Kim Ki-duk Wows Cannes Film Festival with 'Breath'

      May 21, 2007 09:55

      The Korean director Kim Ki-duk screened his movie "Breath" on Saturday in competition at the 60th Cannes Film Festival. The official screening and press conference were held at the Lumiere Theatre in the French resort town.

      Kim, wearing dark sunglasses at a press conference, joked, "The sunglasses I'm wearing now are the ones I wore when I appeared as a prison official in the film. You may be still watching the movie right at this moment." Breath, which opened in Korea on April 26, depicts a woman who starts a relationship with a condemned criminal after discovering her husband's infidelity.

      Korean actor Zia and Taiwanese actor Chang Chen play the leads. "I wanted to highlight the difficulty of social and human relations -- so much so that you find it hard to breathe," Kim said. "At the same time, I wanted to show the difficulty of getting the message of my films across in the Korean society." Many of Kim's previous films have been criticized and shunned by general audiences and even by some film critics here due to their strong and graphic visual description.

      An Italian reporter asked Kim if there is a unique style to Korean films that is responsible for their success at the world's film festivals. "I think international movie people are thrilled by the truth that Korean movie show, rather than their style. Many talented Korean directors will give you fresh insights with their films," Kim said.

      Korea's director Kim Ki-duk (left) poses with cast members, Chang Chen, Zia and Kang In-hyung at the arrivals for the evening screening of their film "Breath" at the 60th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday. /Reuters

      Asked if he plans to make movies abroad, Kim answered, "I believe the major issues of human existence are universal and borderless. Though I've got a number of screenplays from European and U.S. filmmakers, I haven't decided yet." Kim said he is interested in joint projects with U.S. actors and European investment like Wong Kar-wai or Hou Hsiao Hsien did. Asked why the director has continued making low-budget films he said "Big-budget movies to me are like clothes that don't fit."

      On his way to the official screening venue, Kim walked the red carpet with his two stars and Kang In-hyung. After the screening, the audience at the Lumiere Theatre gave him an unprecedented 10-minute standing ovation.

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