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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione STORIA EN


70 Directors for Venice 70

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Kim Ki-duk is one of the leading directors of South Korean film d’essai. Born in 1960 in Bonghwa, a small village in South Korea, as a child he moved to Seoul, where he attended a school for professional training in the field of agriculture. His early work experiences included a job as a steelworker and enlistment in the Navy. He approached art and cinema in 1990: in the course of a long journey through Europe, he lived in Paris for two years, where he began to establish himself as a painter. Upon his return to Korea, he took his first steps as a self-taught screenwriter and film director. He made his debut behind the camera in 1996 with Crocodile, the story of a boy who lived on the edge of a river, with a child and his grandfather, stealing the personal belongings of people who committed suicide by drowning. The director’s particular style emerged in his very first film: a poetic, visionary style of filmmaking, with a painterly approach, that does not require a lot of  dialogue or different characters to explore the contradictions in modern man and the human soul, the tenuous relationship between love and hate, the inevitability of violence. Crocodile was followed by the feature-length films Wild Animals (1997) and Birdcage Inn (1998). The director achieved international fame in 2000 here in Venice, where he participated In Competition with Seom (The Isle), a love story between two people who live on the margins of society, she the lonely and silent manager of a pay fishing lake, he a former policeman guilty of murder. Kim Ki-Duk returned to the Venice Film Festival the following year with Suchwiin Bulmyeong (Address Unknown), about the life of three young citizens of Pyongtaek, a Korean town long dominated by an American military base. The director makes almost one film a year: highly regarded in Europe, he participated in the Locarno Film Festival with Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, 2003) and in the Berlin International Film Festival with Samaria (Samaritan Girl, 2004), winning the Silver Bear for Best Director. The same year he returned to Venice with another film, Bin-Jip (3-Iron), the delicate love story between a boy who lives in temporarily-vacant homes and a woman mistreated by her husband: the jury awarded him the Silver Lion as Best Director. In 2005, Hwal (The Bow) was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section. His filmography includes other titles released to critical acclaim in Europe and abroad: Shigan (Time, 2006), Soom (Breath, 2007, presented in competition at Cannes), Bimong (Dream, 2008, out of competition at the Torino Film Festival), the documentary film Arirang (2011, winner of the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes). In 2012, again in competition at the Venice Film Festival, he won the Golden Lion for Best Film with Pieta (Pietà) about the love-hate relationship between a violent young loan shark and a woman who sustains she is the mother who abandoned him as a baby.
2000 – Seom (The Isle) – In Competition (screenplay, director)
2001 – Suchwiin bulmyeong (Address Unknown) – In Competition (screenplay, director)
2004 – Bin-Jip (3-Iron) – In Competition (screenplay, director)
2012 – Pieta (Pietà) – In Competition (screenplay, director)

2004 – Bin-Jip (3-Iron) – Silver Lion – Special Prize for Best Director
2012 – Pieta (Pietà) – Golden Lion for Best Film


70 Directors for Venice 70