Afterprotracted deliberation which has caused considerable controversy at home,South Korea has chosen Kang Je-gyu's Korean War film Tae Guk Gi torepresent the country in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar competition.

A special5-person jury appointed by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) decided on Sept 22to conditionally recommend Kim Ki-duk's award winning 3 Iron. Howeverquestions arose immediately over the film's eligibility.

Two dayslater the selection committee determined that the film did not qualify, and TaeGuk Ki - the only other film that local companies submitted forconsideration - was chosen instead.

Academyregulations stipulate that all submissions must have received a one-weektheatrical release in their home country before October 1, "in a mannerconsidered normal and customary to the industry." 3 Iron is scheduled to receive itsgeneral release on October 15, but distributor Chungeorahm arranged for onescreening per day to take place at a theatre in Seoul for the last week ofSeptember.

Inquiriesto the Academy over the film's eligibility from KOFIC, international salescompany Cineclick Asia and US distributor Sony Pictures Classics yieldedconflicting responses. However it was ultimately determined that Korea itselfshould decide whether the release qualified.

At thispoint the selection committee, after receiving confirmation from the Academythat 3 Iron would qualify for next year's competition, made a finalannouncement re-affirming the selection of Tae Guk Gi.

The controversy over the selection sparked intense presscoverage and a public statement by Kim Ki-duk saying he "couldn't help butfeel disappointed" at the final decision.

Tae Guk Ki, the bestselling Korean film of all time with a $65m local gross, was released in NorthAmerica on September 3 by Destination and Samuel Goldwyn Films.