soldiers who have fought during the war," said the Honourable State Minister.
Since the Korean Government cancelled all events in their country, due to the devastating accident, the Korean Film Festival in Bangladesh did not kick-off with any form of cultural performances—unlike last year's iteration. HE Lee Jang-Keun also mentioned how deeply affected they have been after the incident. However, they did not want to cancel the film festival since many youngsters have been awaiting this event for a quite some time.
HE Lee Jang-Keun also briefly discussed the history of the colonisation of Korea and how they became independent, while introducing the films that would be screened at the festival.
The festival will be exhibiting a total of five films, the first of which is "Escape from Mogadishu". Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia, and was governed by the Barre government in 1991. The film shows how a rebel movement poses a threat, while the embassies of North and South Korea plead with the Barre government to gain entry to the United Nations. Finally, as riots break out across capital—causing the country's communications and electricity networks to stop working—workers from the embassies of North and South Korea make an attempt to escape the dire situation.
Based on real-life events, "Escape from Mogadishu" is South Korea's nomination for the 'Best International Feature Film' category at the 94th Academy Awards. At the 42nd Blue Dragon Film Honors and the 30th Building Film Awards, the film took home a total of six awards total, including the award for 'Best Film'. "Escape from Mogadishu" was chosen as the 'Most Popular Film' and Koo Kyo-hwan as the 'Most Popular Star' at the Blue Dragon Film Awards. The film has received a total of 25 accolades as of May 6, 2022, from various award events.
Four other notable films are also being showcased at the festival, including "The Dude in Me", "The Battle of Jangsari", "Underdog" and "The Age of Shadows".