S. Korean cinema finally embraces Palme d'Or at Cannes: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : May 27, 2019, 07:49 | Updated : May 27, 2019, 07:49

[Reuters/Yonhap news photo]

CANNES, France -- Thanks to Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" being awarded the Palme d'Or at Cannes on Saturday, South Korea has bagged the highest honor at two of the world's three most acclaimed film competitions -- Cannes, Venice and Berlin.

The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival gave its top prize to Bong's black comedy movie about a poor family becoming obsessed with a rich one after their son gets a job as a tutor for the wealthy family. It is the first time that a South Korean filmmaker has grabbed the highest honor at Cannes.

The country's filmmakers started to knock the door of the French film festival in 1984 when Lee Doo-yong's historical drama "Spinning Wheel" was played in the "Un Certain Regard" sidebar. In 2002, renowned director Im Kwon-taek took the best director award with "Chihwaseon," which features a nineteenth-century Korean painter who changed the direction of Korean art, bringing home the nation's first Cannes' official trophy.

Two years later, Cannes' second-highest honor -- the Grand Prix -- went to Park Chan-wook's "Old Boy," helping the director rise to worldwide stardom. He also collected the Jury Prize, the third-highest honor at the French festival, for his 2009 horror movie "Thirst," becoming one of the most beloved directors at Cannes.

In 2007, Cannes granted Jeon Do-yeon the best actress award for her performance in "Secret Sunshine," while director Lee Chang-dong took home the best screenplay award in 2010 for his drama "Poetry." Apart from their success in Cannes, meanwhile, South Korean films have fared even better at the Venice International Film Festival.

Back in 1987, the best actress award was given to Kang Soo-youn for her leading role in "The Surrogate Woman," directed by Im Kwon-taek. Lee Chang-dong's "Oasis" and Kim Ki-duk's "3-Iron" won the Silver Lion for best direction in 2002 and 2004, respectively.'

Finally, Kim made history when his drama "Pieta" won the Golden Lion for best movie at the 69th Venice Film Festival in 2012, becoming the first Korean film to attain a top prize from any of the world's three largest film festivals.

South Korean flicks have also made their presence felt at the Berlin International Film Festival. Kim Ki-duk's "Samaritan Girl" earned the Silver Bear prize for best director at the 2004 festival, while Park Chan-wook won the Alfred Bauer Prize for his 2007 romantic comedy "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK." The festival presented the best actress award to Kim Min-hee for her role in "On the Beach at Night Alone" in 2017.
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