August 23, 2006


In a recent talk show interview, Korea's most successful overseas export, director Kim Ki-Duk, went on a bit of a tirade. Calling THE HOST “the apex where the level of Korean movies meets the level of Korean audiences” and stating that this wasn't entirely a positive thing he went on to say that it was unfairly dominating Korean screens.

There was an immediate online backlash which Kim responded to by claiming that he was being attacked by people "out of an inferiority complex demonstrating their level of understanding." Meow. Does catty want a bowl of milk?

Kim has now offered up an apology that is also a statement of future plans. Saying that his comments were intentionally over the top but not meant to offend, he also apologized to everyone involved with THE HOST.

"After winning several awards and seeing them screened overseas, I took the arrogant attitude of trying to educate Korean viewers, and I later regretted saying things that should not have been said. I hope that the public can forgive my brutal way of expressing the point that this is a market where it is difficult to release lower-budget films."

He also said that if his new movie, TIME, fails he will stop "exporting" his movies to Korea and may leave the country entirely.

"The scolding I got from the public made me look back at my films, and I’m starting to think that I made miserable, self-regarding films and exaggerated the dark and ugly side of Korean culture in an overbearing manner and so made audiences uncomfortable. I became aware of the fact that I’m consciousness-disabled, and that makes it very difficult to live in Korea."

It all seems to be a brutally honest self-assessment but all this brouhaha occurs right as his latest movie TIME is about to be released. Is there no such thing as bad publicity? This may cause the large number of Koreans who don't like Kim's films to stay home (where they would have stayed anyways) but it may also put the spotlight on his latest movie which probably doesn't have the biggest marketing budget in Korea. But maybe they do have a controversial director who's willing to go out in public and get himself crucified for the sake of headlines.

August 23, 2006 at 11:49 AM in News | Permalink


Why does Korea dislike Duk so much? They ought to be proud to have such a cool filmmaker, but instead they think of him as giving Korea a bad image or something. Maybe if his films were money draws then it would be different. I guess the truth is that most film goers are just not sophisticated enough to appreciate anything other than the "usual" genres, and anything that deviates from that is quickly shot down.

Posted by: razz | Aug 24, 2006 12:11:08 PM

Zhang Ziyi, who gets dissed by her fellow Chinese no matter what she does, would surely empathize with Kim.

Posted by: oj | Aug 28, 2006 3:16:39 AM

I'm Korean-American and I love his films. It's a pity that native Koreans don't support him. But I guess every country does that to their own artists. I think I remember reading somewhere that Jim Jarmusch had to go to Europe to get funding--no one in the U.S. would give him money for his films!

Posted by: Debs | Sep 6, 2006 3:19:52 AM

I am a very big supporter of Kim Ki Duk films. His story telling is of a metaphorical and often abstract nature.Hence his films should not be interpreted literally in entirety. He expresses the pyshological disturbance and instability which could actually underpin the psyche of many Koreans. He is an artist with a unique social 'voice'. It's a pity he's not celebrated here as he is overseas.

Posted by: Cindy | Sep 20, 2006 11:45:16 AM

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