SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — A domestic film depicting the life of a typical father from Korea’s older generation has attracted more than 6 million viewers, its investor-distributor said Friday, amid controversy over the film’s alleged right-wing ideological bias.
The human drama drew a record 751,253 people on Thursday alone, the largest-ever number of viewers for a single film on New Year’s Day.
Industry experts say, if the current trend continues, the movie is expected to easily top 7 million this weekend.
Directed by Youn Je-kyun, who is best known for the 2009 hit film “Haeundae,” “Ode to My Father” tells the story of an ordinary father named Deok-su (played by Hwang Jung-min) who sacrificed himself to support his family through the country’s turbulent modern history from the 1950-53 Korean War till recently.
But the movie has sparked heated online controversy since some young critics criticized it for taking an approach of justifying extreme nationalism in appealing to the people’s patriotism for money.
President Park Geun-hye fueled the debate by saying after watching the film earlier this week that “we should love the state whether we are pleasant or sad,” citing a scene from the movie in which the domestic fight between Deok-su and his wife is interrupted by the sound of the national anthem.
In the 1970s, the government played the national anthem in the evenings every day to heighten nationalism. All Korean citizens were obliged to stand up and put their right hand to their chest to show respect when the national anthem was played.