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A Barefoot Dream is Korea's surprise Oscar submission

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced Kim Tae-kyun’s A Barefoot Dream will be submitted as South Korea’s candidate for the 2011 Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category nominations.

Starring Park Hee-soon, the film is based on a true story of a down-and-out former football prospect who starts coaching children in East Timor.

Kim Tae-kyun also directed the 2008 North Korean refugee film Crossing, which was previously chosen for the Academy Awards submission, too.

A Barefoot Dream was selected from a pool of six films. The others were Im Sang-soo’s The Housemaid, Lee Chang-dong’s Poetry, Lee Jae-han’s 71 - Into the Fire, Lee Joon-ik’s Blades Of Blood, and Jeon Yong-taek’s Potato Symphony.

A jury of five professionals from the film industry discussed the films on the basis of the level of perfection and how much potential the films had to be chosen by the Academy, ruling out Blades Of Blood and Potato Symphony on these grounds. They thought The Housemaid was possibly too risqué for conservative Academy members and that 71 – Into The Fire, although Korean in material, might be too similar to Hollywood films in style.

The jury came down to the wire arguing between Poetry and A Barefoot Dream. Poetry got high marks for excellence, but was judged too ordinary in its cinematography and potentially too lengthy to hold viewers’ attention. A Barefoot Dream was seen as more universal.


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