The Korean Film Council(KOFIC) has announced Lee Joon-ik's KingAnd The Clown as Korea's official entry for best foreign-language film inthe 79th Academy Awards.

The sleeper hit, which brokelocal box office records earlier this year, was up against Kim Ki-duk's Time and Bong Joon-ho's The Host - which in turn broke King And The Clown's all-time admissionsrecord over the summer.

The entry was selected by aseven-person committee of critics, filmmakers, festival programmers andacademics, who said the criteria for their decision was based on potential tocommunicate with audiences overseas - namely the Academy members - rather thanthe films' purely aesthetic merits or commercial potential.

They initially expresseddoubts as to whether US audiences would be able to follow the historicaldetails of King And The Clown, butultimately decided in favor of the film's "explosive ability to engage."

Based on a play about thehistorical tyrant King Yonsan, the film places two fictitious street clowncharacters in his court, brought there on penalty of death for satirizing theking's scandalous affair with a commoner.

Against all odds, they charmthe despot and are welcomed into the court, but soon trigger his insanity whenthey put on a play about the palace intrigue that led to the poisoning death ofhis mother. Homoerotic undertones play through the film which forms a trianglebetween the king and the two clowns.

The film swept the localGrand Bell Awards in July, taking best film, best director, and best actor, inaddition to four other awards.

Distributed by CJEntertainment, King And The Clownmade its international premiere at the recent Toronto film festival.