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Im Receives Honorary Golden Bear at Berlin

2005/02/13 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Local director Im Kwon-taek received the Honorary Golden Bear award for his contribution to the movie industry at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday. Im is the first Asian to receive the honor, one of the festival's highest awards.

"I am very happy, not just because the festival recognizes my life in films, but also because I can reaffirm that the status of local movies has reached the level of world class", Im said in his acceptance speech during the award ceremony.

Im said that for the first 10 years of his career, he tried to imitate Hollywood films but then he began creating works based on personal experience and history, and he felt the festival's organizing committee recognized him for this effort.

The 68-year-old filmmaker received the award for his multi-faceted and influential films that include works about the 1950-53 Korean War and the division of the Koreas, the event's organizers said.

"Although his films vary in style, they all bear his unmistakable stamp; they are forceful and charged cinematographically, as well as reticent, stylized and musical", the Berlinale said in a statement.

The award ceremony was followed by a screening of the director's 2000 film "Chunhyang" (Chunhyangjon).

Im, who is currently working on his 100th production, made his first film in 1962 and won the Best Director prize at the Cannes film festival in 2002 for "Chihwaseon". Seven of Im's films have taken part in the Berlinale in previous years.

A retrospective of Im's works, including "Wangshimni", "Mandala", "Gilsotteum" and "Seopyeonje", is being screened during the festival. Separately, an additional 13 films will be screened at Berlin's Arsena theater for one more month after the festival ends.

Along with Im, the Spanish actor, director and screenwriter Fernando FernŠn Gŗmez was given the same honor at the event.

The festival, which began Thursday, will end Sunday.

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