July 4, 1954 |
Daegu, South Korea
|Revised Romanization||I Chang-dong|
Lee Chang-dong (Hangul: 이창동; born July 4, 1954) is a South Korean film director, screenwriter and novelist. He is best known for his films Peppermint Candy, Oasis, Secret Sunshine, and Poetry. Lee won the Best Director award at the 2002 Venice Film Festival and the Best Screenplay award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival; he has also been nominated for the Golden Lion and the Palme d'Or. Lee served as South Korea's Minister of Culture and Tourism from 2003 to 2004.
Life and career
Lee was born in Daegu, the hub of Korea's main conservative party. He graduated in 1981 with a degree in Korean Literature from Kyungpook National University in Daegu, where he spent much of his time in the theater, writing and directing plays. After a spell teaching Korean Language in high school, he established himself as a renowned novelist with his first novel Chonri in 1983. Later in his career, to the surprise of many, he turned to movie making.
Lee did not study film making before starting out. He penned two screenplays, Park Kwang-su's To the Starry Island in 1993 and A Single Spark in 1995. After being encouraged by his contemporaries to finally step behind the directors chair, Lee made Green Fish, a "critique of Korean society told through the eyes of a young man who becomes enmeshed in the criminal underworld", in 1997.
In 2000, Lee made Peppermint Candy, a story following a single man in reverse chronology through 20 years of South Korean history (from 1980's student uprising, to the film's 2000 release).
All of his films have received critical acclaim and awards, with Oasis, a story involving a mentally ill man and a woman with cerebral palsy, winning the prestigious Director's Award at the 2003 Venice Film Festival.
He served as the minister of Culture and Tourism in the South Korean Government from 2003 to 2004.
FC: How did you come to hold government office?
LEE: At the time of President Roh Moo-hyun’s election campaign, one of the things he promised was that his Minister of Culture would be selected from the field of culture and art rather than a professional politician. Well, he got elected, and a lot of people recommended me as this new Minister of Culture. I never thought that this was an outfit that suited me particularly well, but had to accept it as one of those bitter cups one has to accept in the course of life.
In October 2006, Lee was awarded with the Chevalier (Knight) order of the Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honor) by the French government for "his contribution to maintaining the screen quota to promote cultural diversity as a cultural minister." It was delivered to the French embassy in South Korea by the French Minister of Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres during an official visit.
In 2007, Lee's fourth film, Secret Sunshine, was completed. At the 60th Cannes Film Festival, the film was entered in the competition category and its leading actress, Jeon Do-yeon, won the Prix d'interprétation féminine du Festival de Cannes. It was released to theaters in South Korea in 2007, and was South Korea's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2008.
In 2010, Lee's latest film, Poetry, was released, garnering positive critical reviews, and winning the Best Screenplay Award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Notably, the film's starring role was played by Yoon Jeong-hee, who was returning to the screen after an absence of 16 years.
- To the Starry Island (1993) *screenplay
- A Single Spark (1995) *screenplay
- Green Fish (1997)
- Peppermint Candy (2000)
- Oasis (2002)
- Secret Sunshine (2007)
- Poetry (2010)
In 2007, Lee's short story, "The Dreaming Beast" (translated by Heinz Insu Fenkl), was published in the journal AZALEA.
- 2011 - Best Director, Baeksang Arts Awards
- 2010 - Best Screenplay, Grand Bell Awards
- 2010 - Best Screenplay, Cannes Film Festival
- 2008 - Best Film, Asian Film Awards
- 2008 - Best Director, Asian Film Awards
- 2007 - Best Actress (won by Jeon Do-yeon), Cannes Film Festival
- 2007 - Best Feature Film, Asia Pacific Screen Awards
- 2007 - Best Performance by an Actress, Asia Pacific Screen Awards
- 2007 - Best Picture, Korean Film Awards
- 2007 - Best Director, Korean Film Awards
- 2007 - Best Director, Director's Cut Awards
- 2007 - Special Award, Grand Bell Awards
- 2003 - Best Director, Baeksang Arts Awards
- 2003 - Three Castles Award, Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema
- 2003 - Audience Award, Gardanne Film Festival
- 2003 - Chief Dan George Humanitarian Award, Vancouver International Film Festival
- 2003 - FIPRESCI Prize, Venice Film Festival
- 2003 - SIGNIS Award, Venice Film Festival
- 2003 - Special Director's Award, Venice Film Festival
- 2003 - Golden Lion (Nominated), Venice Film Festival
- 2005 - Best Foreign Film (Nominated), Independent Spirit Awards
- 2000 - Special Jury Prize, Bratislava International Film Festival
- 2000 - Best Film, Grand Bell Awards, South Korea
- 2000 - Don Quijote Award, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
- 2000 - Netpac Award - Special Mention, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
- 2000 - Special Prize of the Jury, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
- 1997 - Best Film, Blue Dragon Film Awards
- 1997 - Dragons and Tigers Award, Vancouver International Film Festival
- 1998 - Netpac Award - Special Mention, Rotterdam International Film Festival
- 1995 - Best Film, Blue Dragon Film Awards
- Korean Writers The Novelists. Minumsa Press. 2005. p. 156.
- "Chang-dong Lee". IMDB. Retrieved 2007-05-28.
- Scott, A. O. "Director Profile". NY Times/Allmovie. Retrieved 2006-10-07.
- "Yes, Minister: Lee Chang-dong Interviewed". Firecracker/UK Film Council. 10 September 2005. Archived from the original on November 23, 2007. Retrieved 2006-10-07.
- "Former Culture Minister Lee Honored By French". KBS Global via Twitch Film. 29 October 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-29.
- "Festival de Cannes: Secret Sunshine". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- Taylor-Jones, Kate E. (2013). "Lee Chang-dong and the Trauma of History". Rising Sun, Divided Land: Japanese and South Korean Filmmakers. Columbia University Press.
- Korean Literature Translation Institute (2005). Korean Writers: The Novelists. Minumsa Press. p. 157.