Kim Ki Duk, National Anthem and Kerala

clicked during the interview in 2013

It’s a running joke in Kerala that South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki Duk makes films mainly for the Kerala audience, with the International Film Festival of Kerala in mind. For, this is the only city where he was literally mobbed, when he decided to take a walk in the morning, back in 2013. The last few films of his though had not found much favour with the audience here. The latest one ‘The Net’, with its story of a North korean fisherman ending up in South Korea and being mistaken for a spy, seems to have a struck a chord. Especially that one sequence, which strengthens our doubt whether he is making films with Malayalis in mind.

This sequence involves a South Korean spy-catcher getting exposed for using fake documents and inhuman torture to make innocents look like spies. Knowing that his game is up, after being thrashed roundly by his superior, the spy-catcher, takes refuge in that last refuge of the scoundrels — patriotism, or in other words, the South Korean National Anthem.

He stands up and starts spiritedly singing the anthem, as if that could protect him from the repercussions of his failings. Claps, whistles and cheers were heard from the crowd at that moment, pointing perhaps to the fact that a large number of those who stood up for those National Anthems before each of the films here, did it out of fear of the scoundrels on the prowl amid them. Mr.Duk seems to have foreseen the Anthem controversy at the IFFK.