The film (aka “Mil-jeong”) is a 1920s set espionage drama involving resistance fighters trying to smuggle explosives from Shanghai into Japanese-occupied Korea. It stars Song Kang-ho (“The Throne”) as a Korean-born Japanese officer who has divided loyalties and Gong Yoo (“Train to Busan”) as the leader of the Korean resistance group. Last year, Song joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as one of the first Korean members.
It will have its world premiere at the Venice festival before then traveling to the Toronto festival. It goes on commercial release in Korea later this week (Sept. 7.)
The selection was made by a special committee of the Korean Film Council. “‘Shadows’ earned high scores not only in terms of its aesthetic achievement, but also of the director and the actors’ recognition, international sales and marketing,” said KOFIC in a statement.
Submissions for the Academy Awards’ foreign-language section close at the end of September. Nominations will not be announced by AMPAS until January. Despite Korea’s impact on global film-making in the past 20 years, no Korean film has ever received a nomination from the Academy.