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The Age of Shadows, Warner Bros.’ first local production in South Korea, will represent the Asian country as its candidate for the 2017 Oscars’ best foreign-language film, the Korean Film Council announced on Tuesday.
Set during the 1920s, the spy drama, directed by Kim Jee-woon, focuses on independence fighters who tried to smuggle explosives from Shanghai into Japanese-occupied Korea. The film stars A-lister Song Kang-ho, who joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) last year.
The Snowpiercer actor also played the lead in last year’s South Korean Oscar entry The Throne. Starring opposite Song is Gong Yoo, who appeared in this year’s box-office-record-breaking zombie film Train to Busan.
Each year, the Korean Film Council chooses the country’s Oscar contender. While Korean films have gained in prominence and international recognition in the past few decades, South Korea has yet to receive a foreign-language Oscar nomination.
The Korean Film Council said in a statement that it selected Shadows for “not only its high aesthetic achievement but also because of the director and the actors’ prominence, as well as its international sales and marketing [appeal].”
Shadows will premiere at the Venice Film Festival before screening at the Toronto Film Festival. It will hit Korean theaters on Sept. 7.
Kim is known for such action-packed films as The Good, The Bad, The Weird and I Saw the Devil.
The Academy will continue to accept submissions for the foreign-language category through the end of September before announcing its nominees in January.
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