Hong Sang-soo's film "Our Sunhi" picked up the Leopard Award for Best Director at the 66th Locarno International Film Festival, which ended in Switzerland on Sunday. It is the first time that a Korean director has won the prestigious award.
When it was handed out, Hong expressed his appreciation to the production crew and said such recognition would inspire them all to keep giving their best.
"Our Sunhi" was the only Korean entry to feature competitively at the film festival this year. After its official screening, it was praised as one of the most beautiful movies in the entire lineup.
This is the second time Hong has collected a gong at an international film festival in three years. His movie "Hahaha" garnered the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes in 2010.
Locarno, launched in 1946, is regarded as one of the most prestigious film festivals, just slightly lower in profile than Cannes, Berlin and Venice.
In 1988, Park Kwang-soo's "Chil-su and Man-su" became the first Korean film to win a prize there when it nabbed the Young Jury Prize. Other winning entries from the country include "Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?" (Gold Leopard for best film in 1989), "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" (Young Jury Prize in 2003), and "Daytime Drinking" (Special Mention of the Jury in 2008).