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South Korean cinema excels thanks to artistic boldness

Posted October. 28, 2021 07:34,   

Updated October. 28, 2021 07:34


“There is nothing impossible in South Korean movies. They deal with all topics and cross the genre border. This artistic boldness was the key to success,” said David Tredler, chief programmer of the 16th Paris Korean Film Festival that opened on Tuesday. “This is the strength of Korean movies, from the movies such as ‘Parasite’ and ‘Minari,’ which won international critical acclaim, to Netflix’s megahit series ‘Squid Game,’” said Mr. Tredler.

Having taken place for 16 years, the Paris Korean Film Festival has served an essential role in promoting South Korean films not only in France but entire Europe. Mr. Tredler has worked at the festival since 2011, taking in charge of nominating Korean films to be introduced in France and creating French subtitles.

This reporter met with Mr. Tredler at Publicis Cinémas located in Champs-Élysées, Paris, where the film festival took place. “I still vividly remember 10 years ago,” said Mr. Tredler. Born in 1981 in Paris, Mr. Tredler majored library and information science and worked in media industry. He was pleasantly surprised when he first saw South Korean films at the Paris Korean Film Festival he first visited as an audience in 2011. Mr. Tredler immediately went to see a staff at the site and asked if he could work at the film festival, and that was the start of him joining in the film festival as a programmer.

As Korean films garner more global praise, more and more French people visits the festival to see not only blockbuster movies but also independent movies and even classic films. Mr. Tredler pointed out “Obaltan (1961),” starred by Choi Mu-ryong and Moon Jeong-sook, as the most impressive Korean movie.

Mr. Tredler emphasized that Korean films must not be complacent about its success. “Korea should not rely on famous directors,” he said. “It is necessary to lay the groundwork for younger generation to create new movies, so that artistic boldness, which is the strength of Korean films, is inherited and augmented.”The 2021 Paris Korean Film Festival will run until next Tuesday, and a total of 46 movies, including 18 full-length films and 28 short films, will be screened.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com