K Drama

Cannes Film Festival: Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' To Song Kang-ho's 'Broker', Koreans Who Have Earned Accolades Over The Years

Here's a list of South Koreans that have won awards at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Koreans at Cannes Film Festival Photo: Instagram

As the Cannes Film Festival continues, attention is drawn to past achievements. South Korean cinema has captivated audiences all over the world with its compelling narratives, stellar performances, and remarkable storytelling. Over the years, many films, hailing from the South East Asian country, have garnered recognition at this esteemed film festival, along with accolades. Let’s have a look at which noteworthy movies have left an indelible mark.

1. ‘Painted Fire’

In 2002, Im Kwon-taek, often hailed as ‘the father of Korean cinema,’ took home the Best Director Award and secured the country’s first-ever trophy from Cannes with ‘Painted Fire.’

2. ‘Oldboy’

Park Chan-wook’s psychological thriller received widespread critical acclaim and international recognition, notably winning the Grand Prize, the second highest honour at Cannes in 2004.

3. ‘Secret Sunshine’

At the 60th edition in 2007, Jeon Do-yeon received the Best Actress Award for her performance in ‘Secret Sunshine,’ directed by Lee Chang-dong, making her the first Korean actress to win an acting award at the esteemed festival.

4. ‘Thirst’

In 2009, Park Chan-wook bagged yet another accolade at the film festival. But this time, it was with the horror movie ‘Thirst,’ which received the Jury Prize.

5. ‘Poetry’

After participating as a jury member at the 62nd edition of the festival, Lee Chang-dong walked away with the Best Screenplay Award the following year for ‘Poetry’ in 2010.

6. ‘Safe’

At the 66th edition in 2013, Moon Byoung-gon’s film ‘Safe’ won the Best Short Film Award, which is the highest prize given to a short film at the festival.

7. ‘Parasite’

Bong Joon-ho’s film won the highest prize, Palme d’Or, at the 2019 edition, becoming the first Korean film to achieve the feat. It also became part of an illustrious list of films that have won both the Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture in the same year, alongside classics like Billy Wilder’s ‘The Lost Weekend’ (1946) and Delbert Mann’s ‘Marty’ (1955).

8. ‘Decision To Leave’

In 2022, Park Chan-wook won the Best Director this time for his detective mystery, ‘Decision to Leave’ - his third accolade from Cannes. He is the second Korean director to clinch the honour at Cannes, following Im Kwon-taek.

9. ‘Broker’

Also in 2022, Song Kang-ho became the first Korean male actor to win the Best Actor Award for his role in ‘Broker,’ directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda.

Aside from these main competition films, several others have bagged accolades in independent sections.

Prix Un Certain Regard: Hong Sang-soo for ‘Hahaha’ in 2010 and Kim Ki-duk for ‘Arirang’ in 2011

FIPRESCI Award: Lee Chang-dong for ‘Burning’ in 2018

Vulcan Award: Ryu Seong-hee (Art Direction) for ‘The Handmaiden’ in 2016 and Shin Jeom-hee (Art Direction) for ‘Burning’ in 2018

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Award: Hirokazu Kore-eda for ‘Broker’ in 2022

While this year there aren’t any Korean films that are up for competition, there’s a handful that are being screened, including ‘I, Executioner,’ ‘Walking in the Movies,’ to name a few.