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Hong Sang-soo wins third Silver Bear at Berlinale with ‘Introduction’

The Berlin International Film Festival announces “Introduction” by Hong Sang-soo as the winner of the Silver Bear for best screenplay (screenshot of Berlinale)
The Berlin International Film Festival announces “Introduction” by Hong Sang-soo as the winner of the Silver Bear for best screenplay (screenshot of Berlinale)

Director Hong Sang-soo won the Silver Bear for best screenplay at the Berlin International Film Festival for his 25th feature film, “Introduction,” on Friday.

The three-part movie, starring Shin Seok-ho, Park Mi-so and Kim Min-hee, revolves around a young man named Young-ho’s journey to visit his father, his lover and his mother.

“More than telling a story, or advancing a narration with efficiency, this script fabricates those momentary intervals between one action and another, where, for an instant, a hidden truth of human life is suddenly revealed, bright and lucid,” said the jury regarding the film.

The 71st Berlin fest, held online this year due to COVID-19, concluded its five-day run with the announcement of the winners and uploaded acceptance videos by the winners Friday.

“I heard the news about this prize and I was surprised and happy. I would like to thank the jury for their appreciation for the film. I was happy to read the jury statement,” said Hong in his online acceptance speech.

While other recipients of the awards showed their face and spoke to the camera, Hong was the only one who just showed the English text of his speech. He also showed a video of a snail with his partner Kim Min-hee singing “Que Sera Sera” in the background.

“I found this young snail a long time ago while on a walk with Kim Min-hee around our place and I wanted to show this snail as a small present to you all. It’s a hard time. Take care, take a good care of yourselves,” said Hong.
“Introduction” by director Hong Sang-soo (Jeonwonsa Film)
“Introduction” by director Hong Sang-soo (Jeonwonsa Film)

This is the second consecutive year that Hong has won a Silver Bear at the festival, and the third his films have received. He won the Silver Bear for best director for “The Woman Who Ran” last year while Kim Min-hee won the Silver Bear for best actress in 2017 with Hong’s “On the Beach at Night Alone.”

Hong and actor Kim have worked on several films together and are also romantically involved, although Hong remains legally married to his wife after losing a divorce suit in 2019. Kim is also the production manager for “Introduction.”

“Introduction,” is scheduled for local theatrical release in the first half of this year.

Meanwhile, the Golden Bear for best film went to “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn” by Romanian film director Radu Jude and produced by Ada Solomon. The film revolves around school teacher Emi whose career is under threat as she faces angry parents after her personal sex tape is leaked in the internet.

The Silver Bear grand jury prize went to “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” by Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi that is comprised of three short stories revolving around a woman while the Silver Bear jury prize went to “Mr Bachmann and His Class” by director Maria Speth from Germany that documents the bond between an elementary school teacher and students in a provincial German industrial town. The best director prize went to Hungarian director Denes Nagy for novel-based World War II film “Natural Light.”

The awards ceremony will take place during the second part of the Berlinale called Summer Special, a cinema screening event for the public, which will be held June 9-20.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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