Song became the first Asian actor to earn the Swiss film fest's special award that goes to actors or actresses whose work and talent have contributed to enriching the cinema industry.
Internationally acclaimed silver-screen stars like Susan Sarandon, John Malkovich, Edward Norton, Bill Pullman and Ethan Hawke are among the past laureates.
"It's an honor to receive this great, meaningful award from the time-honored Locarno Film Festival," Song said in an awards ceremony held Monday (local time) at Palexpo hall in Locarno, Switzerland. "I'm so grateful that this place is filled with traces of many world renowned actors and actresses."
Song said he wants to attribute this glory to director Bong Joon-ho, who chose him in a number of acclaimed films, including the Cannes-winning "Parasite" and "Memories of Murder."
"Recalling my 30-year-long career as an actor, it's a truly honorable time. I've worked with great Korean auteurs, including Lee Chang-dong, Park Chan-wook and Kim Jee-woon," he said. "In particular, I want to give this trophy to Bong Joon-ho, who is my longtime friend and the greatest and proudest artist in South Korea."
Bong, who became the first South Korean film director to win the highest Palme d'Or prize with the comedy satire "Parasite" at the Cannes Film Festival in May, thanked the actor for being with him.
"We've made four films together. I wouldn't have made them without Song. I really appreciate his contribution," the director said.
Making his cinema debut with "The Day a Pig Fell into the Well" in 1996, the 52-year-old Song rose to international stardom with a series of critically acclaimed works and box-office hits, including "Joint Security Area" (2000), "Memories of Murder" (2003), "The Host" (2006) and "Snowpiercer" (2013). (Yonhap)