Jang Nara - Han Ji-min - Han Hyo Joo - Han Ga In - Han Eun-jung - Han Chae Young - Choi Yeo Jin - Choi Kang-hee - Choi Jeong-yoon - Park Chae-rim - Chae Jung-an - Bae Seul Ki - Bae Doona - Ha Ji Won - Kim Hee Sun - Lee Na Young - Harisu - Park Ji Yoon - Lee Jung-hyun - Eugene - Song Hye Kyo - Jeon Ji Hyun - Lee Hyori - Kim Hyo Jin - Kim Hee Sun - Lee Young Ae -

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Traces of Korea at Cannes Film Festival

The Taegeukgi will be flying high over the Croisette as the 60th Festival de Cannes, the creme de la creme of international film festivals, opens today. Over 20 films are competing for the much-coveted Palme d'Or, and two out of the four competing Asian titles are Korean -- ``Secret Sunshine'' by Lee Chang-dong and ``Breath'' by Kim Ki-duk. ``My Dear Rosetta'' by Yang Hea-hoon is also one of the short films in competition.

But more traces of Korea can be found in the out-of-competition pool as well. Most notable is the screening of ``Bound by Chastity Rules'' (1962) by Shin-Sang-ok in the Cannes Classics section.

The digitally restored movie tells the story of sexually repressed widows whose lives are dictated by deeply ingrained Confucian values. ``Bound'' swept awards at Korea's first Daejong Film Festival, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Shin Yeong-gyun), for its keen observation of human desire.

The picture is also distinguished for its portrayal of love that transcends strictly set social status barriers of the time. The film got its first international exposure when it was presented at the 13th Berlin International Film Festival. But ``Bound'' eventually became dormant, and unavailable in Korea.

In 2005, the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) recovered and collected the 16-millimeter film from Taiwan's film archive. After being digitally restored, ``Bound'' was brought back to life when it was screened last year at the Busan International Film Festival.

For Cannes, ``Bound'' underwent an intensive restoration process. Dust, scratches and hiss and clicks were carefully eliminated, while sharpness and color were fine-tuned, according to KOFA.

The Korean classic will be shown at the festival alongside Sir Lawrence Olivier's ``Hamlet'' (1948) and Terence Fisher's ``Dracula'' (1958). The Classics section was created in 2004, and last year, Oliver Stone's ``Platoon'' (1986) was restored and screened.

Shin (1926-2006) is an important pioneer and pillar of Korean cinema, and has directed more than 60 films, including the classic ``My Mother and the Lodger'' (1961).

The director continued to make headlines when he and his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee, were abducted by Kim Jong-il in 1978 for the purpose of producing critically acclaimed films. Shin eventually escaped back to the South and died last year at the age of 80.

Another Korean film to shine at the festival is Hong Sung-hoon's ``A Reunion.'' The movie will be part of ``Cinefondation,'' a section of the festival that aims to inspire and support the next generation of international filmmakers.

``Munyurangabo'' (Liberation Day) by up-and-coming Korean-American Lee Isaac Chung, will be screened in the ``Un Certain Regard'' section. Chung's debut piece is set in mid-1990s Rwanda and captures the violent civil conflict of the time.

Un Certain Regard features noteworthy films and is considered the most prominent among the out-of-competition sections. Some eight Korean films have been included in the lineup hitherto, including ``The Bow'' by Kim Ki-duk last year.

This year at Cannes, a total of about 50 feature films make up the Official Selection, chosen out of some 1,600 candidates from 95 countries. The festival will continue until May 27. For more information, visit the official Web site (www.festival-cannes.fr).

(courtesy of KoreaTimes)

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