CANNES: Korean film star, favorite actor of his compatriot Bong Joon-ho, Song Kang-Ho rose to international fame thanks to “Parasite”, Palme d’or 2019 and Oscar for best film, where he played a father of poor family who will implode a home of wealthy Koreans.
At 55, the actor took a further step by receiving the interpretation prize at Cannes on Saturday for his role in the film “The Good Stars” by Japanese director Kore-Eda. Visibly moved, he only thanked and greeted his whole family, present in part in the room.
In the film, he plays a debt-ridden man who discovers an abandoned baby and volunteers to find him a new family, in exchange for money.
The sale of the baby will turn into a trip between Busan and Seoul, in a decrepit van.
This is his second success at Cannes, after the Palme d’Or awarded to the Korean film “Parasite”.
Having become the most famous face of South Korean cinema, Song Kang-ho also returned to Cannes in July 2021, as a member of the jury chaired by Spike Lee.
This is his first collaboration with Kore-eda, a great analyst of the family and the links between parents and children. In “The Good Stars”, he imagined beings meeting fortuitously who recreate a form of family, this time around a baby abandoned in one of those boxes where mothers can leave their newborn.
The opportunity to wonder about blood ties, the consequences of abandonment, the pain of separations…
“It’s not the story, the theme or even the screenplay of +Bonnes étoiles+ that motivated me, but the very fact of working with him (Kore-eda). I really like his cinema, for his humanity , and for the love he has for his characters”, explained the actor in an interview with Paris Match.
In early May, Song Kang-ho told Seoul that he expected “meticulous and calculated” acting direction from Kore-eda. “But he really respected us and brought out our emotions in a way that was really free, caring and inexhaustible.”
The actor began his career on the boards in Korea, before breaking into the cinema in a small role in 1996, for which he was immediately noticed by Lee Chang-Dong, who made him play in his first film, “Green Fish”. (1997).
He then went on to Korean films, and became the favorite actor of several directors: Kim Jee-woon (“The Quiet Family”) then Park Chan-wook (“JSA” – Joint Security Area”, “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” , the first part of his revenge trilogy, and “Thirst, this is my blood”, a vampire film freely inspired by Émile Zola’s “Thérèse Raquin”).
With Bong Joon-ho, he played a policeman obsessed with a serial killer in the thriller “Memories of Murder”. He also shot under his direction in “The Host”, “Snowpiercer”… then “Parasite”.
“Song Kang-ho is such an expressive actor, whether it’s expressing tension, comedy or confusion,” Brian Hu, film professor at San Diego State University, told AFP recently.