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Government to decorate 'Old Boy' makers

2004/07/26 Source

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said yesterday it will bestow decorations on the director, lead actor and producer of "Old Boy", a hit movie that grabbed the runner-up Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The honors, which will be awarded Friday, are to recognize the contribution the movie made in the international cinema world, enhancing the image of Korean films and their reputation for artistic quality, the ministry said.

Culture Minister Chung Dong-chea is to confer on director Park Chan-wook, 41, the Bogwan Order of Culture Merit, the third highest honor in the culture decoration category.

Main actor Choi Min-sik, 42, and Showeast CEO Kim Dong-joo, who produced the film, will receive Okgwan Order of Culture Merit, the fourth highest honor, the ministry said.

After graduating from Sogang University with a degree in philosophy, director Park began his movie career as a film critic before becoming an assistant director in 1988 on "Kkamdong".

He made his directorial debut in 1992 with "The Moon Is... the Sun's Dream" and showed his potential as a director with the mystery thriller, "JSA" (Joint Security Area), tackling the relations between North and South Korea.

The latest film, "Old Boy", based on a Japanese comic book, is a bizarre and brooding tale about a man who goes on a revenge spree after being detained and tortured for 15 years by an unknown abductor. The wickedly inventive mystery thriller received rave reviews both at home and abroad for its bold cinematic style peppered with visual and emotional excesses.

In the film, Choi Min-sik plays a loudmouthed drunk, Oh Dae-su. Choi's superb performance, combined with the film's twisted narrative and shocking scenes, was regarded as one of frontrunners for best actor at Cannes, but failed to grasp the award. Choi also played the main character in "Chwihawseon", for which director Im Kwon-taek won the Best Director Award at Cannes in 2002.

Kim Dong-joo produced "Friends" (2001), a hit movie directed by Gwak Gyeong-taek, before establishing the film distribution and investment company Showeast in March 2003.

By Yang Sung-jin

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