Kim Ki-Duk dies

Director suffered complications of Covid-19

by Jennie Kermode

Kim Ki-duk
Kim Ki-duk

Kim Ki-Duk, one of South Korea's most acclaimed directors, whose work was fundamental in attracting international attention to its modern cinematic output, has died at the age of 59. He was hospitalised in Riga after travelling to Latvia to buy a house in the coastal town of Jumala, and passed away from complications of Covid-19.

According to Variety, Kim had been intending to move to the country and shoot a film in neighbouring Estonia.

Working on tiny budgets in order to preserve his independence, Kim produced films which were striking in their individuality, often tackling difficult or controversial subjects, or simply breaking the unspoken rules of cinema. He was known for creating intense character interactions with very little dialogue, for breaking cultural taboos and for using shockingly violent imagery. The Isle and 3-Iron dealt with sadomasochistic romances, Samaritan Girl and Bad Guy explored exploitation in sex work, and Moebius and Pieta took on issues around incestuous desire. The director told something of his own story in 2011's Arirang, which won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes..

Kim won numerous film festival awards over the course of his career. Alongside his work as a director, he was a skilled cinematographer and a writer. In the latter capacity he was known for his generosity, giving scripts away to directors whose careers he wished to advance.

Despite his artistic achievements, Kim has a troubled reputation within the acting community. In recent years he was subject to several accusations of sexual assault and in one case he was issued with a fine. He never directly responded to the claims but in one case he sued on the basis of false accusation. He did acknowledge that several of his films had involved animal cruelty, saying that it was something he would always regret.

Share this with others on...
News

Bacri - 'flawless' mover and shaker of French cinema Partner of Agnès Jaoui bows out after struggle with illness

Stay-At-Home Seven: January 18 to 23 - Television and streaming picks for the week ahead

Why French cinema remains alive and well UniFrance head reflects on reactions to the virtual Paris Rendez-vous

Streaming Spotlight: archaeology on film Seven great films about digging up the past

Remembering Michael Apted Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Anne-Katrin Titze on the much admired director

OFCS awards nominations announced Da 5 Bloods leads charge

More news and features

We're looking forward to this year's Glasgow Film Festival.



We've recently covered New Directors/New Films andTallinn Black Nights, DOC NYC, Sheffield DocFest, the London Korean Film Festival, Welsh horror festival Abertoir, New York's Newfest, the October edition of Frightfest, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.



Read our full for more.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

More competitions coming soon.