Art and Experience: Korean Cinema Retrospective, the Busan Film Festival’s signature program that spotlights classic Korean filmmakers, gave belated recognition to genre film master Lee Doo-yong.
Best known for his Taekwondo action films and erotic satire comedy series “Mulberry,” Lee rose to fame in South Korea in mid-1970’s. Along with Im Kwon-taek, Lee was one of the very few Korean filmmakers in the 1980’s who were known internationally—he went to Venice with “The Hut” and to Cannes with “Spinning Tales of Cruelty Towards Woman.”
Though his name has largely been forgotten by the new generation filmmaking field in recent years, some of Korea’s prominent filmmakers including Park Chan-wook (“The Handmaiden”), Ryoo Seung-wan (“Veteran”) and Oh Seung-uk (“The Shameless”) have paid attention to Lee’s films and praised his acute editing skills and masculine action sequences.
Invited to speak on the stage at the Korean Cinema Retrospective Night party, the 74-year-old director expressed his gratitude to BIFF director Kang Soo-youn and chairman Kim Dong-ho for organizing a retrospective highlight for him at a time when the festival itself has been struggling.
“I will never forget tonight, it marks a very important moment in my life as a filmmaker,” said Lee, as he was dedicated a director’s chair. He was joined by a number of his fellow veteran Korean filmmakers such as Kim Soo-yong (“My Love”) and the elder Kim Ki-duk (“Eagle of Wild Field”) on the stage.
“Some may think that I see ahead too much, but I would say that tonight is a turning point in my filmmaking journey and that I would desperately like to continue making films as long as my brain works with no major problem,” Lee said.
4K remastered footages of Lee’s “The Last Witness” and “Hut” were unveiled at the party by the Korean Film Archive. Eight of Lee’s films, including “Witness” and “Hut,” are screened in the BIFF’s Korean Cinema Retrospective section.