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In 1987, a college student died under interrogation at Namyeongdong, an event that led to nationwide protests that paved the way for democratic reforms and, finally, direct presidential elections.

Kang Yong-jun, who was imprisoned along with Kim for allegedly being a threat to national security, said “the torturers in Namyeongdong felt no remorse or guilt. They believed they were just going about their job in their service of national security.”

Chung said his film is not solely focused on the past, but is also a commentary on South Korea’s National Security Law, which was liberally used under military rule to lock away opponents and remains in place today. The law makes it illegal to praise, sympathize or cooperate with North Korea.

“My movie is titled `National Security’ in English because wrongdoings have been perpetrated under the slogan of national security and still are,” he said.

“I just hope viewers will feel that nothing like this torture should happen again,” he said.

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