Posted in: Movies, Tattle

Kim Ki-duk: punk-Buddhist shock, violence – and hypnotic beauty too

The South Korean director, who has died of Covid, was at the forefront of a new wave of uncompromising cinema

  • Kim Ki-duk dies aged 59

Of all the film-makers of what might loosely be called the new Asian wave of the 21st century, perhaps the most challenging and mysterious – and probably the most garlanded on the European festival circuit – was South Korean director Kim Ki-duk. He made movies which were shocking, scabrous and violent – yet also often hauntingly sad and plangently beautiful and sometimes just plain weird. But they were strangely hypnotic. In 2011, I was on the Cannes Un Certain Regard jury which gave the top prize to his opaque docufictional piece Arirang, and though I struggle a bit now to recapture the mood of certainty that led us to that decision, there is no doubt about that Kim’s work had a commanding effect.

In fact, Kim himself might be a more prominent figure himself were it not that he was involved in the #MeToo controversy – three actors accused him of sexual assault which resulted in a fine for the director and inconclusive recrimination in the civil courts.

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