Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Save the Youth! Cripple the Film Industry!

I found a lovely editorial in the Joongang Ilbo titled 'Film filth and our youth':
The administration and the ruling party stepped back a bit from their plan to regulate movies depicting school violence in the face of public criticism against such a move. The administration and the party said they would not try to change the law on movies immediately, but that they would look for other measures to prevent children from being exposed to such films.
Recently, a high school student in Chungju, North Chungcheong province, committed suicide after being bullied by her classmates. But the idea of regulating movies to prevent school violence invites opposition for reasons of freedom of expression and adverse effects on the film industry.
Still, we believe that movies that can give impressionable teenagers the idea that violence is acceptable should be controlled in some way. Movies with excessive violence and foul language do influence young minds and the result is the present violence- and obscenity-prone generation.
Yes, that will solve the problem of youth violence, for which movies are entirely to blame. I'm sure growing up in an increasingly commercialized, materialistic society, living in monotonous concrete cities, being forced into a pressure-cooker educational environment which robs them of their childhood, while being exposed to foreign ideas which challenge almost every aspect of the societal order has nothing to do with it. Ending the depiction of youth violence in films will most certainly bring about the end youth violence in Korea, just like the lack of films depicting teen sex has guaranteed that teens here aren't having (unprotected) sex in greater and greater numbers.

(I also enjoyed the non sequitor about the girl from Chungju who committed suicide after being bullied).

Considering how well Korean films have been performing at the (Korean) box office over the past few years, and how well Korean films have been doing at foreign film festivals, and how the film industry's achievements are seen by the government and media as both a valuable cultural asset that is improving Korea's image abroad and as an important industry, it seems like idiocy that politicians would want to do it harm. "Hey, remember when nobody watched our movies because of their cheap production values and because censorship guaranteed we couldn't deal with juicy political and sexual topics? Let's relive those days!" "And hey, remember how the film quota helped pave the way for today's successes? Let's scrap it! (or reduce it at any rate)".

Perhaps the Unification ministry is behind this - they certainly seem to agree with censoring the media, as well as calling only for 'cheerful and admirable stories'.

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