One of the most controversial Korean directors, Kim Ki-duk is a self-taught filmmaker who prides himself on his outsider status, openly setting himself apart from contemporaries like Hong Sang-soo and Lee Chang-dong, who he considers too intellectual. Kim’s films have drawn vitriol for their subject matter and praise for their technique, and he has often been compared to his predecessor Kim Ki-young, who was also self-taught and whose films bear a much less brutal, but equally eccentric, personal stamp. Born in a mountainous village, Kim moved with his family to Seoul at the age of nine. During his teenage years he dropped out of school and worked in factories, and at the age of 20, he began a five-year stint in the marines, the toughest and most demanding branch of the Korean military. These early experiences would inspire the gritty milieu and dim view of human relationships that characterize his films. A painter since childhood, Kim went to France in 1990, where he studied art and… read more
Kim's intelligence is matched only by his rage; this is nearly anticinema, e.g. the gloppy "movie music" accompanying nightmarish scenes. Moreover, it's not as easy as blaming Kim's rage on "history" or "society" and moving comfortably on. He's one of the rare directors whose love of film goes hand in hand with a hatred of the lies that film inadvertently supports, mainly that life is even worth filming.