Kim Ki-duk

Kim Ki-duk (Korean: 김기덕 Korean pronunciation: [kimɡidʌk]; born December 20, 1960) is a South Korean filmmaker noted for his idiosyncratic art-house cinematic works. His films have received many distinctions in the festival circuit, making him one of the most important contemporary Asian film directors. Major festival awards include Golden Lion at 69th Venice International Film Festival for Pietà, Silver Lion for Best Director at 61st Venice International Film Festival for 3-Iron, Silver bear for Best Director at 54th Berlin International Film Festival for Samaria and Un Certain Regard prize at 2011 Cannes Film Festival for Arirang. His most widely known feature is Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003), included in film critic Roger Ebert's Great Movies. Two of his films served as official submissions for Academy award for best foreign language film as South Korean entries. He has given scripts to several of his former assistant directors including Juhn Jai-hong (Beautiful and Poongsan) and Jang Hoon (Rough Cut).

Kim Ki-duk
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Gideok
McCune–ReischauerKim Kidŏk

Life and career

Kim Ki-duk was born on December 20, 1960 in Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. He studied fine arts in Paris from 1990 to 1993. After returning to South Korea, Kim began his career as a screenwriter and won the first prize in a scenario contest held by Korean Film Council in 1995.[1] In the following year, Kim made his debut as a director with a low budget movie titled Crocodile (1996). The film received sensational reviews from movie critics in South Korea. Kim has said that his international breakthrough occurred with The Isle at the Toronto International Film Festival.[2] His 2000 film Real Fiction was entered into the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival.[3]

In 2004, he received Best Director awards at two different film festivals, for two different films. At the Berlin International Film Festival, he was awarded for Samaritan Girl (2004), and at the Venice Film Festival he won for 3-Iron (also 2004). In 2011, his documentary film Arirang received an award for best film in the Un Certain Regard category from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2012, his film Pieta received the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, the first Korean film to receive a "best film" honor at one of the top three international film festivals - Venice, Berlin and Cannes.


The British Board of Film Classification delayed the release of Kim Ki-duk's The Isle (2000) in the United Kingdom because of instances of animal cruelty in the film. Concerning scenes in which a frog is skinned after being beaten to death and fish are mutilated, the director stated, "We cooked all the fish we used in the film and ate them, expressing our appreciation. I've done a lot of cruelty on animals in my films. And I will have a guilty conscience for the rest of my life."[4]

To a U.S. interviewer who suggested that scenes such as these are "very disturbing and [seem] to place an obstacle to the films [sic] reception, or... distribution, to other countries", Kim said, "Yes, I did worry about that fact. But the way I see it, the food that we eat today is no different. In America you eat beef, pork, and kill all these animals. And the people who eat these animals are not concerned with their slaughter. Animals are part of this cycle of consumption. It looks more cruel onscreen, but I don't see the difference. And yes, there's a cultural difference, and maybe Americans will have a problem with it - but if they can just be more sensitive to what is acceptable in different countries I'd hope they wouldn't have too many issues with what's shown on-screen."[5]

Another controversy surrounds the director’s alleged misogyny, represented in his films supposedly, decried by feminists in his home country as being “dangerous penis fascism.”[6]

Sexual assault allegations

In 2017, an anonymous actress came forward with allegations that she had been assaulted by Kim on the set of his film Moebius. She claimed that he had hit her several times before pressuring her to participate in a sex scene she had not previously agreed to.[7] In 2018, at least three women accused Kim of sexual assault.[8][9][10] Kim filed false accusations and defamation suits against the accusers.[11]

In January 2019, the court ordered Kim to pay a $4,450 (KRW 5 million) fine for the assault, but dismissed the sexual assault charge for lack of evidence. Kim subsequently sued the actress for false accusation.[12] The following month, Kim filed a lawsuit against a women’s rights group over “damages” caused by the group against him.[13]


YearEnglish titleKorean titleDirectorProducerWriterEditorNotes
1996 Crocodile 악어 Yes Yes
Wild Animals 야생동물 보호구역 Yes Yes
1998 Birdcage Inn 파란 대문 Yes Yes
2000 The Isle Yes Yes
Real Fiction 실제 상황 Yes Yes
2001 Address Unknown 수취인불명 Yes Yes
Bad Guy 나쁜 남자 Yes Yes
2002 The Coast Guard 해안선 Yes Yes
2003 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring 봄 여름 가을 겨울 그리고 봄 Yes Yes Yes "He also acts a major role (as the Adult Monk)"[14]
2004 Samaritan Girl 사마리아 Yes Yes Yes Yes
3-Iron 빈 집 Yes Yes Yes Yes
2005 The Bow Yes Yes Yes Yes
2006 Time 시간 Yes Yes Yes Yes
2007 Breath Yes Yes
2008 Dream 비몽 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Beautiful 아름답다 Yes Yes
Rough Cut 영화는 영화다 Yes Yes
2010 Secret Reunion 의형제 Yes Uncredited
2011 Arirang 아리랑 Yes Yes Yes Yes Dramatic documentary about himself
Amen 아멘 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Poongsan 풍산개 Yes Yes
2012 Pietà 피에타 Yes Yes Yes Yes
2013 Moebius[15] 뫼비우스 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rough Play 배우는 배우다 Yes Yes
Red Family 붉은 가족 Yes Yes Yes
2014 One on One 일대일 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Godsend 신의 선물 Yes Yes
2015 Stop 스톱 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Made in China 메이드 인 차이나 Yes Yes
2016 The Net[16] 그물 Yes Yes
2017 Fork Lane 포크레인 Yes Yes
2018 Human, Space, Time and Human 인간, 공간, 시간 그리고 인간 Yes Yes Yes
2019 3000[17] Yes ? ? ?

International awards

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref
2004 54th Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear (Best Director) Samaritan Girl Won
61st Venice Film Festival Silver Lion (Best Director) 3-Iron Won
2011 Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard Prize Arirang Won
2012 Küstendorf Film and Music Festival "Award for Future Movies" Pietà Won [18]
69th Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Won
2014 71st Venice Film Festival The Venice Days Best Film Award One on One Won



  1. "Profile of Kim Ki-deok" (in Korean). Cine21, The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  2. Interview with Kim Ki-Duk & Jung Suh
  3. "23rd Moscow International Film Festival (2001)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
  4. Rose, Steve (2004-08-02). "'I've done a lot of cruelty to animals'". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  5. McKeague, Andy (2005-05-11). "An Interview with Kim Ki-Duk and Suh Jung on The Isle". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  6. Chung, Prof. Dr. Hye Seung (15 February 2012). Kim Ki-duk. Contemporary Film Directors, eds. Prof. Dr. Justus Nieland and Prof. Dr. Jennifer Fay. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. 16, 69. ISBN 9780252093791. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  7. Hyo-won, Lee. "South Korean Director Kim Ki-duk Sued for Alleged Violence on Set, Adding Unscripted Sex Scene". Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  8. Hyo-won, Lee (March 6, 2018). "South Korean Director Kim Ki-duk Sued for Alleged Violence on Set, Adding Unscripted Sex Scene". The Hollywood Reporter.
  9. Rose, Steve (March 7, 2018). "Three women accuse Korean director Kim Ki-duk of rape and assault". The Guardian.
  10. "Director Kim Ki-duk faces more sexual abuse allegations". Yonhap News. March 9, 2018.
  11. Eun-byel, Im (June 13, 2018). "Kim Ki-duk fires back at accusers". The Korea Herald.
  12. Kil, Sonia (January 4, 2019). "Court Dismisses Kim Ki-duk Case Against Actress, TV Show". Korea Herald.
  13. "South Korean star director Kim Ki-duk, accused of sexual abuse, sues women's rights group". The Japan Times. March 7, 2019.
  14. "Measuring life through its seasons".
  15. "Kim Ki-Duk's MOEBIUS Reportedly First Film Selected For Venice Competition". Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  16. "Lee Won-geun to star in Kim Ki-duk's "Net" with Ryoo Seung-beom". Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  17. "Scandal-ridden director Kim Ki-duk's newest film screened at Cannes". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2019.


  • Seveon, Julien (2003). "An Interview with Korean Director Kim Ki-duk". Asian Cult Cinema. 38 (1st Quarter): 49–61.
  • MARTONOVA, A. (2004) Contemporary Korean cinema - production, tradition and… Kim Ki-Duk. - In: The Plum Blossom. Papers from Korean Studies Conference, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Centre for Eastern Languages and Cultures, Sofia: Ex-M, p. 129 – 151
  • MARTONOVA, (2012) A. To feel HAN (Arirang by Kim Ki-duk) // Kino, No.3, Sofia:p. 49-47, ISSN 0861-4393 [Да чувстваш ХАН („Ариран” на Ким Ки-док). — Original title in Bulgarian]
  • MARTONOVA, A. (2007) The hieroglyph of cinema. Aesthetics and meaning in East Asia movies. Sofia: Panorama Publishing House, 242 pages, ISBN 978 954 9655 31 5 (in Bulgarian)
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