The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced The Front Line, directed by Jang Hun, will be the Republic of Korea’s entry to the Academy Awards’ foreign language film category.
Starring Shin Ha-kyun and Ko Soo, The Front Line deals with intrigue, confusion, violence and human drama on a hotly contested patch of hilly terrain towards the end of the Korean War.
Other films submitted to KOFIC’s selection committee included Hong Sang-soo’s Cannes entry The Day He Arrives, veteran director Im Kwon-taek’s film about traditional paper Hanji, Juhn Jai-hong’s North Korean-themed Poongsan, and Kang Hyung-chul’s local hit Sunny.
However, the committee said that it ultimately came down to The Front Line and Na Hong-jin’s The Yellow Sea.
“In the case of The Front Line, the subject matter dealing with the Korean War was an advantage, and the level of perfection in the last denouement received high scores. The Yellow Sea got high scores for cinematic perfection, but the excessive cruel violence was pointed out [as problematic],” they said.
The committee stated they made their decision with the criteria of quality and potential to win in mind. They noted, “this was a year with so many excellent films, we were left with regret” to have to decide upon one even after much debate.