11/16/2010, 00.00
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In two months, 120,000 S Koreans won over by documentary about Fr Lee Tae-suk

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
‘Don't cry for me Sudan’ tells the story of the Salesian missionary in Sudan who died last January at the age of 48. He built hospitals, schools and founded a youth movement. His story has captivated Christians and non-Christians alike, many of whom shared their emotions on online forums.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – More than 120,000 people have seen ‘Don’t cry for me, Sudan’, a documentary film that has set a box-office record for its genre in South Korea, this despite limited promotional work and advertising. The movie is about the life of John Lee Tae-suk, a Salesian missionary, and has achieved critical and public acclaim.

Tens of thousands of people of all ages, sex and religious backgrounds, have seen the movie. Enthusiastic comments and reviews have been posted in online movie forums. Ordinary moviegoers have loved the story.

The movie is scheduled for release in Los Angeles, the capital of the US film industry, and should be in the schedule of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival next February.

"Don't cry for me Sudan" tells the story of Fr John Lee Tae-suk, a South Korean missionary, who was a medical practitioner before he took the cowl. He died on 14 January of this year at the age of 48 from colon cancer.

After his ordination in 2001, he travelled to Tonj, a town in southern Sudan deeply affected by war. Since then, he was priest, doctor, teacher, musician, showing loving care to everyone. He also founded a hospital, a school and a youth movement.

On his deathbed, he invoked the figure of St John Bosco. His last words were “Don’t worry. Everything is good.”

Thanks to the documentary, many non-Catholics can now appreciate the priest who achieved a small miracle for the Youth Education Foundation, whose list of donors shot up from 3,000 to 10,000.

Today, medical supplies are guaranteed, new school and hospital buildings are under construction and young people can look forward to the future, because “the seeds of hope Fr Lee sowed in the fields of Tonj will bear fruit in abundance”.

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