Kim Kiduk

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Kim Ki-duk is one of the most controversial but also well-known directors of the Korean New Wave, whose films have received accolades at almost every major international film festival from Cannes to Berlin to Venice. According to the Korean Film Council, more requests for help with Kim Ki-duk retrospectives are being sent in every year than for all other Korean cinema projects put together. However, while Kim's pictures continue earning him critical acclaim overseas, South Korean audiences are less enthusiastic about his work, and domestic critics alternate between indifference and animosity towards the filmmaker. Particularly the depiction of violence and the allegedly misogynist tendencies in his films regularly spark controversies both home and abroad, prompting feminist critics to call him everything from a "psychopath" to a "monster" and an "animal". Kim Ki-duk's films are not easy to watch, or, as one critic has stated, they 'tend do make one uncomfortable' (Kim, S.H. n.d.: para. 1). His style and aesthetics are unique among Korean filmmakers, his movies are filled with symbolically charged, surreal imagery, while his bizarre stories always revolve around marginalized characters and social outcasts such as pimps, prostitutes, hoodlums, and murderers. In fact, Kim's consistent choice of provocative themes and controversial characters that are far away from any kind of mainstream has already become one of his very own, distinctive trademarks. His stories are often disturbing and violent, but at the same time extraordinarily complex and puzzling, having the tendency to leave the audience with more questions than answers, and confronting them with multiple possibilities of interpretation. In that sense, Kim Ki-duk's films also display various postmodern elements: they cross genre boundaries, cite and allude to other cinematic or literary works, and withstand the traditional conventions of narrative structure, often neglecting such things as logic or...
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