Coming only three years after the Palme d’Or for “Parasite,” the two Cannes prizes for Park Chan-wook as best director and for Song Kang-ho as best actor are further proof of the strength of Korean cinema’s originality, its elevated skills and its resilience.
Korean movies have been temporarily overshadowed by K-pop and Korean TV dramas – think BTS and “Squid Game” – both of which flourished during the COVID era, while Korean film was struck down by the pandemic.
The film industry was not able to take full advantage of the multiple Oscar and Cannes wins in 2019 due to the closure of cinemas and disruptions to release schedules. “Parasite”And “Minari.” Korean film producers’ revenues crumbled between 2020 and early 2022. The streaming sector has attracted more talent from both behind and in front of the camera.
The Cannes prize for Park’s “Decision to Leave”It is especially satisfying for a small group of filmmakers. “Parasite”Director Bong JoonHo, who has engaged with streaming platforms but consider themselves filmmakers first.
This tight group of top names is made up of friends, not rivals. While they can be categorized as big-name auteurs with filmographies that make them out as writer-director-producers, the reality is more collegial. Park, Bong, his younger brother and a few other friends grew up supporting one another. And they continue to read each other’s scripts and share notes outside of the formal studio structure.
Saturday’s Cannes wins are also vindication for Korean entertainment giant CJ ENM, which was partly responsible for Korean culture’s modern incarnation, and which has been in the Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon Ho business for more than twenty years.
CJ ENM was a founder investor in DreamWorks SKG in 1995 and then found itself doubling down in the sector as a pioneer distributor in Korea and builder of the country’s first multiplex cinemas.
Having created the distribution capacity and exhibition infrastructure, the company found itself increasingly pulled into production and production finance, needing to keep the feature films flowing, meet the government’s content quotas and industrialize a business that barely existed a decade earlier.
CJ ENM is guided by Miky Lee, an eccentric totem. CJ ENM succeeds in this endeavor by trusting authors and adapting to the high standards of Korean audiences. It has grown with the talent, as the country’s creative industries emerged from the long shadow of military rule and replaced austerity with the ‘Korean Wave’K-cool.
CJ Entertainment was a producer of Park’s 2000 breakout film “Joint Security Area,”The financier for his stunning 2003 picture “Oldboy,” which won Cannes’ second prize, the Grand Prix. CJ was also aboard Bong’s second title “Barking Dogs Never Bite”His 2000 birthday “Memories of Murder”2003
CJ joined Bong’s futuristic team when he created it. “Snowpiercer”Train ride in 2013. It was one the most expensive Korean films ever made and the company had financial difficulties to pay for it.
The success of the English language has guided us. “Snowpiercer series,”CJ ENM, now in its fourth season is pursuing international TV ambitions. CJ ENM has made investments in Endeavor Content, Skydance Media, and Endeavor Content over the past two-years.
CJ must have felt just as satisfied, halfway through the Cannes Market for CJ’s record-breaking rights sales for its two feature film in competition. “Decision”(191 territories) “Broker” (171 territories).