11/19/2022, 16.01
SOUTH KOREA
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Saint Andrew Kim’s life becomes a film (VIDEO)

Titled "Birth”, the biopic follows the life and death of the first Korean priest and martyr, killed in 1846 at the age of 25. It will open in theatres on 30 November, but a preview was screened at the Vatican this week. He “dreamt of equality and truth in a new world and tried to change it. And this is also a seed for the present,” said the popular Korean actor who played him.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – In South Korea, the life of Saint Andrew Kim (1821-1846), the first priest and martyr of the local Church, arrives on the big screen.

Written and directed by Park Heung-shik and co-produced by the Alma Art Center (Korea Catholic Cultural Center), "Birth" tells the story of the birth of Catholicism in the peninsula.

The biopic will hit theatres on 30 November, but a few days ago, it was previewed at the Vatican thanks to Card Lazarus You Heung-sik, prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy.

As bishop of Daejeon, the prelate strongly backed the project in order to mark the bicentenary of the birth of the saint, celebrated last year.

“Birth” presents Kim’s short life. Born into a family of Christian converts in 1821, he travelled to Macau to study. In 1845, he was ordained in Shanghai, becoming Korea’s first Catholic priest.

The film follows his adventurous return home where he was persecuted and arrested by the Joseon dynasty for his efforts of evangelisation, dying a martyr the following year at the age of only 25.

The narrative highlights the saint’s strong testimony of love for God and man that greatly impressed those who made the film, including Yoon Si-yoon, the popular television actor who plays Kim.

At a press junket, the actor said that Saint Andrew Kim personifies “all those people who were able to break with the old and open a new culture and for this reason are revered as heroes.”

Above all, “They dreamt of equality and truth in a new world and tried to change it. And this is also a seed for the present."

For his part, director Park underlined the role played by Father Kim in the meeting between Korea and the world.

"He didn't know the modern era,’ Park explained, “but he made a huge effort to open a way in for the sake of the Korean people.”

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