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Korean Films, Decision to Leave & Broker, Invited to the Competition at the 75th Cannes

Apr 15, 2022
  • Writerby Hellen Park
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Hunt, Global Star Lee Jungjae’s Directorial Debut, Invited to the Midnight Screenings at Cannes



The 75th Cannes International Film Festival heralded a lively start in full swing by announcing its official invitations to the competition section. “The world cinema is starting to get back in shape, and this year marks a return to a quasi-normality.” At the official press conference of the Cannes International Film Festival held at the Champs-Elysees in Paris on April 14 (local time), Thierry Frémaux, the artistic director of the festival, announced the official invitations in a hopeful voice.


This year, Cannes clearly showed its affection for Korean films. Two directors representing Korea and Japan, who have been favored by Cannes, have been invited to the competition section with Korean films. Park Chanwook’s Decision to Leave and Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Broker are the main characters. It is the first time in five years that two Korean films have been invited to the competition section together since Bong Joonho’s Okja and Hong Sangsoo’s The Day After in 2017. Also, it is the first time in three years that Korean films have been invited to the competition section since PARASITE in 2019. In addition, Actor Lee Jungjae, who has firmly established himself as a global star with Squid Game, will be on the red carpet of the Midnight Screenings as a ‘director’ in Cannes this year.


With Decision to Leave, Director Park Chanwook Returns to Cannes in 6 Years



Even before the official announcement, Director Park Chanwook’s Decision to Leave was already mentioned by foreign media as a strong contender in the competition section. Director Park already has a deep connection with Cannes. He won the Grand Prize for Oldboy (2003), and the Jury Prize for Thirst (2009), and was nominated for the Grand Prize for The Handmaiden in 2016. Now, six years later, Director Park has made it to the competition section again. Including Decision to Leave, Director Park has been invited to Cannes four times, setting the tied record of most invited directors with Director Hong Sangsoo, who also has been invited to the festival four times.


Director Park Chanwook’s Decision to Leave is an authentic melodrama starring Korean actor Park Haeil and Chinese actor Wei Tang. There is a murder case in the mountain, and the detective (Park Haeil) investigating the case suspects the wife (Wei Tang) of the deceased as a prime suspect. However, the two characters gradually get caught up in uncontrollable emotions. Given that Director Park’s films have always been hot melodrama full of blood, this work is also expected to show a new level of melodrama. 


At the news of the official invitation to the Cannes competition, Director Park said, “It’s good spring news for everyone who participated in the film. It feels more special because the film festival is held in a situation where the Pandemic hasn't ended yet. I’ve had plenty of time to think about the meaning of watching a movie at a theater in groups. I’ll see as many films as possible at Cannes and will give a standing ovation to them longer than any other people there this time.” Wei Tang, the main character, also said, “I’m so happy and send congratulations to every staff member of the film. I hope the day will come soon when everyone returns to the theater and recovers their daily lives.” Park Haeil also conveyed the joy of the invitation, saying, “Since I’ve waited for the day to watch a movie in the theater with a lot of people, I’m so excited to meet the audience all over the world with the film.”


Director Kore-eda Hirokazu Goes to Cannes for Broker, the Korean Film, with Song Kangho of PARASITE 



Director Kore-eda Hirokazu, who already won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Shoplifters in 2018, has been invited to the Cannes competition section this year, which is very special. It’s because his new film, Broker, is a Korean film produced by ‘ZIP CINEMA’ a Korean film production company, and CJ ENM is in charge of the investment and distribution of the film. On top of that, superb actors such as Song Kangho of PARASITE, who won the Palme d’Or in 2019, Bae Doona, the director’s persona, Gang Dongwon, who heralds global activities, and Lee Jieun (IU), a K-pop star and actor appear in the film. Introducing the film, Thierry Frémaux, the artistic director of the festival, said, “Kore-eda Hirokazu, a Japanese master director who won the Palme d’Or, will return to the festival with Korean actor Song Kangho and an attractive Korean film Broker,” keeping his hopes high.


Director Kore-eda Hirokazu said, “I’m grateful that this work, which transcends language and cultural differences, was highly praised. With this work, I’ll be participating in the Cannes International Film Festival for the first time in four years, and I would like to use it as a good opportunity to think about the meaning of making and delivering movies to the world at a time of confusion.”  

Song Kangho, who participated at Cannes as a judge, said, “It’s always exciting and fun to be at the Cannes International Film Festival.” Actor Bae Doona, who has already visited Cannes four times, happily said, “It’s a special movie for me just to work again with Director Kore-eda Hirokazu in 12 years after Air Doll.”


Hunt, Lee Jungjae’s Directorial Debut, Going to the Midnight Screenings with Actor Jung Woosung, the Director’s Old Buddy 



Actor Lee Jungjae, who has been nominated for Best Actor several times at Hollywood’s awards ceremonies through the worldwide success of Squid Game, will stand on the red carpet as a ‘director’ for the first time in his life. Hunt, Lee Jungjae’s directorial debut film, has been invited to the ‘Midnight Screenings,’ one of the Out of Competition sections at Cannes this year. At the news of the invitation from Cannes, Lee Jungjae said, “I think today’s result has come from the passion of the production team and the efforts of the actors who performed with all their might. Thank you for your interest and support. I look forward to a good response at the Cannes International Film Festival.”


Lee Jungjae’s directorial debut film, Hunt, is a spy thriller about two NIS agents doubting each other in the process of finding spies in the organization. Lee Jungjae directed, produced, adapted, and even starred in the film. Actor Jung Woosung stars in the film to play the opposite spy character who conflicts with Lee Jungjae’s character. Lee Jungjae and Jung Woosung, the old buddies and colleagues who have been top stars in the Korean cinema since the 1990s, reunited for Hunt 20 years after they co-starred in City of The Rising Sun, directed by Kim Sungsoo. The Midnight Screenings is an Out of Competition section that introduces genre films that combine the cinematic quality and the popularity, and Korean commercial films such as TRAIN TO BUSAN, etc. had opportunities to meet global audiences through the section. 


All the People I'll Never Be (2021) 


In addition, a film we need to pay attention to has been invited. All the People I'll Never Be, directed by Davy Chou, a rising star in the Cambodian film industry, has been invited to the Un Certain Regard. Just like its French title RETOUR À SÉOUL, Korean actors Oh Kwangrok, Park Jimin, and Kim Sunyoung appear in the film set in Korea. The film also received KOFIC’s Location Incentive 2021. 


Following PARASITE, Can Korean Films Win the Awards at Cannes This Year? 

The Cannes International Film Festival has also suffered from the global COVID-19 Pandemic since 2020. The festival in 2020 had to be satisfied with the announcement of the selections without an event, and it gave up the traditional May event to avoid the Pandemic and held the ceremony in July 2021. The size of the event had to be reduced as well. However, this year in 2022, as Thierry Frémaux, the artistic director of the festival, declared, the festival will be held in May again and is expected to be crowded with movie-thirsty film industry officials from around the world. In addition, attention is being paid to whether the performance of Korean films led by Director Bong Joonho’s PARASITE in 2019 will continue at Cannes this year, which is preparing for getting back in shape after the Pandemic. At least, Director Park Chanwook, who has already won two titles in the Cannes competition, and Director Kore-eda Hirokazu, the winner of the Palme d’Or, are expected to win main awards in the competition section at Cannes this year.


With the opening film Z, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the 75th Cannes International Film Festival will be held in Cannes, France, from May 17 to 25, 2022. 




<Armageddon Time> James Gray (U.S.)

<Boy From Heaven> Tarik Saleh (Sweden)

<Broker> Kore-eda Hirokazu (Korea)

<Brother and Sister> Arnaud Desplechin (France)

<Close> Lucas Dhont (Belgium)

<Crimes of the Future> David Cronenberg (Canada)

<Decision to Leave> Park Chan-Wook (Korea)

<Eo> Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland)

<Forever Young> Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (France)

<Holy Spider> Ali Abbasi (Iran)

<Leila’s Brothers> Saeed Roustaee (Iran)

<Nostalgia> Mario Martone (Italy)

<RMN> Cristian Mungiu (Romania)

<Showing Up> Kelly Reichardt (U.S.)

<Stars at Noon> Claire Denis (France)

<Tchaïkovski’s Wife> Kirill Serebrennikov (Russia)

<Tori and Lokita> Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (Belgium)

<Triangle of Sadness> Ruben Östlund (Sweden)

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