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PARK Wins Berlin's Alfred Bauer Prize

2007/02/16 | Permalink | Source

South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook won the Alfred Bauer Prize, one of the 8 main awards at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival, for his imaginative comedy "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK". The festival, also known as the Berlinale, announced the winners at a lavish ceremony held on February 17th, the tenth day of its 11-day run. The Alfred Bauer Prize is named after the founder of the Berlinale and honors a work distinctive for its innovation in cinematic art.

The prize for Cyborg is PARK's second major award in Europe. PARK is known best to European audiences for his vengeance trilogy, the second of which, "Old Boy" (2003), won the prestigious Grand prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2004. The off-the-wall romantic-comedy Cyborg came as something of a surprise to fans used to his violently refined thrillers. It tells the story of a two mental patients who meet in a psychiatric hospital: a young man, played by JUNG Ji-hoon (a.k.a. pop-sensation Rain, in his big-screen debut), and his love-interest, a young woman who thinks she is a cyborg, played by Im Soo-jung.

Both the cast and director attended the festival, with PARK making humorous acceptance remarks at the awards ceremony: "I would like to share this award with my wife. She is very unhappy with my career as a director. I am not home for weeks, busy all the time and even when I am home my head is full of other thoughts. She is now here sharing this honor with me -- I hope she will now forgive me. When I get home, I hope she will tell our friends, 'My husband is a director but that's OK".

PARK had been invited to the Berlinale the previous year as a special guest, where he sat on the panel of the Berlin Talent Campus to discuss his filmmaking approaches with an eager audience. In 2001, his breakthrough feature JSA - Joint Security Area (2000) was invited to the Berlinale competition section, introducing PARK to European audiences.

Cyborg was one of 8 Korean films screened at this year's Berlinale. Also in the competition section was Hyazgar ("Desert Dream)", Korean-Chinese filmmaker Zhang Lu's third feature. In the Panorama section were debut director Lee Song-hee-il's "No Regret", Hong Sang-soo's "Woman on the Beach" and Lee Jae-yong's "Dasepo Naughty Girls" ("Dasepo Girl"). Director Lee Yoon-ki's third feature, "Ad-Lib Night" was shown in the Young Forum section while debut-duo LEE Hae-yeung and Lee Hae-joon's adolescent comedy "Like A Virgin" screened in the Generation 14-Plus section. Childhood tale "Ice Bar" by Yeo In-kwang was presented in the Generation K-Plus section.

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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