Im Sang-soo, 2004
April 27, 1962 |
Seoul, South Korea
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter|
|Revised Romanization||Im Sang-su|
Im Sang-soo (born April 27, 1962) is an award-winning South Korean film director and screenwriter. He has twice been invited to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, with The Housemaid in 2010 and The Taste of Money in 2012.
Early life and film career
Im was born in Seoul. He studied sociology at Yonsei University in Seoul before making a move to the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) in 1989. He began working in film that same year, landing his first job as Park Jeong-won's assistant director on Kuro Arirang (was coincidentally also the first film of actor Choi Min-sik).
Following graduation from KAFA, Im worked as an assistant director under Kim Young-bin on Kim's War (1994). In 1995 Im wrote the screenplay for The Eternal Empire, and also the screenplay A Noteworthy Film, which won him the Creation Prix at the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Scenario Competition.
In 1998 Im landed his first directorial gig. Girls' Night Out, a drama about three women in Korea, caused a controversy upon release due to the frank and sexually driven dialogue and has received mixed, almost polarized, reviews.
Tears, a hard drama about the lives of four runaway teenagers in Seoul, came next. Im spent five months in the Garibong-dong district of Seoul amongst homeless runaway teens before writing the script for the film. This film was shot in 2000 on miniDV to save the budget. To achieve greater realism, Im opted to use non-actors.
2003's A Good Lawyer's Wife was Im's first film to reach #1 at the South Korean box office, thanks in large part to the suggestive poster and trailer campaign centered around star Moon So-ri (who was cast after Kim Hye-soo dropped out to pursue a TV career). This film was also screened in the main competition program at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival.
Next in Im's string of controversial films was 2005's The President's Last Bang, about the night President Park Chung-hee was assassinated by his KCIA Director. The controversy started before it was released to the public (a press screening had already been held), with President Park's family suing MK Pictures over the film's content. A Korean court ordered the removal of 3 minutes and 50 seconds worth of documentary footage from the film as it was thought the documentary footage might confuse the public into thinking the film was based on hard facts, which Im admits is not the case.
The Old Garden, Im's fifth film, was released theatrically in fall 2006. It debuted at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival. His 2010 film, The Housemaid, competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. In 2012 The Taste of Money competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
All of Im's films have been controversial, but his film The President's Last Bang, centered on the assassination of Park Chung-hee, has been the most controversial due to its negative portrayal of the Korean president. In 2005 a South Korean court ordered the removal of 3 minutes and 50 seconds of the film before it could be shown to the public. The offending scenes were made up of documentary footage, part of which showed President Park's funeral.
In August 2006 this ruling was overturned, with the court confirming the "right of free expression concerning the depiction of public historical figures". The court has also ordered MK Pictures, the production company that had financed the film, to pay President Park's family 100 million won (roughly $105,000 USD).
The film has been released in South Korea and America on DVD in 2005. Both discs contain a plain black screen where the footage was removed. There has been no release date set for a DVD containing the cut footage. However, the British and French releases contain the fully uncut version.
- Girls' Night Out (처녀들의 저녁식사) (1998)
- Tears (눈물) (2000)
- A Good Lawyer's Wife (바람난 가족) (2003)
- The President's Last Bang (그때 그사람들) (2005)
- The Old Garden (오래된 정원) (2006)
- The Housemaid (하녀) (2010)
- The Taste of Money (돈의 맛) (2012)
- Sleeping with the Enemy (2013)
Awards and nominations
A Noteworthy Film
- 1995, Creation Prix at the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Scenario Competition
- 2000, FIPRESCI Prize – Special Mention (For its ability to put real life on screen, and its extraordinary performances) at the Pusan International Film Festival
- 2001, Best International Feature Film (Nominated, did not win) at the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema
- 2001, Bronze Horse (Nominated, did not win) at the Stockholm Film Festival
- 2003, Best Actress (Moon So-ri) at the Stockholm Film Festival
- 2003, Best Cinematography (Kim Woo-hyeong) at the Stockholm Film Festival
- 2003, Silver Spur Prize at the Flanders International Film Festival
- 2003, Golden Lion (Nominated, did not win) at the Venice International Film Festival
- 2004, Lotus Prize at the Deauville Asian Film Festival
- 2004, Best Actress (Moon So-ri) at the Grand Bell Awards, South Korea
- 2008, Best Screenwriter (Im Sang-soo. Nominated, did not win) at the Asian Film Awards
- "Two Korean Movies Invited to Compete at Cannes". The Chosun Ilbo. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- At 64, Yoon Yeo-jeong won’t let age get in the way of a sex scene. Korea JoongAng Daily. 2012-05-18.
- "The President's Last Bang Will Be Whole Again". Twitch Film. Retrieved 2006-10-17.
- Im Sang-soo at the Korean Movie Database
- Im Sang-soo at the Internet Movie Database
- Im Sang-soo at HanCinema
- Im Sang-soo at Naver (Korean)