Organisers of South Korea's Busan film festival said Tuesday they have asked the director and cast of a North Korean romantic comedy to attend a screening of their movie, the first ever invitation made to the communist nation.
Director Kim Gwang-Hun and the cast of "Comrade Kim Goes Flying" have been invited to Asia's top film festival to be held from October 4 to 13, a festival spokeswoman told AFP.
The comedy, which was co-directed by Nicholas Bonner of Britain and Anja Daelemans of Belgium and filmed in Pyongyang, will be screened at the annual event in the southern port city which first began in 1996.
It tells the story of a perky female coal miner from the countryside who yearns to join a state circus trapeze troupe and a trapeze star who first mocks her ambition but eventually falls in love with her.
"We once screened a documentary made by the Belgian director and that's how we got to know about the latest movie...we are still waiting (for a response from the North)," the spokeswoman said.
Invitations to the North were sent via the Beijing-based Bonner, she added. There is no direct mail or phone exchanges between two Koreas which technically remain at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice.
The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, was also to be screened during the week-long Pyongyang International Film Festival ending on Thursday, said a pro-North newspaper published in Japan.
"Some of the scenes from the movie were shown during an opening ceremony, garnering much attention from the audience," the Chosun Sinbo said Monday.
Most films and art forms in the North are aimed at praising communism and idolising the ruling Kim family that has ruled the impoverished and isolated state with pervasive personality cult and an iron fist for some 60 years.
Cross-border ties have been icy since Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing its warship at a loss of 46 lives in March 2010. The North denied involvement but went on to shell a border island that left four South Koreans dead in November the same year.