Director Bong Clinches Top Award, Palm d’Or, at 72nd Cannes Film Festival
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Director Bong Clinches Top Award, Palm d’Or, at 72nd Cannes Film Festival
Bong thanks actors, actresses and others involved in the film, ‘Parasite’ and fans for the coveted award; President Moon congratulates the director and all those involved with the film for the award

09(Tue), Jul, 2019

Director Bong Joon-ho raises his arm as he clinches the Palm d’Or, the top award at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival with his film, “Parasite,” announced on May 25 at the annual film festival in the French city. The nine-man jury of the film festival unanimously voted to select the Korean firms for the top award in the global cinema festival, said Jury President Alejandro Inarritu in the festival’s closing ceremony. (Photo: Director Bong Joon-ho's Facebook)

Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s film “Parasite” captured the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s top award, Palme d’Or, making the film director the first Korean to win the coveted award of the world-renowned film festival.

“[Making] the film Parasite was an amazing adventure,” Bong said after receiving the Palme d’Or at the 72nd Festival de Cannes in France. “I was able to make the film thanks to the artists – without outstanding actors and actress I wouldn’t have been able to film even one scene. I want to thank them.”

The award-winning film was his seventh feature film, and it's the first time the director has won what is considered by many the highest honor in world cinema.

The decision to award Bong the Palme d’Or was a “unanimous” one for the nine-person jury, said jury president Alejandro Inarritu in the festival’s closing ceremony, beating such entries as “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” a U.S. film made by none other than Quentin Tarantino, a popular Hollywood film maker.

“Parasite” stars actor Song Kang-ho as head of a struggling and unemployed family who becomes entangled with a wealthy family with which they find jobs.

President Moon Jae-in congratulated Director Bong for the award and all those involved with the film, especially actors and actresses and hailed the news as it occurred on the day marking the 100th anniversary of Korean filmmaking.

The movie was recognized as the best out of all movies produced this year, and boosted the Korean film industry’s stature in the world, he wrote on his Facebook page, expressing respect to “Director Bong Joon-ho, who has worked relentlessly toward his dreams since he was 12 to become a world-renowned film director.”

The public was euphoric over the news, queuing to see the first Korean movie that has brought home the highest Cannes honor. According to the Korean Film Council, Parasite is running No. 1 in ticket presales with the number totaling 87,599 and the reservation rate tallied at 41.5 percent.

It is the first time in seven years that a Korean film won the most prestigious award at the world’s top three film festivals - in Cannes, Berlin, and Venice - after Pieta received the Golden Lion award for best film at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. It is also the first time in nine years that a Korean film won an award in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival after director Lee Chang-dong’s “Poetry” received the Best Screenplay Award.

Bong’s “Parasite” was chosen by the nine juries over 20 other selections including Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s “Young Ahmed,” Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” and Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady On Fire.”

Bong, best known for previous films “Okja” and “Snowpiercer,” is a director known for making films based on his own standards and style. As rarely is the case, his films are recognized for having a popular appeal from the public and being artistic value. Bong is known as a director that portrays caring concern on an individual character while at the same time satirical aspects of the society, winning over the public and critics.

Bong, who made his feature debut with “Barking Dogs Never Bite” in 2000, started to make his name in cinema through “Memories of Murder” released in 2003. The film, which is based on a true story of Korea’s serial murders that took place in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province hit 5.25 million viewers.

Also, “The Host” a 2006 monster film, not only marked a new era in Bong’s filmography, but signaled the first Korean-style blockbuster film. The director’s “Snowpiercer,” released in 2013, also made it to Hollywood, while he released the action-adventure film “Okja” on Netflix in 2017.

French-Senegalese director Mati Diop, in her first time at Cannes and as the first black woman in competition in the festival's 72-year history, won the Grand Prix award for her first narrative feature “Atlantics” a magical-realist take on migration in Senegal.

“Les Miserables” by Ladj Ly and "Bacurau" by Brazilian duo Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles shared the Jury Prize, the festival's equivalent of third place.

All four prize-winning films addressed hot-button issues: migration in West Africa, contemporary working class struggles in France and South Korea and a satirical riposte to right-wing politics in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the prize for best director went to the Dardenne brothers for “Young Ahmed" and the screenwriting prize was awarded to Celine Sciamma for "Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”

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