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'Breathless' wins Rotterdam Tiger Award

2009/02/02 Source

"Breathless" (Ddongpari) by Korean director and actor Yang Ik-june won the top prize at the 38th International Film Festival Rotterdam.

"Breathless" shared the Tiger award with two others, Iran's "Be Calm and Count to Seven", directed by Ramtin Lavalfipour and Turkey's "Wrong Rosary", directed by Mahmut Fazil.

"Breathless" was praised by the jury as "a powerfully rendered and acted film with a keen sense of reality in its portrayal of a situation that has been seldom seen in the cinema".

Yang was also given high marks for his sense of warmth and humor dealing with a troubling subject matter.

The film centers around Sang-hoon who gets paid to retrieve lent money. His life changes after he meets Yeon-hee, a high school student. Director Yang himself played the role of Sang-hoon.

For winning, Yang received 15,000 euros ($19,270) and the right to air his piece through the Dutch public TV channel VPRO.

A prominent figure in Korea's independent film industry, Yang, 34, has been active as an actor and director since graduating from the Department of Entertainment & Acting at Kongju Communication Arts College. He has appeared in various films, including "No Manners" (2002), "Maundy Thursday" ("Our Happy Time" - 2006) and "Les Formidables" (2006). Yang debuted as a director in 2005 with short film "Always behind You".

"Breathless" is the director's first full-length film. It premiered at last year's Pusan International Film Festival.

Since beginning in 1972, the IFFR has become one of the most prestigious independent film festivals in the world over the years, often being referred to as the Sundance Film Festival of Europe.

It is the third time that a Korean piece won a Tiger award at the festival. Previous winners are "The Day When a Pig Fell into the Well" (1996) by Hong Sang-soo and "Jealousy Is My Middle Name" (2002), by Park Chan-ok.

By Koh Young-aah

Source : www.koreaherald.co.kr...

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