“COVID-19 will pass, and cinema will continue,” South Korean movie director Bong Joon-ho said in his new role as the president of the jury at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, which was unveiled on the Lido Island Wednesday (local time).
Mr. Bong sent a hopeful message while admitting to the difficulties the movie industry has gone through because of the pandemic. “Because of COVID-19 in Korea and in the rest of the world, filmmakers had a very tough time last year and this year,” Bong said. “But in a way, looking back, it feels like this was a test, and what it has shown is the life force of cinema. As a filmmaker, I do not believe the history of cinema could be stopped so easily.”
He also expressed his expectations about the festival, too. “I’m also very excited to experience new Italian cinema from young filmmakers,” he said. “They all have their own creative universes and they’re all great in their own way, so I hope to bring them all together and have a kind of explosion with them.”
Asked about his judging criteria, Bong said he doesn’t think there has to be some sort of criteria. To pick beautiful cinema, it’s all about respecting everybody’s taste, looking forwarded to some spirited debate with other juries.
Running until September 11, the festival hosts a total 92 movies from 56 countries. Venice’s main competition for the Golden Lion includes 21 films this year. The winner of the Golden Lion will be announced by Bong on the closing day of the event. This year, no Korean movies were invited to the competition.
With its inception dating back to 1932, the Venice film festival is the oldest international movie festival in the world. In 1987, Kang Soo-yeon won the Best actress award with “The Surrogate Woman”, and in 2002, Director Lee Chang-dong and actress Moon So-ri won the Silver Lion for best direction and Marcello Mastroianni Award, respectively. In 2004, Director Kim Ki-duk was honored with the Silver Lion for best direction with his movie “3-Iron” before winning the Golden Lion in 2012 with “Pieta”. Director Park Chan-wook and Moon So-ri participated in the festival as jury in 2006 and 2016, respectively.