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In dramatic style, Kim makes movie history

2012/09/10 | 430 views |  | Permalink | Source

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Director Kim Ki-duk hoists the Golden Lion trophy after "Pieta" took the top prize at the Venice Film Festival Saturday.[YONHAP]

Kim Ki-duk's "Pieta", a mother-and-son drama with a violent streak, won the Golden Lion award for best film at the 69th Venice Film Festival Saturday, the first time a Korean director has claimed the top prize at a major film festival.

The director also is the first Korean to win prizes at the Venice, Cannes and Berlin international film festivals.

Kim's bleak tale received a rare standing ovation after its screening and was chosen by judges over the 17 other films shown in Venice.

Instead of an acceptance speech, the 51-year-old director sang "Arirang", a traditional Korean song and the title of a cinematic self-portrait that recounts Kim's struggles as a director and sometimes troubled relationships with colleagues. He described "Arirang" Saturday as "the answer to my questions throughout life".

"I express my endless thanks to all actors, actresses and staff who took part in this movie", Kim was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency. "I also would like to honor all of you who chose "Pieta". "

When asked how he felt about receiving the award, he picked up the Golden Lion and kissed it.

Tears rolled down the cheek of an emotional Jo Min-so, the lead actress in "Pieta", as she expressed how happy and proud she was that a Korean film received the top prize for the first time.

During the festival's closing ceremony, lead jurist Michael Mann said the Korean movie stood out because it "seduced you viscerally".

Kim's 18th film, "Pieta", tells the story of a ruthless debt collector (played by Lee Jeong-jin) who cripples debtors who fail to pay up by injuring them for the insurance money.

The brutality of his day-to-day life is interrupted by the appearance of a woman (Jo Min-soo) who claims to be his mother. He struggles for redemption as an enormous secret between the two unravels.

Taking its name from Michelangelo's famous statue of Mary cradling the body of Christ, the prolific director said the movie is intended to be a condemnation of "extreme capitalism", describing money as the film's "third protagonist".

He also injected aspects of religion into the movie. "Religion is so closely connected to humans and I think if anything, this element of existence should be expressed through love", he said at a July press conference at Seoul Anglican Cathedral. "I think sex, in a way, is a prayer of sorts, so instead of dichotomizing the two [sexuality and religion] I think of the elements more as a singular chunk of our lives".

Although his films have not been commercial successes in Korea, they have been well received by critics abroad. "My works are introduced as commercial movies, not art, outside Korea", Kim said in July. "I don't know why Koreans seem to have trouble understanding my films".

Kim's previous drama "3-Iron" ("Bin-jip" meaning the empty house) won the best director award at the 2004 Venice film fest, while "Samaria" received the second-place Silver Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival the same year. " Last year, the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes went to "ARIRANG - Movie".

"Pieta" hit theaters Thursday in Korea and is expected to get a boost after taking the top nod in Venice. According to the Korea Film Council, it had 8,673 views at the box office for its first day, compared to total ticket sales of 12,293 for "Breath" (2007) and 28,412 for "Time" (2006).

By Park Eun-jee []

한글 관련 기사

불현듯 나타난 엄마에게 차츰 빠져든 아들… '충격적인 결말'

● 베니스 황금사자상 '피에타'는 어떤 영화?

베니스국제영화제 황금사자상을 수상한 '피에타'(6일 개봉)는 김기덕 감독 특유의 연출세계가 잘 드러난 작품이다.

내용은 김기덕 감독의 전작만큼이나 독특하다. 청계천 일대 사채업자 밑에서 채무자들의 돈을 받아내는 일을 하고 있는 남자 (이정진) 앞에 엄마라고 주장하는 한 여자(조민수)가 나타나면서 벌어지는 일을 그린다. 채무자들의 신체일부를 절단해 보험금을 타내는 등 잔인함을 드러내며 살아가던 남자는 갑자기 나타난 엄마라는 여자 때문에 혼란을 느끼다가 차츰 빠져들게 된다.

김기덕 감독은 두 중심 캐릭터를 통해 자본주의 사회의 고질적인 행태에 따른 극단적 폐해를 묘사한다. '너도 엄마가 있으면 그러지 않을 것'이라는 채무자의 말에 비웃음을 날리던 남자가 막상 엄마가 생긴후 달라지는 과정, 자신에게 당한 채무자들이 엄마에게 복수할까봐 노심초사하는 모습을 통해 자본주의 사회의 비극적인 단면을 보여준다.

'피에타'라는 제목은 이탈리아어로 슬픔과 비탄을 뜻한다. 성모 마리아가 십자가에서 내려진 예수 그리스도의 시체를 떠받친채 비통함을 금치못하는 모습을 묘사한 미켈란젤로의 조각과 같은 제목. '자비를 베푸소서'라는 의미도 가지고 있다. 김기덕 감독은 영화 제목을 '피에타'로 지으면서 인물들의 슬픔을 그리는 동시에 16년간 자신의 모든 작품에서 일관되게 탐구해온 인간 내면의 '악마적인 근성'과 '구원'에 대한 관점을 드러낸다.

영화의 전반부에는 이정진이 연기하는 캐릭터를 통해 '밑바닥 인생'들이 펼치는 '지옥같은 세상'을 보여준다. 이 과정에서 기계로 신체를 절단하고, 날짐승을 가져와 음식을 만드는 등 충격적인 장면이 등장해 불편함을 주기도 한다. 이정진이 자신 앞에 나타난 '엄마'라는 여자 조민수를 구타하는 장면까지 나와 섬뜩한 느낌을 준다.

후반에도 극중 이정진을 함정으로 몰아넣으면서 파격적인 결말을 보여준다. 그렇다고 '불편함'으로 이 영화가 도배된 건 아니다. 아귀들이 들끓는 지옥같은 세상에서 살아가던 한 남자의 변화를 과감하면서도 깊이있는 연출로 끌어내 깊은 여운을 남게 만들어주는게 이 작품의 매력이다.

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