Kim Ji-woon at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival
May 27, 1964 |
Seoul, South Korea
|Revised Romanization||Gim Ji-un|
Kim Ji-woon (born May 27, 1964) is a South Korean film director and screenwriter. Kim Ji-woon has a history of successfully tackling a wide range of film genres, garnering a cult following among Asian films fans all over the world.
Kim started out directing theater, but has worked with increasing levels of success in cinema, showing accomplished acting and a detailed stylization in his films. Kim also pays careful attention to the release of his films on DVD and goes to greater than usual lengths to package them with extensive documentary materials and revealing commentary tracks.
Kim is growing substantially both as a director and a visual stylist as demonstrated by two of his most recent films A Tale of Two Sisters and A Bittersweet Life both of which were received as critical and commercial successes.
In 2010 Kim directed the thriller I Saw the Devil, the cast of which includes Choi Min-sik (which he worked with previously on his film The Quiet Family) and Lee Byung-hun (who he worked with previously on The Good, the Bad, the Weird and A Bittersweet Life).
Kim's next film was his US debut, featuring the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead acting roles, The Last Stand, for Lionsgate Films. The film also starred Johnny Knoxville, Forrest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, and Daniel Henney.
The Quiet Family
In 1998, Kim directed and wrote his first feature film, The Quiet Family (1998), a horror/drama/comedy about a family who owns a mountain inn whose guests continue to commit suicide. The film was his first collaboration with actors Choi Min-sik (who he would later collaborate with in I Saw the Devil) and Song Kang-ho (who he would later collaborate with in The Foul King and The Good, the Bad, the Weird). The film won Best Live Action film at the 1999 Fantasporto festival, and Best Director and Best Film at the Malaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema. It was also nominated for Best Film at the 1998 Stiges Film Festival/The Catalonian International Film Festival.
The Foul King
In 2000, Kim directed and wrote his second feature film, The Foul King (2000), re-uniting again with Song Kang-ho. The film follows an unproductive and incompetent bank clerk (played by Song Kang-ho) who escapes his demanding, alpha-male boss by entering the pro-wrestling ring and fighting under a pseudonym, "The Foul King." The two worlds eventually end up colliding, however. The film won Best Director at the 2001 Milan International Film Festival, and an Audience Award at the Udine Far East Film Festival.
Coming Out (short film)
In 2001, Kim directed and wrote a short film entitled Coming Out (2001). The film is about vampires, among other things, and Kim wrote and directed Coming Out as part of a project to distribute three digital short films online. It was also commissioned by venture group Media 4M, and the project also included shorts by Jang Jin and Ryu Seung-wan. Coming Out was shot with a Canon XL-1 camcorder during a time when digital filmmaking in South Korea was still in its infancy, and went on to inspire many other digital productions. It was shown at the Fantasia Festival, and the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in 2001 and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in 2005. Coming Out was also included as a special feature on the UK DVD release of The Quiet Family and a review at DVDActive praised it as "delicate, cerebral and contemporary cinema at its most profound."
Memories segment in Three
Kim next wrote and directed the "Memories" segment in the omnibus film, Three (also known as Three Extremes II), also featuring segments directed by Peter Chan and Nonzee Nimibutr. The segment starred Kim Hye-soo.
A Tale of Two Sisters
In 2003, Kim wrote and directed A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), which won a number of awards at a number of film festivals including the Fant-Asia Film Festival (most popular film), Best Actress (Su-jeong Lim), Best Director and Best Film at the Fantasporto, Best Picture at Screamfest Horror Film Festival, Grand Prize and the Youth Jury Grand Prize at the Gerardmer Film Festival, and acting awards for Su-jeong Lim and Jung-ah Yum at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. The film was later remade into the 2009 U.S. film The Uninvited, starring Emily Browning, with Kim being credited with an original story/writer credit.
A Bittersweet Life
In 2005, Kim wrote and directed A Bittersweet Life (2005), his first collaboration with actor Lee Byung-hun (who he would later work with in The Good, the Bad, the Weird and I Saw the Devil). The film was an ultra-stylish and ultra-violent gangster and mobster picture that was both a critical and commercial success in South Korea. Lee Byung-hun won Best Actor at the Baek Sang Art Awards and Jeong-min Hwang won a Best Supporting Actor award at Korea's Grand Bell Awards. Kim also won the "Action Asia Award" at the 2006 Deauville Asian Film Festival.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
In 2008, Kim wrote and directed The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008), his tribute to spaghetti westerns, westerns and western action films. He would re-team again with Song Kang-ho (who played "The Weird") as well as Lee Byung-hun (who played "The Bad") in the film. The film takes place in 1930s Manchuria and chronicles the struggles of the three main characters in trying to find a piece of treasure. The film won an Achievement in Cinematography Award from the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, won Best Supporting Actor for Jung Woo-sung (the "Good") at the 2009 Asian Film Awards, and won Best Director and Best Special Effects at the 2008 Stiges Film Festival/Catalonian International Film Festival.
I Saw The Devil
In 2010, Kim directed, based off a screenplay from Hoon-jung Park, I Saw the Devil (2010), re-uniting with actors Choi Min-sik and Lee Byung-hun. The film won a number of awards, including Best Director and Best Film at Fantasporto, Special Jury Prize, Audience Award, Critics Award at the Gerardmer Film Festival, Best Lighting at the Grand Bell Awards, Best Foreign Language film from the Austin Film Critics Association and Best Editing from the 2011 Asian Film Awards.
In 2012, Kim directed and wrote the segment known as "The Heavenly Creature" about a robot who achieves enlightenment in a Buddhist temple, in omnibus film Doomsday Book (2012). Director Pil-Sung Yim directed the other segments. The film won Best International Film at the Fant-Asia Film Festival and a Special Award at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
The Last Stand
|1998||The Quiet Family||Yes||Yes|
|2000||The Foul King||Yes||Yes|
|2003||A Tale of Two Sisters||Yes||Yes|
|2005||A Bittersweet Life||Yes||Yes|
|2008||The Good, the Bad, the Weird||Yes||Yes|
|2010||I Saw the Devil||Yes||No|
|2013||The Last Stand||Yes||No|
|2002||Three (Segment: "Memories")||Yes||Yes|
|2011||60 Seconds of Solitude in Year Zero (Segment)||Yes||Yes|
|2012||Doomsday Book (Segment: "Heavenly Creature")||Yes||Yes|
|2013||One Perfect Day||Yes||No|
Recurring Cast in Kim Ji-woon films
|Actor||The Quiet Family||The Foul King||A Bittersweet Life||The Good, the Bad, the Weird||I Saw the Devil|
- Noh, Jean. "Finecut does deal with Kim Jee-woo's Devil". ScreenDaily.
- Ohmynews – Korean Cinema Ohmynews – Korean Cinema "The Good, the Bad, the Weird – Kim Ji-woon's slickly made 'Manchurian western'
- DVD Times -"A Bittersweet Life" review
- Review "A Tale of Two Sisters" DVD, 31 March 2005, Pop Matters
- "A Man Falls From Grace in First Images from 'I Saw the Devil'". BloodyDisgusting.
- "'Oldboy' Star in Hunt of Psychopath in 'Saw a Devil'". BloodyDisgusting.
- “Eating sushi with a little less wasabi”: Interview with Kim Jee-woon
- Paquet, Darcy. "Three comic filmmakers collaborate on digital film project". Korean Film Newsletter #7, 7 August 2000. Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved on 2 November 2008.
- Lee Sang-yong. "Digital Generation, Digital Films". Korean Cinema: From Origins to Renaissance, pp. 397. Korean Film Council. Retrieved on 2 November 2008.
- "Kim Jee-woon Tribute". Thessaloniki International Film Festival, 2005. Retrieved on 2 November 2008.
- Moriarty. "FANTASIA 2001: MORIARTY Revels In The Wonder of METROPOLIS, LYLIA, TELL ME SOMETHING, and More Shorts!!". Ain't It Cool News, 4 August 2001. Retrieved on 2 November 2008.
- "Made in Korea, Internet Meets the Big Screen". Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. Retrieved on 2 November 2008.
- Sarkar, Bodhi. "The Quiet Family – UK Region 0 (Tai Seng) vs HK Region 0 (Modern)", http://www.dvdactive.com/editorial/articles/the-quiet-family-comparison-review.html, DVDActive, 10 September 2005. Retrieved on 2 November 2008.
- Kim Ji-woon at the Internet Movie Database
- Kim Ji-woon Related News – Koreanmovie.com
- Kim Ji-Wood Biography – Film – Time Out London
- Kim Ji-Woon interview – Future Movies