ASIAN FILM - Article
16:50 - 20th November 2013, by NEO Staff

Kim Ki-Duk

Regarded as one of South Korea's greatest living film directors, Kim Ki-duk has produced a body of work that is often shocking and thought provoking, but always unique. Born on 20 December 1960, the self-taught, award-winning filmmaker makes no apologies for exploring controversial subject matters like prostitution (Bad Guy - 2001) and teenage suicide (Samaritan Girl - 2003). Spencer Lloyd Peet presents some of his most significant work.

Crocodile (1996)
Made on a shoe-string, Ki-duk's debut film is a hard-hitting, violent tale about a homeless thug called Crocodile who lives under a bridge by the banks of the river Han in Seoul. Existing alongside an old man and a peddler boy, he makes money by robbing those who commit suicide in the river. He saves a young woman from attempting suicide, only to constantly abuse her. Although his behaviour towards her is aggressive, the couple begin to form a strange bond.

The Isle (2000)
The human need for love lies at the centre of this intense and provocative story about a troubled mute woman who works at a remote fishing resort, and occasionally sells her body to tourists. She saves a policeman from killing himself, and a twisted relationship is formed which leads to self-mutilation with fish hooks. Although The Isle shocked and disturbed audiences at major film festivals, it was the first Ki-duk feature to receive international acclaim due to its surreal imagery and lyrical beauty.

Spring, Summer... (2003)
Location has always been Ki-duk's top priority when making a film, and nowhere is this more poignantly evident than in Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring. Set on a floating temple in a mountainous region, a young orphan boy is raised by an elderly monk and taught the Buddhist ways of life. Filming took place over a whole year, stopping and starting again when the season's changed. It is Ki-duk's most assessable film, and to many, his finest.

Arirang (2011)
Kim-duk's sixteenth feature as director became the winner of the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes Festival 2011, and is his most personal yet; a self-penned testimony of his deepest thoughts and fears. It was crafted during his time in solitude, when the unconventional filmmaker placed himself, effectively, in exile after becoming guilt stricken by the near death of an actress during the shooting of a suicide scene in his 2008 film Dream. It's not the easiest Ki-duk film to watch, but it's certainly his most honest and revealing.

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