South Korean Director Hong Sang-soo Wins Berlin Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize

South Korean Director Hong Sang-soo won Berlin Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize For His New Film “A Traveler’s Needs”

A Traveler’s Needs is Hong’s 31st feature film. The film tells the story of Iris, a French immigrant to South Korea who teaches French to two Korean women and finds serenity in the midst of her hard life by having rice wine. French actress Isabelle Huppert, a two-time Best Actress winner at the Cannes Film Festival, portrays Iris, marking the third time she has worked with Hong after In Another Country (2012) and Claire’s Camera (2017). Actress Kim Min-hee is credited as the head of production on A Traveler’s Need.

Who Is Hong Sang-soo?

Photo by Yonhap News

Hong Sang-soo (1960) is a South Korean film director and screenwriter. He made his debut in 1996 with the film “The Day a Pig Fell into a Well.” He enrolled in the Department of Theater and Film at Chung-Ang University, but dropped out after one year and moved to the United States to complete his undergraduate studies at California Institute of the Arts and received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is known for using his films to express everyday language and conversations, human desires, and the intimate dynamics and emotions of relationships, especially between men and women.

He is also known for his improvisational and creative directing. He sometimes writes the lines for the scenes he’s shooting that day in the morning and shares them with his actors. He also incorporates the actors’ real-life speech patterns, personalities, and habits into their characters. In a press conference at a previous Berlin International Film Festival, he said, “When I start shooting, I don’t have an overall idea of the structure or narrative. I start with a few things I want to do, and then I see what happens, how I react, and what comes out of that reaction. Life is beyond any kind of generalization. When I make a movie, I take away all generalizations, genre techniques, effects, and more. I just open myself up and trust myself.”

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