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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Korean Embassy in Dhaka couldn’t host the annual Korea Film Festival last year despite it being a centre of attention. But this year it will be more fun. The festival will be opening with the Oscar-winning movie “Parasite” by Bong Joon-Ho at 5pm on 24 November. It is a black comedy film about a poor family who schemes to become employed by a wealthy family with their unique qualities.

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On the second day on 25 November, “Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982” will be screened at 11am, a film about a woman in her mid-thirties who is living in a male-dominated, patriarchal Korean society, where females are defined by their fathers or husbands.

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On the same day at 3 pm a zombie apocalypse survival movie, “Alive” will be screened. On Friday 26 November, an animated film “Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs” will be shown at 11am. And, lastly, the festival will end by screening “Mal-Mo-E: The Secret Mission” at 3pm, a movie set in the 1940s when Koreans also fought for their language. Bangla subtitles will be added with the films too.

State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid will grace the occasion as the chief guest. There will be also K-pop performances by award-winning Bangladeshi youngsters. This “Korean Film Festival” is going on annually since 2014 but this time it won’t be the same. Other than watching these amazing films, fans will also get many other surprises as this year it’s also a tourism festival. Visitors to the tourism festival will get to enjoy various live activities like VR tours of some tourist places of Korea, Korean folk games, Hanbok wearing, Dalgona Candy making which became really popular after the release of ‘Squid game’, instant photoshoots, and also giveaway of promotional items. There will also be a Korea Corner at the museum with Korean products on display.

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South Korean ambassador Lee Jang-Keun told Prothom Alo English online that while selecting all five films they tried to have a good combination of various genres of Korean movies ranging from comedy and drama to crime and action, and all of them will represent Korea's history, society, and aspects of modern Korean culture.

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We can also highlight the striking similarity between Bangladesh and Korea in terms of defending their own language, which is a common ground in their respective histories of independence. Just like we observe International Mother Language Day on 21 February, South Koreans also celebrate the Korean language and writing system on Hangul Day on 9 October. This is indicated in the movie “Mal-Mo-E: The Secret Mission” which will be showcased on the last day of the “Korean Film and Tourism Festival”.

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When asked if they are planning to hold this festival anywhere else in the future, as many people won’t be able to enjoy this festival for living outside of Dhaka, Ambassador Lee Jang-Keun said, “We are well aware of such aspirations from other parts of Bangladesh and we plan to present similar events in other cities such as Chattogram in the future. Hopefully from next year.” He also said “We are pleased to see the growing influence of so-called Korean soft power through K-culture. I believe that the K-culture phenomenon is disseminating messages of hope to people around the world. We plan to interact with K-movie lovers of Bangladesh in various ways. In particular through a number of Korean culture associations and groups as well as individuals in Bangladesh to encourage them.”

Ambassador Lee Jang-Keun invited everyone by saying, “We are doing our best in promoting South Korea and will continue to do our best to the end. We have all been under stress from the prolonged unprecedented corona pandemic. Please come, join, enjoy and find the messages that the Korean creators are trying to send out through the films.”

The film festival is open to all and is free of charge. We hope you will come to enjoy it too.

* Rumaiysa M Rahman is a 10th grader at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka

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