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'The Man Standing Next' chosen as S. Korea's 2021 Oscars entry

A political thriller depicting the intense power struggle among former President Park Chung-hee's top aides before one of them assassinated him in 1979 will represent South Korea in next year's Oscars.

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) said Thursday that it has chosen "The Man Standing Next" out of 13 films as the country's entry for the best international feature film category of the 93rd Academy Awards.

The selection came after South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" swept four awards, including best picture and best international feature film, at this year's Oscars.

Directed by Woo Min-ho, "The Man Standing Next" chronicles the 40 days of a secretive power struggle among the aides before Park was shot to death at a safe house in Seoul by his chief intelligence officer Kim Jae-kyu, whose motive for the killing is still debated.

Park is one of the most controversial figures in modern South Korean history, being the head of a military dictatorship while at the vanguard of the miraculous development of the country's economy at the same time.

"'The Man Standing Next' is an attractive film featuring a rather dark side of the history of South Korea renowned for its phenomenal economic growth," KOFIC said in its press release.

"Actor Lee Byung-hun, who has name recognition in the United States, gives a great performance in the movie," it added. Lee plays the role of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency chief who ends up assassinating the president.

The Academy Awards pick the best international film out of five final nominees during an annual ceremony held in Los Angeles every year. Next year, the event is scheduled to take place on April 25, a little behind schedule, due to the new coronavirus pandemic. (Yonhap)