Actress Jeon Do-yeon
ended her debut at an international film festival by taking home the Best Actress Award from the renowned Cannes International Film Festival for her role in Lee Chang-dong
's "Secret Sunshine"
(Milyang). Jeon had to wait a long time in her accomplished acting career before she could grace the international stage, since Secret Sunshine is her first film to be invited by an international film festival, but she immediately secured herself a place in the company of a select elite.
Jeon became the second Asian actress to win the best actress recognition at Cannes after Maggie Cheung and the second Korean actress to win the top award at one of the major international film festivals, Kang Soo-yeon
was the first Korean actress when she won in 1987 at the Venice International Film Festival for her acting in "The Surrogate Woman"
by director Im Kwon-taek
Jeon's role as a mother in agony was recognized as one of the favorites for the prize as critics at Cannes were full of praise of her powerful performance. After her win, she also received praise from South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun. President Roh complimented Jeon for her accomplishment and enthusiasm. He also praised the other members involved in the production of "Secret Sunshine"
, including his former Minister of Culture and Tourism Lee Chang-dong
, the director of the film.
Jeon's win goes hand in hand with a return of Korean (and other Asian) cinema to the forefront at Cannes after being virtually overlooked at last year's Cannes. Next to Secret Sunshine, director Kim Ki-duk
was also selected for the competition section. This year's 60th anniversary has been praised by critics for its high quality programming with a focus on auteur-cinema.
Jeon already won several awards in Korea. Her accolades include wide-ranging roles in films as "Happy End"
, "My Mother, the Mermaid
" and "You are my Sunshine"
Yi Ch'ang-ho (KOFIC)