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(LEAD) Hong Sang-soo wins best director at Berlin film fest for 'The Woman Who Ran'

All News 07:59 March 01, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with Hong's press conference in paras 8-11)

SEOUL, March 1 (Yonhap) -- Renowned South Korean director Hong Sang-soo on Saturday (Berlin time) won best director at the Berlin International Film Festival for his latest film, "The Woman Who Ran."

At the awards ceremony held at Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin, the director's 24th feature film was awarded the Silver Bear prize for best director at the 70th edition of the Berlin film fest, which kicked off Feb. 20 and closes Sunday.

Hong is the second South Korean filmmaker to earn the prize in the category, following Kim Ki-duk for "Samaritan Girl" in 2004.

In this AFP photo, South Korean director Hong Sang-soo (C) of "The Woman Who Ran" and actresses Kim Min-hee (L) and Seo Young-hwa (R) pose on the red carpet ahead of the awards ceremony of the 70th Berlinale film festival in Berlin on Feb. 29, 2020. (Yonhap)

"I'd like to thank everyone who've worked for me for this film, the film festival and the jury," Hong said in an acceptance speech.

And he introduced his actresses, including lead Kim Min-hee, who received a round of applause from the audience.

"The Woman Who Ran" is a story about a woman who meets three friends while her husband is on a business trip and enjoys her conversations with them.

This marks Hong's fourth title that has competed for a prize at the Berlin festival, after "Night And Day" (2008), "Nobody's Daughter Haewon" (2013) and "On the Beach at Night Alone" (2017). Kim, known to be in an extramarital relationship with the director, was awarded best actress for her role in "On the Beach at Night Alone."

At the press conference after the awards ceremony, Hong said he did not intend to make a film that reflects social issues in the first place.

"I live in a small world, with very small details coming one after another," Hong said. "I try not to have any intentions as much as I can (when making films). I try to push away the premature definition of what I'm doing."

He said he does not create films on a big scale and does not work with big-name studios, but he maps out a story from a small beginning and writes the script just one week before shooting.

"Either I have a place in mind or I have a few actors in mind, then I decide to shoot a film," said the art house director, who also wrote the screenplay of "The Woman Who Ran." "One week before the shooting, or sometimes a few days before shooting, I'm forced to come up with the first scene or sequence."

Hong's win at Berlin is another achievement for South Korean cinema, following Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite"'s glorious run, including the top honor at the Cannes Film Festival last year and best picture at this year's Oscars.

Meanwhile, the Berlin festival's highest prize of Golden Bear for best film went to "There Is No Evil" by Mohammad Rasoulof and the grand jury prize was given to "Never Rarely Sometimes Always" by Eliza Hittman.


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