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5 Korean films make Cannes’ official selection this year

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Updated : April 14 2017

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Poster for the 70th Cannes Film Festival (Cannes Film Festival)
The 70th Cannes Film Festival this year will offer up a feast of Korean cinema. A total of five films have been invited to the official selection, with two competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or award.

Invited to the competition category are Hong Sang-soo’s “The Day After (Geu Hu),” filmed last February with Kim Min-hee, and Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja,” a fantasy story of a girl who sets out to save her giant animal friend starring Tilda Swinton.

It is the second time two Korean films are competing at Cannes since 2010, when the prestigious film fest invited Lee Chang-dong’s “Poetry” and in Hong’s “The Housemaid.”

Another film by Hong, “Clair’s Camera” starring Isabelle Huppert, will get a special screening at Canes this year.

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Tilda Swinton (left) and Giancarlo Esposito star in “Okja.” (Netflix)
The selection was announced at a press conference attended by Pierre Lescure, president of the festival and general delegate Thierry Fremaux, held Thursday in the resort town on the French Riviera.

The midnight screenings section will see two Korean films -- Jung Byung-gil’s “The Villainess (Ak Nyeo)” starring Kim Ok-bin and Byun Sung-hyun’s “The Merciless (Bul Han Dang)” starring Sol Kyung-gu and Im Si-wan.

Fremaux praised the continued presence of Korean cinema at the festival as he announced the midnight screenings, calling the two invited works “fantastic movies” that show the “diversity and strength” of Korean films.

Fremaux also gave a nod to Yeon Sang-ho’s “Train to Busan,” one of last year’s midnight screenings. “It was a major success in France and in the world and in Korea. Look very closely at these two films,” he said.

Cannes’ leaders did not shy away from political remarks during the press event. “We are constantly being surprised by Trump. I hope North Korea and Syria will not cast a shadow over the (film festival),” Lescure said.

Some 18 works have been invited to the competition category, 12 of which have been helmed by female directors.

Other films competing this year are: “Loveless” by Andrey Zvyagintsev, “Good Time” by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, “You Were Never Really Here” by Lynne Ramsay, “L’Amant Double” by Francois Ozon, “Jupiter’s Moon” by Kornel Mandruczo, “A Gentle Creature” by Sergei Loznitsa, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” by Yorgos Lanthimos, “Radiance” by Kawase Naomi, “Le Redoutable” by Michel Hazanavicius, “Wonderstruck” by Todd Haynes, “Happy End” by Michael Haneke, “Rodin” by Jacques Doillon, “The Beguiled” by Sofia Coppola, “120 Battements Par Minute” by Robin Campillo, “In the Fade” by Fatih Akin, “Les Fantomes d’Ismael” by Arnaud Desplechin, and “The Myerowitz Stories” by Noah Baumbach.

The Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 17 until 28.

By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)

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