Criticized at Home, Kim Ki-duk Proves his Worth Internationally

Kim Ki-duk Kim Ki-duk

Korean director Kim Ki-duk won the Silver Lion for Best Direction at the 61the Venice International Film Festival, which closed Saturday (local time).

The Chosun Ilbo interviewed him on the phone Sunday morning right before he left Venice. About how he felt about wining the award, he said, "This movie is more abstract than my previous works. But it was well received by not only critics but also general audiences, so I was very surprised. I think everyone sympathized with the dream of lonely people."

He also said with overt delight, "I really didn't expect to receive such an award. So, when I heard that I received the Future Critics' Award, which was selected by 25 out 26 judges in their teens, I thought there was nothing more to be desired."

Concerning the time it took him to make the film, which he completed in only 13 shootings, he said, "I lived those days like the speediest computer. I think that you can contain all the messages you want to convey in a film even if you make it very quickly."

He was also very pleased that American director Spike Lee offered to buy the copyright on the movie to remake it. But he indirectly expressed his annoyance about feminists' attack against him and controversy over his casting of actress Lee Seung-yeon, who was once criticized for her controversial "Comfort Woman" nude project, saying, "People there watched the film as it is without any prejudice and that made me feel comfortable."

As a director who is the target of both jealousy and criticism, he finally said, "Can't Korean critics and audiences watch films without any obsession with famous stars or scale? Am I wrong if I expect half of them to approve of my films. I do not think it is desirable that I have to go abroad to prove that my works are good."

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 12, 2004 20:10 KST