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Kim Ki-duk

A unique, visionary voice within both South Korea's ongoing filmmaking resurgence and contemporary world cinema, 43 year-old acclaimed director Kim Ki-duk is a virtual autodidact. "I have been accustomed to a life quite different from other filmmakers," he says. Indeed, without benefit of a formal film school education, Mr. KIM has beaten his own path to a position of rapidly growing filmmaking eminence at home and abroad. After a customarily brief rural primary school education, he worked in factories until called for military service. During a five-year stretch in the South Korean Army, Mr. KIM developed a committed passion for painting. Upon completion of his military service, Mr. KIM moved to France, studied fine arts in Paris and sold his paintings on the streets in the south of France.

One day, he says, "I woke to discover the world of cinema, and jumped into it." After collecting awards and accolades for his screenplay, A Painter and A Criminal Condemned to Death, Mr. KIM made his directorial debut, Crocodile in 1996. Since then KIM Ki-duk has, at the impressive speed of one film a year, created a series of films characterized by both an unblinkingly perceptive view of human behavior and a powerfully lyrical visual imagination. His films also have reflected and addressed the intersection of Mr. KIM's varied life experience with many of the questions confronting modern South Korean and world society or, as he says, "the borderline where the painfully real and the hopefully imaginative meet."

1997's Wild Animals explores North and South Korean enmity and reconciliation through the volatile friendship of two Korean exiles living in Paris. Birdcage Inn (1999 Berlin International Film Festival, Panorama Selection) probes class schisms even on the very fringes of society. The Isle (2000 Venice Film Festival, 2000 Rotterdam Film Festival, 2000 Moscow Film Festival Jury Prize and winner of the Sundance Film Festival's World Cinema Award) is an intoxicating and challenging contemporary love story set in a near-mythic locale. Real Fiction (2001 Moscow Film Festival) is an ambitious real-time, multi-format experiment and Address Unknown (2001 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals) takes an unusually intimate and non-judgmental look at the fifty year US military presence in Mr. KIM's homeland.

KIM Ki-duk's newest film, SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER AND SPRING, is a potent visualization of the passions inhabiting the human spirit and the understanding and acceptance which form the very substance of our lives. Mr. KIM is currently working on his 10th feature, a revenge story entitled Samaria.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Kim Ki-duk Facts

BirthplaceSouth Korea

Selected Filmography

The Isle
Yongary Monster From The Deep
Yongary: Monster From the Deep
Bad Guy
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