Born in 1960, the South-Korean film director Kim Ki-duk is today counted among the most prominent directors of the new movement of contemporary cinema while, at the same time, resolutely remaining outside the cinema industry.
From his very first films he has been noticed at international film festivals such as Berlin (Golden Bear for best director, for Samaritan Girl), Locarno (The Coast Guard) or Venice (Silver Lion for 3-Iron). In spite of a growing success, Kim Ki-duk favours independence in his way of working: small budget, fast shooting and strong personal implications which lead him to create his own backgrounds and accessories.
Self-taught, Kim Ki-duk seems to have accumulated in the first part of his life all the experiences necessary to inscribe his future cinema. Moving on the edge for 30 years, he physically explored the forthcoming themes of his work as a director: wandering, escape and, especially, survival.
In Kim Ki-duk’s films people don’t talk, they hit. Relationships are always frontal, direct, decoded, never mediated through language which would neutralize its violence. Flayed, traumatized and continually turning red, Kim Ki-duk’s heroes are presented in idyllic and luxurious landscapes, worthy of romantic postcards sent from Korea. Yet the best dramas are played between the flourishing mountain crests and the blue surfaces of the lakes and oceans.
Through a filmography as injected with blood as on the edge, Kim Ki-duk shows the still-oozing wounds of a Korean society maltreated by its history with an art of precision and a staging of suffering which is all Far-Eastern refinement.