Having always served as a meeting point, on August 13 the Locarno Film Festival will serve as a stage for two people who already met many years ago, and never parted ways after that. They are both winners: BONG Joon-ho, recipient of the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2019, and SONG Kang-ho, who will accept the Excellence Award of Locarno72.
The Korean director and actor, who have worked together four times, will meet the audience alongside someone who truly knows the Locarno crowd: Olivier Père. The head of Arte France Cinéma and former Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival will moderate the chat (August 13, Spazio Cinema, 1.30 PM) between the two people who took Cannes 2019 by storm with Parasite.
Working under BONG Joon-ho’s direction has been crucial in the development of SONG’s career, inducing him to reshape the lead role in a delicate balance between the centralizing figure of the head of the family and the hero unable to resolve his own destiny, typical of modern cinema. A fine example is provided by the unlucky provincial detective in Salinui chueok (Memories of Murder, 2003), their first, groundbreaking collaboration, but it was with the father in Gwoemul (The Host, 2006), a snack-bar owner plunged into confrontation with a monstrous creature, that they created one of the biggest hits in Korean box office history.
BONG Joon-ho and SONG Kang-ho continued working together for 2013’s Snowpiercer, based on the French sci-fi graphic novel Le Transperceneige, in which the Korean star more than held his own among a cast of global stars that included Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris. The South Koreans’ partnership has now been laurelled by the top prize at the 72nd Cannes Festival for Gisaengchung (Parasite, 2019), in which SONG once again plays a father, an affectionate loser in a money-driven society, who proves capable of turning himself into the phantom of the dignity of the oppressed. Parasite is currently going on theatrical release across Europe, so this summer is a perfect opportunity to see the movie and then meet the director and lead player in Locarno to join in a discussion of their work together.
The tribute to SONG Kang-ho will also be accompanied by screenings of several stand-out titles in his filmography: Banchikwang (The Foul King, 2000) by KIM Jee-woon, Boksuneun naui geot (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, 2002), the first film in the so-called revenge trilogy by PARK Chan-wook, and Salinui chueok (Memories of Murder, 2003) by BONG Joon-ho. The latter will be the late-night feature for “Crazy Midnight” in Piazza Grande on 12 August, when SONG will receive the Excellence Award in person.