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KI Joo-bong Earns Best Actor in Locarno for HOTEL BY THE RIVER

Aug 21, 2018
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
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Veteran Actor in the Midst of a Memorable Year

Veteran actor KI Joo-bong has earned the coveted Best Actor Award from the recently concluded 71st Locarno International Film Festival. He earned the prize for his leading role in Hong Sangsoo’s most recent indie drama Hotel by the River, which saw the auteur return to the competition section of the Swiss festival.

A well-known screen actor for over 40 years, KI has been seen in a wealth of indie and commercial titles over the years. He has collaborated with Hong frequently and is currently experiencing a particularly notable year. He earned the Best Actor Prize from the Wildflower Film Awards for Merry Christmas Mr. Mo (2017) and is drawing raves for his cameo as former North Korean leader KIM Jong-il in the hit espionage drama The Spy Gone North, which bowed in the Midnight Screenings section of the Cannes Film Festival this spring.

The black and white drama Hotel by the River features KI as an aging poet who spends time in a secluded hotel by the Han river, which is also inhabited by a woman, played by KIM Min-hee, who is getting over a love affair. The poet invites his grown-up sons to meet him there.

Director Hong, who also released this year the film Grass, movie that debuted in the Forum section of the Berlin International Film Festival in February, has been a frequent presence at Locarno this past decade. In 2013, he earned the Silver Leopard for Best Director there for his film Our Sunhi (2013) and in 2015 he became the first Korean filmmaker to earn the event’s top prize, the Golden Leopard, for Right Now, Wrong Then (2015), which also earned the Best Actor Award for JUNG Jae-young.
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