Kim Ki-duk, a key figure in Korean cinema, dies of covid

Before the ‘Parasites’ phenomenon, oriental cinema in general and South Korean in particular shone at specialized festivals, with a filmmaker with a sound name as the spearhead, Kim Ki-duk (Boghwa, 1960). The renowned oriental filmmaker has left us a few days from his 60th birthday, due to complications derived from Covid-19. He was in Latvia, far from home, preparing his next film.

Regular presence in international weight competitions, in San Sebastián he presented ‘Dream’ (2008), where a man dreamed that he had had a traffic accident. The nightmare led him to the scene of the tragic incident, where he discovered that it had really happened. The obvious stories did not interest a creator essential to understanding the New Wave of Korean cinema. His work, at times rabidly experimental, does not leave the viewer indifferent.

Exorcising his demons was one of the obsessions when it came to translating his ideas into images. In 2000, he shook the audience at the Sitges Festival at the hand of ‘La isla’, whose crude images, not suitable for any stomach, scandalized the hardened fans of the Catalan event. It was the fifth film in a copious filmography -23 feature films-, tremendously visceral and not very accommodating to popular taste. Breaking taboos was in his DNA.

The son of peasants, the unclassifiable Kim Ki-duk worked as a bricklayer before opting for the camera. His rebellious nature led him to enlist in the Marines for five years. He studied painting and sculpture in Paris in the early 1990s, before embracing the art of cinema after a trip to Europe that changed his mind. ‘Crocodile’ (1996) and ‘Wild animals’ (1997) were his starter films, the first steps before becoming an indispensable artist in the exhibition circuit in original version with subtitles, with titles such as ‘Unknown address’ (2001) or the acclaimed and sensorial ‘Spring, summer, autumn, winter … and spring’ (2003), starring two isolated Buddhist monks in a remote temple, a film that brought him closer to a wider audience. In 2004 he signed two of his most interesting works, ‘Samaritan Girl’, on which he won the Silver Bear for best director at the Berlinale, and the sensational ‘Hierro 3’, winner of the Silver Lion for best director and the award. of criticism in Venice, in addition to the Golden Spike of the Seminci.

Awarded with the Golden Lion

Characters on the fringes of society, water as a purifying element or symbol of death, sexuality, violence and women as salvation, or quite the opposite, are some of the constants of a filmmaker mourned by the most cinephiles who are also He won the Golden Lion for the best film in Venice with the psychological drama ‘Pietà’ (2012). His career was tarnished when in 2018 he was accused of abuse by several actresses. He was not acquitted of all the cases opened against him, he confessed to having slapped an interpreter, with which the producers turned their backs on him.


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