By Diana Cheng
AAP Film & Arts Writer
Renowned South Korean director Hong Sangsoo won the prestigious Silver Berlin Bear for Best Director at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) on Saturday, February 29, 2020, with his latest feature, “The Woman Who Ran”.
Hong’s win comes on the heels of his fellow countryman Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” being crowned Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards three weeks ago. Bong also garnered Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Film at the Oscars in Hollywood. “Parasite” began its winning streak with its Palme d’Or award at Cannes 2019.
With his Berlinale win, Hong has firmed up South Korea’s reputation in the international film circuit. The prolific director himself is no stranger to film awards. “The Woman Who Ran” is Hong’s 24th feature and is nominated for the Golden Bear Best Picture at Berlinale this year.
Three years ago, Hong’s feature “On The Beach At Night Alone” was a nominee of the Golden Berlin Bear at Berlinale 2017, with the director’s muse and off-screen partner Kim Min-hee winning the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Actress. And at the Cannes Film Festival, Hong has been an award nominee multiple times since 1998 and was the winner in 2010 for the Un Certain Regard Award for his film “Hahaha”.
It has been announced on March 3 that the New York City based distributor Cinema Guild has acquired the U.S. distribution rights for Hong’s “The Woman Who Ran”. The film will be coming soon to U.S. viewers.
The Golden Berlin Bear for Best Film at Berlinale 2020 goes to Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s “There Is No Evil”. Rasoulof was absent at the awards ceremony in Berlin when his feature was honored with the top prize.
“There Is No Evil” is a brave revealing of the capital punishment system in the repressive Iranian regime. Rasoulof is banned by the Iranian government and is facing a jail sentence. His courage, nevertheless, is rewarded when his film was awarded the Golden Berlin Bear Best Film by the International Jury headed by Jeremy Irons.
Rasoulof’s previous feature “A Man Of Integrity” reveals a corrupt societal system on a personal scale. It won the Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival in 2017, among numerous other accolades.