Two Korean Films Invited to Compete at Cannes Film Festival

Bong Joon-ho (left) and Hong Sang-soo

Two Korean films, Bong Joon-ho's "Okja" and Hong Sang-soo's "The Day After - 2017", have been invited to be presented in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which opens in late May.

The last time two Korean films were in competition together at the prestigious festival was in 2010, when Lee Chang-dong's "Poetry" and Im Sang-soo's "The Housemaid" received invitations.

"Okja", which was produced with funding from U.S. video-streaming provider Netflix, has been the subject of much pre-release buzz due to its cast, which includes Hollywood stars Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. The much-hyped film tells the story of a young girl who sets out to rescue her best friend Okja -- a massive, genetically modified pig.

"Okja" is Bong's fourth film to be shown at Cannes, but his first to compete for an award.

It will also be interesting to see whether Hong's "The Day After - 2017", which stars his lover Kim Min-hee, can repeat the success of the director's "On the Beach at Night Alone", for which Kim won the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. The film's plot hews closely to the couple's real-life May-September romance.

"Claire's Camera" directed by Hong starring Kim and French actress Isabelle Huppert will be screened on the sidelines of the festival.

Another two Korean films, Jung Byung-gil's "The Villainess" and Byun Sung-Hyun's "The Merciless", were also invited to be screened.

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