‘Birdman’ film’s kimchi line stirs debate in Korea

February 23, 2015
A still released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Michael Keaton, left, as Riggan in a scene from the film, "Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance" directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. (AP Photo/Copyright Twentieth Century Fox, Atsushi Nishijima, File)

A still released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Michael Keaton, left, as Riggan in a scene from the film, “Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. (AP Photo/Copyright Twentieth Century Fox, Atsushi Nishijima, File)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The dark comedy “Birdman,” which swept the Academy Awards, seems to have irked some Korean film buffs over a line involving the country’s traditional dish, kimchi, in the latest controversy over cultural abasement.

Some critics have accused the film for mocking Korean culture calling it “ignorant” and “unnecessary,” citing a line in which Emma Stone, who portrays the daughter of the protagonist Riggan Thomson, compares the scent of flowers to kimchi, a signature side dish that has both won fans and put off others with its sharp, tangy smell.

The local marketer of the Oscar-winning film strongly denied such a claim.

“The flower shop Emma Stone visits in the film is run by an Asian and the line was simply used to portray her neurotic character. There is no intention at all to belittle a certain country or culture,” a company official said by phone.

The disputed line came into attention as some moviegoers who saw the film in the United States raised the issue. Its local release is scheduled for March 5.

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