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Award-winning S. Korean actress receives French cultural order PARIS, April 5 (Yonhap) -- Yoon Jeong-hee, the star of the award-winning South Korean film "Poetry," received a top French cultural order here Tuesday for her contributions to cinema. Yoon was named the "Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters" by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. It's the second-highest French cultural order for foreign recipients,

All Headlines 09:24 April 06, 2011

PARIS, April 5 (Yonhap) -- Yoon Jeong-hee, the star of the award-winning South Korean film "Poetry," received a top French cultural order here Tuesday for her contributions to cinema.

Yoon was named the "Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters" by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. It's the second-highest French cultural order for foreign recipients, awarded to those who contribute to the development and propagation of arts or literature.

Yoon, 66, had earlier been set to become the "Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters," which is a notch below the Officer order, but French culture minister Frederic Mitterrand decided to recognize the actress's career with a higher honor, the ministry explained.

"I am delighted that the French culture ministry and also the French people have recognized my acting career," Yoon said. "Receiving this order has given me the confidence to work even harder in the future."

In 2001, Yoon's husband, classical pianist Paik Kun-woo, received the Knight order. They are the first South Korean couple to be so honored by the French government.

"I am so happy I feel that I am on a cloud," Paik said. "I am surprised that Minister Mitterrand had so much interest in Korean movies, especially my wife's films."

Directed by Lee Chang-dong, "Poetry" premiered in France last August. It depicts a woman in her 60s who develops a belated interest in poetry while battling Alzheimer's disease and guilt over a heinous family crime. The film has won a slew of international awards, including the best screenplay award at the Cannes International Film Festival last year.

To portray the film's protagonist, Yoon took her first role in 16 years. She grabbed the best actress honors at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the Grand Bell Awards, South Korea's oldest film awards.
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