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Kim Ki-duk’s Arirang wins at Cannes

Director Kim Ki-duk has picked an award at Cannes International Film Festival for his film Arirang, taking home the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section along with Andreas Dresen’s Halt Auf Freier Strecke (Stopped On Track).

The film received a standing ovation at Cannes when it screened to approximately 2,000 viewers there, and it’ll be interesting to see how that affects its response in Korea, if at all, as it’s been peppered with criticism there. (Here’s a well-written review in English, from The Hollywood Reporter.)

Kim has long had a contentious relationship with the industry in Korea, while being lauded overseas for his indie arthouse films (3-Iron, Samaritan Girl, Coast Guard and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…And Spring are some of his more well-known films). While other Korean directors like Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho are respected both at home and abroad, it’s not quite the case for Kim, whose movies are often commercial flops domestically. He’s developed a reputation for being a “bad boy” of cinema, and Arirang takes that reputation, inflates it by about a thousand percent, and flings it back in the faces of his detractors.

The film is documentary-style and features himself in a cabin, edited in an experimental fashion as a dialogue with himself (in three distinct personas), reflecting on his 15-year-long career. He doesn’t hold anything back, and at points swears and rails at the camera, and himself, about the pains and betrayals he’s felt by moviegoers and others in the industry, including his protégé Jang Hoon (who left to work on a major film production).

Kim was reportedly spurred to make Arirang after the traumatizing accident on set of his 2008 film Dream, in which Lee Na-young almost died while filming a suicide (hanging) scene. In a letter posted on the film festival website, Kim wrote, “The countless people I’ve meet while making films…Human relationships that come together as if forever only to rip apart like tissue paper…All of us entangled by love, passion, hate and the urge to kill…To me all this is Arirang.”

Via 10 Asia, Hollywood Reporter, Wall Street Journal Scene Asia

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and Korea conquers Europe too... so what's next?

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uh...korea didn't conquer anything. "Tree of Life" wins top Cannes fest honor.

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I've always been a huge fan of his films, so this is great news, and well deserved!

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lee na young almost DIED? O_o
whoa... never heard about that...

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I'm shocked as well. Do we know more about what happened???

congrats to the win although the premise does not seem like it would warrant a standing ovation but perhaps it was really well made and touched a chord in cinephiles at Cannes.

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i've seen a few of those titles you listed, and the only one of his I liked was 3-iron. Its the most "commercial" out of all of his films, but its still very introspective and quiet. Jae-hee looked his best in that movie!

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i like his movies, they are so simple, beautiful, and elegant...
he has his own unique colour
wong kar wai writes poems with his movies, and i feel like kim ki duk is painting beautiful pictures
i am not bothered with the quietness in his movies, he reaches his audience without words

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Eh... Just 'cause those snotty people at Cannes liked it... It means eff all.
Still Kim Ki-duk isn't a bad director, on a personal level though, I find his films neither satisfying nor mindblowing. But then hey... I ain't no critic.
I think 3-Iron was probably my favourite film by him. Dream was pretty disappointing. But then there was Jo Odagiri. *drools*

P.S. Did anyone see the title and start singing this, too? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maPp7JuuLcI <-- (heart) MIJI, their heavy input into the Gisaeng Tales soundtrack is what's probably had me hooked on the show from the get-go.

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Wow...that sounds like an intense movie even though it's just a dialogue.

By the way, what does 'Arirang' mean in Korean?

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Arirang doesn't really have a meaning to it, but it's the title of one of the most famous folk songs in Korean history. I cannot really grasp it's full effect, even knowing the lyrics, but it's literally moving to listen to. You should youtube it. Great song, and it's very powerful. It's like the feeling you get watching the National Anthem play when we've won Olympic gold or after a tragedy - it makes you proud and it makes you swell with patriotism and sorrow at the same time. :) Simply beautiful!

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I think Arirang is some kind of genre in Korean traditional folk songs. There are various songs with the name of "Arirang" from different regions. The songs usually carry anger, regret, sadness, and all kinds of feelings Koreans could not express properly. So sometimes Arirang is called the song of "Han", the chinese character of which is 恨, but I don't know how to express it in English. It's a kind of deep resentment that cannot be forgotten even if they die. So a person who's dead with lot of "Han" becomes a ghost and hovers around in many Korean stories. (-..-)

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maybe this will explain more..

http://howtobegood.tumblr.com/post/273713456/han

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I don't know, I like Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…And Spring, but that movie's always left me with a suspicion that Kim Ki-duk has a -shall we say- difficult relationship with women.

And then I watched Nabbeun Namja (Bad Guy). That movie really kind of disgusted me. As it was obviously not very realistic (the pimp completely recovers from a wound that should have been fatal), I'm pretty sure it wasn't meant as a social commentary on prostitution. But if not, then what was the point of showing us all those horrible scenes? And the ending, ugh.

I don't know, maybe I completely missed the point of that movie, but it's put me off Kim Ki-duk's work. That man has serious issues with the opposite sex.

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I've actually watched quite a number of this guy's movies .. he has a characteristic style. He always has beautiful cinematography, and beautiful collages of stills stitched together.

Some of his movies are dark realistic gore, and some masochistic and sadistic - offhand, like The Isle, Birdcage Inn, Samaritan Girl, The Bow ...

3 Iron, Time, Spring Summer Fall Winter etc were some of the 'saner, 'normal' ones.

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i quite like his movies, but i also admit that his female characters are two dimentional, but i think it is because of social roles and conflicts of men and women in korea rather than his issues with women

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Sweet good for him! I loved 3-Iron! It is one of my favs

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I haven't seen any of his movies except for Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring but that one movie alone stands testament to his gift for directing. It was simply beautiful and at once thought provoking. I'm not a professional critic but even I can appreciate his talent. Dude's got skills.

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I've watched Dream, and this is the first time that Lee Na-young almost died shooting a scene.

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Long time no write and I couldn't stop anymore because it's all about kim ki-duk!!!!
He's maybe the first name of my best director list, I've watched 3-iron many times which is my fav and then all his works which make me love movies as art more and more.
He's genius!!!!! I'm soooo happy to hear that^^

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Wow, it's a surprise to see mention of Kim Ki-duk on here! It's like he's coming back to haunt me after I abandoned his beautiful, bizarre films for the world of dramas. I'm sorry Kim Ki-duk!! I need instant gratification!!!
Also: you couldn't have chosen a more flattering picture?
:D

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I've watched his 3-Iron and it's a great movie! Jae Hee was really great on it, and without uttering are single word/dialogue! Of course, his dark/bizarre movies are not for those happily ever after types. I think Kim Kid-duk is a brilliant filmmaker :)

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