Director Kim Ki-duk
's 14th feature, "Breath"
, has been pre-sold to 11 different countries, including Spain, Italy, Mexico, Greece, Belgium and most recently, France. Distributor ARP picked up rights for France from Korean sales company Cineclick Asia at last month's Hong Kong Film Market.
will have its domestic release April 19th through local distributor Sponge, which specializes in independent and foreign art-house films, and has built up a loyal and growing following at its small theatre franchise, Sponge House.
A recent preview screening unveiled "Breath"
to local press and reception in the media has been favourable. KIM caused some controversy last year for remarks highly critical of the film industry, although he later retracted them. While KIM's films are acclaimed internationally, they have not fared so well in his home country.
At a press conference after the screening KIM commented on last year's controversy. "My remarks were not just over a wish for commercial success. It was more of a desire to see diversity in local films at a time when just one ("The Host"
) drew more than 100 billion won in box office sales", he said. A humbler, smiling KIM expressed confidence in his future as a low-budget film director.
While many of his early films were both praised and attacked for their innovative if shocking scenes of violence and abuse, KIM has found a milder approach to filmmaking, many local critics say, with "Breath"
The story of a housewife who, after becoming disillusioned with her unfaithful husband, visits and befriends a death row prisoner, was shot at Seodaemun prison in Seoul during 10 days on a budget of US$370 000. It stars Taiwanese actor Chang Chen
and PARK Ji-ha. Director KIM has a supporting role as a prison guard.
Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)