Berlin Film Festival to Honor Im Kwon-taek

      January 25, 2005 17:25

      A retrospective to Korean director Im Kwon-taek will be part of the 55th Berlin Film Festival, to be held in Germany from Feb. 10 to 20. Kwon will also be awarded the Berlinale Camera for lifetime achievement.

      This is the first time a major international film festival has held a retrospective of a Korean director’s work. The event will be of roughly the same magnitude as one devoted to Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu in 2002.

      Separately from its regular special sessions - Retrospective and Homage - the Berlin Film Festival sometimes puts on an additional special section devoted to the work of film world giants - and Im, after all, has left his name to a film company. The retrospective is seen as an acknowledgement that he ranks with other masters of the craft.

      Im was awarded the best director award at Cannes for his film "Chihwaseon" in 2002, and has garnered prizes and rave reviews with films like "Aje Aje Bara Aje" (best actress award at the Moscow Film Festival), "The Surrogate Womb" (best actress at the Venice Film Festival), "Adada" (best actress at the Montreal Film Festival), "Chunhyang" (Cannes competition division) and "Low Life" (Venice competition division). Im has had his work showcased by the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Chicago Film Festival.

      The Berlin Film Festival will run seven of Im's films from the 1970s to the 1990s, including "Wang Sib Ri" (A Bygone Romance, 1976), "Jokbo" (The Genealogy, 1978), "Mandala" (1981), "Gilsoddeum" (1985) and "Seopyeonje" (1993). Much work went into restoring the negatives for "Mandala," about 10-minutes of which had been damaged. The Arsena Theater in downtown Berlin will also show a retrospective of some 20 of Im’s films until the end of March.

      Im plans to visit Germany for the festival to attend a discussion session, a special reception and the awards ceremony. He is also the first Korean to be awarded a lifetime achievement award at the festival. The Berlinale Camera has been given every year since 1986 to film greats including Francis Ford Coppola, Lauren Bacall, Meryl Streep, Kei Kumai, Hal Roach, Ann Hui and Constantin Costa-Gavras.

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