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Ko - production in Busan
  • Once Again, the Roars of a Golden Lion
  • by CHO Meanjune /  Sep 12, 2017
  • Challenges of Korean Cinema in Venice Competition

    The 74th Venice International Film Festival ended on September 9th. Actress HA Ji-won walked the red carpet as part of the cast of John WOO’s upcoming film Manhunt, and Bloodless, the VR film by Gina KIM was invited to the first VR Competition to be held at one of the “big three” film festivals. Unfortunately no domestic films were selected for the official competition of this year’s fest. KIM Ki-duk’s Pieta was the last local movie to compete at the Biennale, which earned the Golden Lion in 2012. 

    1981 was the first year that a Korean film won a prize at the Biennale. Director LEE Doo-yong received the Integrated Social Development Assistance Program (ISDAP) Award for The Hut. The ISDAP was a special award given to six directors that were invited to the Venice International Film Festival. This achievement brought the first award from one of the three major festivals to Korea. In 1987, actress KANG Soo-youn picked up the Best Actress prize at the fest for her role in IM Kwon-taek’s The Surrogate Womb, following Hanging Tree (1985) by JUNG Jin-woo and Life Line (1986) HAH Myung-joong, which were invited to the non-competition sections. These initial invitations were key steps for Korean cinema gaining recognition in Venice’s major categories. 

    By the late 1990s, Korean cinema had entered a renaissance and from 1999 the Biennale invited local films for seven straight years garnering a best young actress award for Oasis in 2002 and the director award for 3-Iron in 2004. In 1999, AN Young-suk’s Refrigerator became the first Korean entry selected for the Short Film Competition.
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