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Film director Kim Ki-Duk wins award in Berlin

2004/02/15 Source

Korean director Kim Ki-duk was named best director at the 54th annual Berlin Film Festival on Feb. 14 for his film "Samaria", or "Samaritan Girl", a movie about a teenage girl's sexual exploitation and her detective father's revenge and forgiveness. This is the first time a Korean director has won the award at the festival.

Kim, one of the most controversial filmmakers in Korea, had been nominated for "Bad Guy" in 2002 but said, "I didn't expect to win the prize especially as there were many respected directors' films this year and I am delighted for the appreciation", at a news conference held in Berlin.

He said he understood the best directing honor was awarded for a movie that was decent in overall aspects and although the movie "Samaria" was filmed in 11 days and cost only 440 million won to make, the Berlin Film Festival recognized his movie for his unique perspective, identity and style. Kim said "this will be a break for me to think again about what a movie is".

He said "Samaria" is a small but meaningful movie that emphasizes the importance of human understanding, forgiveness and reconciliation. Although the movie contains socially sensitive material such as "wonjo-gyoje", or teenagers getting paid to have sex with older men, Kim said he refrained from extreme violence which he used heavily throughout his 8-year filmmaking career.

His 10 films including "The Isle", "Bad Guy" and "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring" have received critical and complimentary comments at the same time. Kim has been praised by European critics and his movies "The Isle" and "Address Unknown" competed at the Venice International Film Festival in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

"The next movie is about Koreans adopted by Europeans. Germany and France have proposed full funding for the movie which leaves me with making the final decision", Kim said.

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