He sang Arirang, the folk song after which his recent autobiographical film was named. It was an unusual way for a director to thank the audience and judges at the Venice Film Festival, but Kim Ki-duk is an unusual filmmaker. His complex, often iconoclastic works have thrilled and alienated viewers in equal measure. Now he has won the Golden Lion for his latest film, Pieta.
Set among the Seoul working class from which Kim himself emerge, Pieta is a troubling film intended to prompt questions about the nature and necessity of capitalism. It set the tone for a challenging festival, with this year's Silver Lion going to Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, about a troubled war veteran who establishes himself as the head of a religious cult. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix shared the Best Actor prize for their work in the film, with Best Actress going to Hadas Yaron for this Israeli film Fill The Void.
The Lifetime Achievement award went to Francesco Rosi and the Glory To The Filmmaker award to Spike Lee.