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'Thirst,' 'Mother' stars named best performers by Korean directors

All Headlines 11:09 December 17, 2009

SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) -- Veteran actor Song Gang-ho and actress Kim Hye-ja have been selected as the best performers of the year by South Korean directors for their respective roles in the internationally acclaimed "Thirst" and "Mother," the directors' network said Thursday.

Song, who played the role of a Catholic priest-turned-vampire in "Thirst," will be honored with the best actor title at the Directors' Cut Awards for the fifth time, the Korea Directors' Network said in a press release.

"Thirst," directed by Park Chan-wook, won the third-highest Jury Award at the Cannes International Film Festival this year.

Song, 42, is recognized as one of the most influential actors in South Korea, winning several local awards for his roles in "Joint Security Area, (2000) ," "The Host (2006)" and "Secret Sunshine (2007)."

Kim Hye-ja, 68, a popular TV celebrity widely known for her on-screen persona of a benevolent mother, surprised fans with her intense performance in "Mother," the fourth feature by director Bong Joon-ho.

Noted for her intense portrayal of obsessive and peculiar maternal love in the Cannes-invited mystery thriller, Kim was also named best actress by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and China's Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival this year.

Director Park of "Thirst" will be honored the best filmmaker of the year, while Ounie Lecomte of "A Brand New Life" has been named the best emerging director. Yoon Je-kyoon of "Haeundae" has been selected as the best producer of the year and Yang Ik-joon the best independent filmmaker for his internationally acclaimed "Breathless," the directors' network added.

The Directors' Cut Awards were established in 1998. Some 250 South Korean directors take part in the vote each year.

The award ceremony will be held in Seoul on Monday.

hayney@yna.co.kr
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