“Snowpiercer” labelled as anti-market economy, encouraging social resistance by NIS

Posted on : 2017-10-31 17:22 KST Modified on : 2017-10-31 17:22 KST
Reform committee uncovers agency’s blacklist of Korean films
A poster for the film
A poster for the film

“‘Snowpiercer’ repudiates the market economy and encourages campaigns of social resistance.” This was the “review” of director Bong Joon-ho’s film “Snowpiercer” as reported to the Blue House by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) during the Park Geun-hye administration on Aug. 27, 2013. In place of a star system, “red lines” were drawn.

Last Oct. 30, the NIS Reform and Development Committee under chairperson Jeong Hae-gu announced findings from its investigation into a culture and arts blacklist created and implemented by the NIS on order from Park-administration Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon and others.

At the time, the NIS provided the Blue House with its own arbitrary assessments of the types of content being produced by CJ, which operates South Korea’s largest entertainment business. Titled “CJ’s Growing Left-Leaning Culture Industry and Recruitment Efforts,” the report to the Blue House includes a number of evaluations of films provided by CJ subsidiary CJ E&M.

“‘Memories of Murder,’ ‘Public Enemy,’ and ‘Silenced’ portray government officials and police as corrupt and/or incompetent groups, instilling negative perceptions in the public.”

“‘Joint Security Area’ and ‘The Berlin File’ depict North Korean soldiers and intelligence agents as comrades and decent figures, misrepresenting pro-North Korea forces as friendly.”

“‘Masquerade,’ which was seen by 10 million viewers, provided indirect support to candidate Moon Jae-in in the last president election by recalling former President Roh Moo-hyun.”

“Under the direction of ‘leftist’ film director Jang Jin, [‘Saturday Night Live Korea’] disparages the president, parodying him as the most foul-mouthed and supercilious character ‘Tto’ in the ‘Yeouido Teletubbies segment. Encourages perspectives critical of the government.”

“Examples of recruiting leftists include the employment of active MBC labor union strike supporters Choi Il-gu and Oh Sang-jin as anchors and producer Na Yeong-seok, who supported the KBS labor union strike, as artistic director.”

“Representation of pro-North leftist perspectives encouraged with the frequent inclusion of Tak Hyun-min, Kim Eo-joon, Pyo Chang-won, and Jin Joong-kwon on discussion panels, along with National Assembly member Lim Su-yung and Hankyoreh reporter Sung Han-yong.”

The NIS also described CJ vice chairperson Lee Mi-kyung at the time as the “godmother of the pro-Roh [Moo-hyun] side.” It recommended “strongly urging corrective action from CJ and controlling the excessive growth of efforts so that Lee’s tacit approval and support for the company’s left-leaning activities does not harm national identity or otherwise become a burden for the administration.”

The reports showed the NIS evaluating and encouraging press on the project activities by a private company. Lee stepped down from management in Oct. 2014 and left for the United States. CJ explained at the time that she had departed for health reasons.

By Kim Nam-il, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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