Movie on 1987 Bombing of KAL Plane Opens in South Korea
Jun. 09, 1990
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A feature film on the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner by alleged North Korean agents opened to the public here Saturday and some criticized it as propaganda.
Others, however, praised the South Korean-made film, titled ''Virgin Terrorist'' in English, as an artistic achievement.
The film drew about 1,500 people to first-day showings in the capital, publicists said. Earlier, about 1,200 people, including half a dozen Cabinet ministers, attended a by-invitation premiere.
The documentary-style film features a self-confessed North Korean female agent who, along with a male companion, bombed a South Korean plane near Burma, killing all 115 people on board.
The woman, Kim Hyun-hui, 27, said she blew up the plane on orders from North Korean leaders to scare foreign athletes and officials away from the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. North Korea denied involvement.
The film's Korean title is ''Mayumi,'' the false name used by the woman.
Ms. Kim said she and her male companion, traveling on forged Japanese passports, planted a time bomb on the plane before getting off at a stop in Abu Dhabi. The plane disappeared near Burma's Andaman Sea.
The scene of the plane being blown up in flight - which reportedly cost $1 million to stage - is graphic. It shows bodies being ripped apart and falling from the aircraft in flames and smoke.
Ms. Kim and her companion were stopped by airport officials after traveling on to Bahrain. Upon being apprehended, they both swallowed cyanide. The man died but she survived and was later extradited to Seoul.
Ms. Kim was found guilty of the bombing and sentenced to death. The Seoul government pardoned her in April, however, saying that she had been duped by North Korea.
''This is an anti-terror movie which bespeaks our national tragedy, the division of the peninsula, of which I myself am a direct victim,'' said the film's director, Shin Sang-ok.
Shin, 62, and his actress wife, Choi Eun-hee, said they were abducted to North Korea while visiting Hong Kong in 1978. They defected to the West through Vienna in 1985 and moved to the United States.
Shin denied that the South Korean government asked him to make the movie. But critics said there was evidence of government assistance and cooperation.
Lee Woo-ho, a leader of the Moonhwa Broadcasting Co., the nation's second- largest television network, said his union will fight to block a contract to show the film, which he called a ''cheap anti-Communist movie.''
Kim So-ra, a 24-year-old Seoul college student, played the lead role. she said she was chosen because of physical resemblance to Ms. Kim.