LATVIA: World renowned South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk has passed away in Latvia on Friday, according to reports. The 59-year-old filmmaker, who was looking to buy property in order to get a residency permit in the Baltic country, is said to have died from COVID-19 complications.
According to the Latvian media, Kim Ki-duk had arrived in Latvia on November 20 with the hope of buying a house in the seaside town of Jurmala. When he didn’t show up for scheduled meetings, his colleagues raised concern and began searching for him in hospitals. But, the search was complicated by privacy protection laws.
Kim Ki-duk was born on December 20, 1960 in Bonghwa, South Korea. He studied fine arts in Paris from 1990 to 1993. After returning to South Korea, he began his career as a screenwriter and won the first prize in a scenario contest held by Korean Film Council in 1995. The very next year Kim made his debut as a director with Crocodile, which received sensational reviews from movie critics in South Korea.
The 2000 film The Isle which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival was a major international breakthrough for Kim. The same year his film Real Fiction entered into the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival. In 2004, he received Best Director awards at two different film festivals and for two different films. At the Berlin International Film Festival, he won it for Samaritan Girl. At the Venice Film Festival, he it won for 3-Iron.
One of the most famous Asian filmmakers in the world, Kim Ki-duk will perhaps be best remembered for his 2003 lyrical film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring. His films received many distinctions in the festival circuit. His major awards included 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.
South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk was a towering figure in world cinema. The world of movies will never be the same without him. But through his sui generis works of art-house cinema he will continue to stay with us forever.