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Local Director to Be Honored at Berlin Film Festival

2005/01/25 Source

SEOUL (Yonhap) - The Berlin Film Festival will next month present a retrospective of the works of South Korean director Im Kwon-taek and celebrate his contribution to world cinema, local film industry sources said Tuesday.

"Tribute to Im Kwon-taek" will feature seven movies produced by Im from the 1970s to 1990s. This is the first retrospective of a South Korean filmmaker in an international film event.

Im will also receive the prestigious Berlinale Camera award for the impact his work has had on world cinema. Previous winners include Francis Ford Coppola, Lauren Bacall and Meryl Streep.

Im first gained an international audience when "Mandara", the story of a Buddhist monk divided by the strictures of his faith and human desire, was screened in Berlin in 1981.

Recognized as the unofficial representative of Korean culture as it evolved in the country's turbulent modern history, Im became an international figurehead for South Korea's filmmaking.

He won the Best Director Award at Cannes in 2002 for the biopic "Chihwason - Chihwaseon", while starlet Kang Soo-yeon took Best Actress for her leading role in "The Surrogate Woman" (1987) and "Aje Aje Bara Aje" (1989).

Im set a new benchmark for the Korean box office in 1993 when over one million local viewers flocked to see "Seopyeonje", which clinched Best Director and Best Actress at the Shanghai film festival in the same year.

Included in the retrospective will be "Wangshimni" (1976), "Mandara" (1981), "Gilsotteum" (1985) and "Seopyeonje" (1993). These mark the early stage of Im's filmmaking career, which began in 1962. He is now working on his 100th film.

To ensure the quality of the movies, the Korea Film Council has retouched the sound and visuals and restored parts of "Mandara" through digital re-mastering.

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