S. Korean movie emerges as cultural symbol after years of illegal screening in China
SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) — "My Sassy Girl," a romantic comedy from South Korea, emerged as one of the 10 most popular Korean cultural symbols among Chinese people due to the widespread circulation of pirate DVDs, its producer said Wednesday, citing a Chinese survey.
According to the survey of 15 million people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the 2001 blockbuster was named among the 10 most representative Korean items along with TV dramas, plastic surgery, kimchi and music bands.
While the film, starring Jeon Ji-hyun and directed by Kwak Jae-yong, proved wildly successful in other Asian countries, it has never had an official release in China, said Shincine, the Seoul-based company that produced the film.
"It cannot be screened in China because Shincine has had no deals with Chinese companies to release it there, but we’ve heard from Chinese Culture Ministry officials that it was shown in some theaters and even aired on TV," said Kim So-yun, who works on the company’s publicity staff.
The Chinese ministry officials said about 100 million pirated copies of the movie’s DVD have circulated in China, Kim said. In 2004, South Korean media reported sales of some 70 million pirated DVDs of the movie.
With Jeon’s enormous star power, "Sassy Girl" became a blockbuster in South Korea and also proved successful in Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. Dreamworks Pictures in the United States bought its remake rights, which were resold to Gold Circle Film. The movie is about a male college student and a girl with eccentric and bullying behavior.
For other Korean cultural symbols, the survey named patriotism, "hangeul" (the Korean alphabet), "bulgogi" (marinated beef), Seoul and other Korean food.
The survey was conducted mostly online and also by mobile phone from June to August by the China-Korea Economic Development Association, a Beijing-based private organization, and the China Economy Newspaper, a Seoul-based journal on China, Shincine said.
Source: KBS Global