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`Spring' Wins Best Foreign Film of Golden Aries

2004/12/12 | Permalink | Source

By Lee Yong-sung
Staff Reporter

"Pom, Yorum, Kaul, Kyoul . . . Kurigo Pom (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring)", the multiple award-winning Buddhism-inspired fable directed by Kim Ki-duk, won Best Foreign Film in Russian Distribution at last Saturday's Golden Aries National Award of Film-critics and Film-press in Moscow.

Founded by the Russian Guild of Film Scholars and Film Critics in 1992, the award, often dubbed the "Russian Academy Award", has grown to be one of the most authoritative film awards in Russia, through its comparatively short history. Among its 14 award categories, the best foreign film award is especially known for its emphasis on artistic excellence, rather than commercial popularity.

Kim's film was applauded at the award ceremony, while his other movie "Bin Jip (3-Iron)" had also joined the competition for the award. The story of an enervated woman locked in violent and one-sided love, "Empty House" won him Silver Lion Award for best director at the 61st Venice Film Festival in last September.

"Spring" become the winner through a ballot of the expert council composed of film critics and journalists. Out of the total 39 ballots, the 10th feature film of the acclaimed Korean director won 18 votes, an easy win over "3-Iron", which received 10 votes.

Set in an idyllic Korean valley, "Spring" describes a young child and his Buddhist master, who live in a temple that floats on a lake. The camera observes quietly the younger man's experiences during the seasons of his life; it witnesses his departure for the world beyond the lake and, finally, awaits his return to the center of the lake and the cycle of the seasons.

The film also has been the key contributor to making the 43 year-old controversial movie director one of the best-known Korean film directors in the world, as it has been invited to a few renowned international film festivals including Sundance and Bangkok Film Festival. First released in two theaters in New York and six theaters in Los Angeles in past April, the film brought in some $42,000 (48.7 million won) on its first weekend and was ranked as that week's third most popular independent film in the U.S.

Although Kim wasn't able to make appearance during the ceremony, Nam Jin-su, Culture and PR director of the Korean Embassy in Moscow received the award on be half of Kim. With three Korean films _"3-Iron", "Old Boy" and "Taegukgi"_ currently been screened in Russia, the award is expected to accelerate the cultural exchanges between the two countries.

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