South Korea's Song Kang-ho wins best actor prize in Cannes
CANNES, FRANCE (AFP) - South Korea's Song Kang-ho clinched the best actor prize in Cannes on Saturday (May 28) for his role in Broker about a woman dropping off an unwanted child in a "baby box" for adoption.
Song, who also starred in the global hit Parasite, plays a good-hearted "broker" trying to sell the infant to a loving family. It is Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's first Korean-language feature.
"I am very happy for my whole family," he said as he accepted the trophy at the gala ceremony on the French Riviera.
An actor who has become something of a national treasure, Song, 55, has starred in several of the divided country's greatest movies.
He has made four films with Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, including the 2006 monster flick The Host and Bong's first English-language film Snowpiercer, both of which were box office and critical smashes.
Starting his career on stage, Song made his first film appearance in 1996 in now-acclaimed director Hong Sang-soo's debut movie, The Day A Pig Fell Into The Well.
Since then, he has appeared in more than 30 films and worked with top South Korean filmmakers including Park Chan-wook, Kang Je-gyu and Lee Chang-dong.
British film magazine Screen called Broker "a sensitive and compassionate look at the market for unwanted children" while US movie website IndieWire said it was a "bittersweet and complex family drama".
Another South Korean winner at Canne on Saturday was film-maker Park Chan-wook, who took the festival's best director award for his erotic crime movie Decision To Leave.
Starring Chinese star Tang Wei and Korean actor Park Hae-il, Decision To Leave tells the story of a detective who, investigating a man's fatal fall from a mountain, comes under the spell of the victim's wife, whom he suspects of having caused her husband's death.
It was warmly received by Cannes audiences. The BBC called it a "cracking romantic thriller" and Screen said that "even without the extreme shock tactics of some of his earlier work, Park can craft a deeply satisfying and potentially commercial thriller".
The film's mesmerising soundtrack includes the Adagietto in Gustav Mahler's 5th Symphony, immortalised in the 1971 movie Death In Venice by Luchino Visconti.
Park's Cannes entry comes nearly two decades after his Oldboy won the festival's second-highest prize in 2004 and helped catapult South Korean cinema onto the global stage - years before Parasite, which won the 2019 Palme d'Or and best film at the 2020 Oscars.