South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk is no more


South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk is no more

Legendary South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk, who had fan following across the world for his provocative films laced with sex, violence and animal cruelty, has died after the complications from Covid19.

He was 59. His world-famous films include Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring, The Isle and Pieta. The filmmaker passed away at a hospital in Latvia, where he had arrived last month to buy a house. The news of his death was confirmed by Russian director Vitalijis Manskis to Delfi.

Kim Ki-duk was at the forefront of a new wave of uncompromising cinema. Kim Ki-duk was the recipient of Golden Lion at 69th Venice International Film Festival for Pietà, Silver Lion for Best Director at 61st Venice International Film Festival for 3-Iron, Silver bear for Best Director at 54th Berlin International Film Festival for Samaria, and Un Certain Regard prize at 2011 Cannes Film Festival for Arirang. Among the new Asian new wave filmmakers of 21st century, Kim Ki-duk was the most challenging and mysterious. His most of the films were shocking yet beautiful.

Born on December 20, 1960 in Bonghwa in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, Kim Ki-Duk studied fine arts in Paris from 1990 to 1993. He started his film career as a screenwriter and made his directorial debut with 1996 feature Crocodile. The film, which explored themes of suicide and abuse, was an instant hit in the country. Kim Ki-Duk found international fame with his 2000 movie The Isle, an another provocative piece of art which was screened at the Venice Film Festival. His 2000 film Real Fiction was entered into the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival.

2003’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, about the life of a Buddhist monk at a floating Buddhist monastery on a lake, is considered the filmmaker’s best work. The movie was universally praised by the critics upon its release. The year 2004 turned out to be monumental moment for the filmmaker as his film Samaritan Girl won Silver Bear, the second place award at the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival. The same year, his another feature “3-Iron” won him the Silver Lion for Best Direction at the Venice Film Festival.

In 2004, he received Best Director awards at two different film festivals, for two different films. At the Berlin International Film Festival, he was awarded for Samaritan Girl (2004), and at the Venice Film Festival he won for 3-Iron (also 2004). In 2011, his documentary film Arirang received an award for best film in the Un Certain Regard category from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2012, his film Pietà received the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, the first Korean film to receive a “best film” honor at one of the top three international film festivals – Venice, Berlin and Cannes.

The British Board of Film Classification delayed the release of Kim Ki-duk’s The Isle (2000) in the United Kingdom because of instances of animal cruelty in the film. Concerning scenes in which a frog is skinned after being beaten to death and fish are mutilated, the director stated. The filmmaker continued making films but they weren’t as popular as his previous work. But it all changed in 2011, when he released Arirang. The movie premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the Prix un certain regard trophy for the filmmaker.

The following year, Ki-Duk made Pieta, a film about the mysterious relationship between a brutal man who works for loan sharks and a middle-aged woman who claims that she is his mother. The movie was selected for main competition of Venice Film Festival and finally managed to win the director the coveted award of Golden Lion. He was the first South Korean to ever win the top prize at a major European festival.

In 2017, an anonymous female actor accused Ki-Duk of sex assault when she worked with him on 2013 movie Moebius. The filmmaker denied the accusations and tried to sue the accuser for defamation but was unsuccessful. In 2019, the court ordered the director to pay pain money for the attack on the actress, but closed the case of sexual harassment due to lack of evidence.