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Director, actor of Cannes-winning 'Parasite' awarded cultural medal

Director Bong Joon-ho and actor Song Kang-ho of Cannes-winning film "Parasite" were awarded national cultural medals for their contributions to the promotion of the Korean film industry, the South Korean government said Thursday.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that it gave the Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit, the second highest class of the South Korean cultural decoration, to Bong and the fourth-highest Okgwan medal to Song during a ceremony held at the National Theater of Korea in central Seoul.


Bong's seventh feature, "Parasite," starring Song, won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Korea-made film to clinch the highest prize at the world-renowned cinematic competition.

The black comedy-thriller, which depicts the entrenched social class divisions through two extreme families, has also emerged as a candidate for best international feature film of the Academy Awards.

"Director Bong has contributed to improving the status of Korean film on the international stage thanks to his critically acclaimed and commercially successful features, including 'Barking Dogs Never Bite,' 'Memories of Murder,' 'The Host,' 'Mother' and 'Snowpiercer,'" the ministry said in a release.

It also credited Song for his role in developing the Korean film industry on the back of a series of box office-hit movies, like "The Host," "Snowpiercer," "The Attorney" and "A Taxi Driver."

Kim Ki-duk, who won the Golden Lion award for "Pieta" at Venice film festival in 2012, received the Eungwan medal in the same year, while Park Chan-wook was given the third-grade Bogwan decoration in 2004 for winning the Cannes' No. 2 prize for "Oldboy." (Yonhap)