Two new features from two of Korea’s most established independent directors -- KIM Ki-duk
and JEON Kyu-hwan
’s The Weight
-- will screen at this year’s 69th Venice International Film Festival. KIM’s latest offering will be featured in the fest’s main International Competition, while JEON’s film will appear in the sidebar “Venice Days” program.
comes on the heels of KIM’s experimental feature Amen
and charged auto-documentary Arirang
, winner of 2011’s Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival. The film stars CHO Min-su
as a ruthless thug working for a cruel loan shark. Living a solitary life filled with violence, his world is turned upside down by the appearance of a mysterious woman (LEE Jung-jin
) who claims to be his mother. It is the first Korean film to appear in Venice’s main competition since 2005, when PARK Chan-wook
’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
appeared. It is KIM’s fourth appearance at the fest. His Venice debut was The Isle
in 2000, followed by Address Unknown
in 2001 and 3-Iron
in 2004, which took home a staggering four awards that year.
will appear alongside other competitors such as Terrence MALICK’s To The Wonder
(USA), Takeshi KITANO’s Outrage Beyond
(Japan), Brillante MENDOZA’s Thy Womb
(Philippines) and Olivier ASSAYAS’s Something In The Air
, JEON’s fifth feature, follows the life of a hunchbacked mortician who dresses the bodies of those unable to pay for a proper funeral. As his orphan background and adopted family life are revealed, we also learn of his tortuous relationship with a closeted sibling. The film stars CHO Jae-hyun, who coincidentally came to prominence as KIM Ki-duk’s leading actor of choice through much of his early filmography, starring in films such as The Isle, Bad Guy, Address Unkown, Wild Animals
Production company Treefilm
noted that The Weight
will be the first ever Korean film to screen at the Venice Days sidebar, now in its 9th edition. The eclectic program is one of two autonomous sidebar programs that select films independently from the Venice Film Festival, the other being a Critic’s Week, now in its 27th year. Films such as Incendies
by Denis VILLENEUVE and Sherry HORMANN’s Desert Flower
has previously screened at Venice Days. Finecut, international distributor of The Weight
, has said, “The Venice Days program is equivalent to Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight -- a dream for every director to make an appearance at. This makes the selection even more meaningful for our film.”
Since his “Town” trilogy -- Mozart Town
, Animal Town
and Dance Town
(2008-10) -- JEON has been lauded for his portrayal of Korean society’s minorities and outcasts through grotesque but beautiful cinematics. He is characterized as an up and coming figure with the potential to be an artistic leader in the Korean film industry. The Weight
is to be released in the latter half of the year in Korea.
The 69th Venice Film Festival will run from August 29th to September 8th, 2012. It will open with The Reluctant Fundamentalist, an Indian-Pakistani-American production from director Mira NAIR.