SEOUL, July 31 (Korea Bizwire) – The Korean film “The Battleship Island” held a prescreening for UNESCO officials and diplomats in Paris to increase the world’s awareness of the dark history of the Japanese island where hundreds of Koreans were forced to work as coal miners and sex slaves during World War II, its distributor said Monday.
“We had a special prescreening of ‘The Battleship Island’ at the headquarters of Metropolitan Film Export, the film’s French distributor, with UNESCO headquarters officials and Korean diplomats stationed in Paris attending Friday (local time),” CJ Entertainment said in a release.
Among the 30 South Korean diplomats who attended the event were Ambassador to UNESCO Lee Byong-hyun, Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Yoon Jong-won, and Park Jae-bum, chief of the Korean Cultural Center in Paris.
Based on the dark history of Japan’s Hashima Island, better known as Battleship Island after its resemblance to the warship, the movie depicts a story of Koreans who risk their lives to escape the island. Korea was a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945.
The South Korean government has confirmed that 122 Koreans died on the island during the war.
Despite Seoul’s diplomatic efforts to prevent it, Hashima Island was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in July 2015 as a symbol of Japan’s rapid industrialization. UNESCO recommended Tokyo implement measures to explain its full history, but no action has yet been taken.
“We organized this event in Paris, where the UNESCO headquarters is located, in order to raise global awareness of the hidden history of the island on the UNESCO world heritage list,” CJ Entertainment said. “We wanted to raise the attention of the international community on Japan’s failure to implement the UNESCO recommendation.”
The distributor also had a special prescreening of the film for some 160 foreign diplomats in South Korea last Tuesday.
Released on Wednesday, the homegrown blockbuster directed by Ryoo Seung-wan of “Veteran” claimed the top spot on the South Korean weekend box office, attracting more than 4 million people by Sunday. It stars Song Joong-ki, So Ji-sub, Hwang Jung-min, Kim Soo-ahn and Lee Jung-hyun.