Taking movies to the west

Updated 2017-12-14 10:33:11 China Daily

South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk talks of the values of Asian cinema in Beijing. Wang Kaihao reports.

After a chilly phase in China-South Korea relations in recent times, things seem to start warming up again.

South Korean cinematic icon Kim Ki-duk's appearance in Beijing on Tuesday was probably an icebreaking trip for the two countries' cultural circles, especially as it comes a day ahead of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's state visit to China.

"I've always believed that there are boundless cultural and economic possibilities for cooperation between China and South Korea," he says. "I hope we can be together at the forefront of a new era of China-South Korea cultural relations."

In the past 15 months, cinematic exchanges between the two countries stagnated due to the tension over the deployment in South Korea of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense antimissile system.

The 57-year-old director has won praise for his outstanding performance in several major European film festivals. In 2004, he won a Silver Bear (for best director) at the Berlin Film Festival with Samaritan Girl and was bestowed a Silver Lion (for best director) at the Venice Film Festival for 3-Iron. His film Pietu won the Gold Lion (best picture) in Venice in 2012.

In 2015, Kim was invited to direct Who Is God?-a Chinese fantasy film. Production of this widely-expected work was halted over the THAAD issue.

But now he is optimistic about future cooperation.

"China and South Korea have had close cooperation in cinema for years," Kim says.

"If misunderstandings can be erased, we can work on more joint projects. With our efforts, Asia can become a booming hub for filmmaking in the world."

Kim was in Beijing on Tuesday to attend a news conference on Asian Brilliant Stars, a section of the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival in February, which is set to promote high-quality Asian cinema around the world.

He is on the jury for the section. It will be the second edition of the section after its inauguration at the 67th Berlin festival earlier this year.

Seven out of 19 entries in the section are Chinese, including action film Wolf Warrior 2, the highest-grossing production in China's cinematic history earning 5.6 billion yuan (0 million) at the box office; Youth, director Feng Xiaogang's recent nostalgic drama; and Our Time Will Come by Hong Kong director Ann Hui On-wah, which is about the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

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