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[Opinion] Director Lim`s Leadership

Posted September. 18, 2003 23:28,   


Many young people these days wish to become film directors, who tend to vary in filmmaking styles. Charismatic directors dominate the mood of the set with their artistic spirit and high-profile presence. Some are seen as gentlemen with manners and intelligence, and some others often intimidate people and call names like mob bosses. Meticulous directors spend days and nights creating scenes they want. There are comedian-like directors who make jokes a lot and buoy up the mood. Some have propensity to blame others when things just do not go well. There are also Casanova directors who are too kind to actresses.

The Korea Leadership Center recently conducted a survey titled `Most Trusted Leaders of Society` to some 5,000 netizens. And the survey found that Director Im Gwon-taek was a distant leader in the culture and art area. In the culture and art industry where confrontation and conflict abound, the seasoned director won support from young and old generations, liberals and conservatives, and art and commercial filmmakers alike. Although Lim barely finished middle school courses, he was awarded an honorary doctorate at Catholic University last year and became a member of an art society after winning the Director of the Year title in the Cannes Film Festival. What is the most noteworthy is that the veteran director is now making his 99th film titled `Low-class Life.`

Then what is so special about Lim`s leadership? In the filmmaking industry, he is known as a man of trust. Having made `Female Monk` with Lee Tae-won, President of Taeheung Movies, in 1984, he continued to team up with Lee for some 10 hit movies such as `Aje Aje Bara Aje,` `The Son of General,` `Songs from the West,` `Taebaek Range,` `Fest,` `Chunhyang Story` and `Chihwasun.` Many movie production companies offered staggering amount of money to work with the great director, but he remained determined. He has also picked up new faces like Park Sang-min in `The Son of General,` Oh Jeong-hae in `Songs from the West,` Kim Gap-soo in `Taebaek Range` and Cho Seung-woo in `Chunhyang Story.`

Also known as an avid reader, he is always cautious not to waste films during shooting. Lim has rehearsals repeatedly with his camera director Jung Il-sung and allows few NGs. One day, I saw Lim arrived in Seoul early in the morning with his staff and cast after finishing shooting down to the southern part of the country. He was saying casually, ˝If we take some trouble, the production company will save tens of millions of won in costs.˝ He eats and sleeps with staff and cast during shooting. Then, he must make a good benchmarking model for many different kinds of leaders in this country.

Oh Myeong-cheol, Editorial Writer, oscar@donga.com