Mr. Im Kwon-taek is a celebrated film director from the Republic of Korea. His work has attracted worldwide attention, and he is regarded as one of the greatest Asian film masters.
Mr. Im was born in Changson, Chollanam-Do, Republic of Korea in 1936. As a boy, he experienced extreme hardship because of the ideological strife that swept across his homeland. He joined the film industry at the end of 1950's, and struggled his way up to become a director in 1962. Since then, he has made many films. At first, Mr. Im was considered a commercial filmmaker, but in the early 1970's, he began to attract attention as a director of artistic films. His "The Genealogy" (1978) and "Mandala" (1981), in particular, are highly appreciated for their extraordinarily sincere portrayal of the beauty of his people's national spirit. These two excellent films brought worldwide attention to the Korean cinema.
In the last two decades, Mr. Im's cinematography has grown increasingly sophisticated, and the content of his films has become more and more profound. He has received a number of awards at film festivals both at home and abroad, and a collection of his films has been featured at various venues throughout the world. His masterpieces, including "Gilsodom" (1985), "Adada" (1987), "Kae Byok" (1991), "Sopyonje" (1993), "The Taebaek Mountains" (1994), and "Festival" (1996), all depict the Republic of Korea's history of sufferings during the modern era. These films express the austere beauty of tradition, and celebrate a noble national spirit that was undaunted even during the country's most tragic times. Mr. Im's films draw on his personal experience of having lived through adversity, and demonstrate the deep warmth and compassion he feels for his compatriots. Such feelings, transformed into universal love for man and nature, are widely appreciated by his admirers throughout the world, and are often seen as a uniquely Asian artistic expression.
Mr. Im's work has made an immeasurable contribution not only to Korean cinema, but to the Asian cinema as well, and he is therefore particularly worthy of receiving the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.