Two trophies were awarded to South Korean movies among feature films in competition in the 75th Cannes Film Festival. Director Park Chan-wook received the Best Director Award for “Decision to Leave” while actor Song Kang-ho won the Best Actor Award for “Broker,” proving the strength of K-movies. It was the first time in South Korean film history that two major prizes were given to South Korean movies at once in the Cannes Film Festival, which is one of the top three international film festivals.
The two winning films have special significance in that they were built on collaborative works with directors and actors from other Asian nations. “Broker” deals with a South Korean specific topic with South Korean actors involved against a backdrop of the nation, financed by South Korean investors. However, it was directed by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. “Decision to Leave” was starred by famous Chinese actress Tang Wei. This year in Cannes, the international film industry highly acclaimed their attempts to blend other Asian sensitivities and cultural aspects in South Korean movies. Notably, the South Korean film industry as a whole made progress in globalization, differentiating from the past when only directors or actors went global to a limited extent.
The key to this level of success lies in K-content including films. Film “Parasite” and TV series “Squid Game” were highly praised for their cinematic quality and its popularity, winning many globally renowned awards. K-pop music enjoys global popularity with BTS at the forefronts. All such achievements serve as a strong basis for K-movies to evolve into multi-national content. Even international movie producers have been drawn to South Korea as there is a strong belief that South Korean content never fails as shown in film “Minari” and TV series “Pachinko.” “Vanishing,” a French movie produced by French director Denis Dercourt was shot completely in South Korea with South Korean actors involved.
South Korean movies are expanding their influence across the globe by ensuring a greater level of cultural and artistic diversity. The “1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles” as mentioned by director Bong Joon-ho is gradually falling down thanks to the artistic values and attractive aspects of K-content that resonate across the world. No sooner or later, South Korea will become one of the most influential film hubs in the global film industry. To expedite this progress, we need to ensure exchanges and investments in human resources and movie-related capital that will help lower borders and linguistic barriers. Added to this, there should be more chances of helping the film industry enhance creativity so that we can see an array of great directors just as Park Chan-wook.