Director Yoon Dae-woen wins 2nd prize in Cinefondation section at Cannes

Director Yoon Dae-woen wins 2nd prize in Cinefondation section at Cannes

Director Yoon Dae-woen, second from left, poses along with other filmmakers Theo Degen (left), Carina-Gabriela Dasoveanu and Rodrigo Ribeyro, after being awarded the 2021 Cinefondation prizes during a ceremony held in the Bunuel Theatre, Friday (CET). Courtesy of the Festival de Cannes

Korean actors take part in the award as presenter, jury

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Although no Korean titles competed for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, director Yoon Dae-woen’s short film, “Cicada,” won the second prize in the Cinefondation Selection, signaling a bright future for Korean films.

The Cinefondation Selection was launched in 1988 as part of a search for talented new filmmakers.

Yoon’s 17-minute-long film, “Cicada,” which was his graduation project from the Korea National University of Arts, revolves around a transgender sex worker named Chang-hyun, who works on Sowol-gil, a street on Mount Nam. The film follows one strange night in the protagonist’s life and likens the experience to that of a cicada coming out of its shell to full maturity.

The 30-year-old director’s film competed with 16 other student films, chosen out of 1,835 entries coming from 490 film schools around the world.

The first prize went to Belgian director Theo Degen for his short film, “The Salamander Child,” while the third prize was given to Romanian director Carina-Gabriela Dasoveanu for “Love Stories on the Move” and Brazilian director Rodrigo Ribeyro for “Cantareira.”

“I was careful about covering this subject matter because it can be viewed as provocative. However, I’ve always wanted to make a film focused on tension and drama,” Yoon, 30, said after winning the prize.

Previously, Yoon won awards at the Catholic Film Festival and Korea Youth Film Festival in 2020 with his short film, “Bird Cage.”

Korean feature films failed to get accepted into Cannes’ main competition, but two actors made a splash by attending the closing ceremony.

Director Yoon Dae-woen wins 2nd prize in Cinefondation section at Cannes

Actor Lee Byung-hun, left, poses with Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve after she was awarded with the Best Actress Prize for her role in “The Worst Person In The World,” during the closing ceremony of the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, Saturday (CET). AFP-Yonhap

Lee Byung-hun, whose new film, “Emergency Declaration,” received 10 minutes of applause at Cannes, presented the Best Actress Award in French at the closing ceremony on Saturday. He was the second Korean to appear as a presenter at the world’s most coveted film festival, following renowned director Park Chan-wook in 2017.

“This year’s festival is very special to me. Director Bong Joon-ho, who made opening remarks at Cannes, and actor Song Kang-ho, who is a member of the jury, are my close colleagues. The jury president, Spike Lee, and I share the same last name,” he laughed.

Director Han Jae-rim’s thriller, “Emergency Declaration,” concerning a bioterror attack that occurs inside a U.S.-bound airliner, was invited to Cannes’ Out of Competition category.

“Parasite” star Song Kang-ho attended the festival as a member of the competition jury, along with U.S. filmmaker Spike Lee, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim.

Song became the fifth Korean to join a Cannes jury following late director Shin Sang-ok in 1994, director Lee Chang-dong in 2009, actress Jeon Do-yeon in 2014 and director Park in 2017.

Auteur Hong Sang-soo’s “In Front of Your Face,” which a critic described as “his best film in many years,” was selected in the Cannes Premiere section, a new category dedicated to works from well-established filmmakers. This film is Hong’s 11th to be invited to Cannes.

Meanwhile, French director Julia Ducournau’s horror thriller, “Titane,” won the Palme d’Or, becoming the second female director to win the festival’s top honor in its 74-year history.

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