Kim Ki-duk bags grand prize at French film festival

He won the prize for his film "The Net," also known as "Between Two Shores," about a North Korean fisherman, played by actor Ryoo Seung-bum, whose boat drifts to South Korea.

Actor Ryoo Seung-bum in 'The Net'
Actor Ryoo Seung-bum in 'The Net' KOFIC

Controversial Korean film director Kim Ki-duk bagged the grand prize at the first Festival Du Film Politique or Political Film Festival held in Porto-Vecchio, France.

He won the prize for his film "The Net," also known as "Between Two Shores," about the North Korean fisherman played by actor Ryoo Seung-bum whose boat drifts to South Korea.

"A fisherman breaks his boat engine by accident and drifts down to South Korea. After enduring many brutal investigations, he eventually gets sent back to North Korea," according to the film's description on the Korean Film Council website.

It added, "But before leaving South Korea, he sees how developed the country is and the contrasting dark sides of it. He realizes that economic development does not spell happiness for the people."

Organizers of the film festival said the event is intended to be long-term, saying, "On its scale, political cinema is part of this wishful thinking: by appealing to other senses than just the intellect, call it intuition, poetry or laughter, it makes everyone understand - through images who move - the stakes that govern our lives, that it criticizes the dysfunctions of society or alert us to the excesses of the powerful."

"The Net" won the best Asian film award at the 37th Oporto International Film Festival in Portugal.

Last August, Kim Ki-duk was accused by an actress of hitting her and forcing her to film a sex scene for the movie "Mobieus" released in 2013.

The director explained that "on the first day, the first shoot featured a husband and wife who were in an intense fight due to the husband's cellphone. It was four years ago so I do not remember well, but in my memory, I myself was in the scene and might have hit the actress while following the viewpoint or hit myself."

Women's rights activists and movie workers also denounced Kim Ki-duk for violence, saying "Is this a case where (the accuser) can just say he's sorry and be done with it? The mere fact that Kim considers an apology to be adequate shows how idle he is in dealing with this case. He has to be held liable, legally."