Photo: Park Chan-wook at the Cannes Film Festival. Credit: AFP.
On May 28, the Cannes Film Festival recognized two icons of South Korean film: director Park Chan-wook 박찬욱, who won Best Director for his erotic thriller Decision to Leave 헤어질 결심, and actor Song Kang-ho 송강호 who won Best Actor for his leading role in Broker 브로커.
This was Park’s third time winning at Cannes, having won prizes for Oldboy 올드보이 (2004) and Thirst 박쥐 (2009). Song, a towering presence who starred in the Oscar-winning Parasite 기생충 among many other films that belong to the South Korean canon, became the first Korean actor to win at Cannes. (Jeon Do-yeon 전도연 was the first Korean actress to win at Cannes with the 2007 film Secret Sunshine 밀양, which also starred Song.)
Prominent Japanese filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu directed Broker, which also features K-pop superstar IU 아이유 (or Lee Ji-eun 이지은) as a single mother looking to reclaim the baby she initially gave up for adoption.