[ENTERTAINMENT]Actress of Film's Past Explores the Future

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Actress of Film's Past Explores the Future

"I often watched two or three films a day when I lived in Paris," said the veteran actress Yun Chung-hi. Fritz Lang and Ingmar Bergman were among her favorites. Yun, who now lives in Paris with her pianist husband Paik Kun-woo, was recently in Korea to attend the Busan International Film Festival as a juror. Yun is one of the most important actresses of Korean cinema and has appeared in more than 300 films since her debut in 1967.

"I do have big expectations about Korean cinema like everyone else," she said, "but I must admit that there aren't yet many films which are up to standard. I notice that many movies look slick, but are merely pretentious."

Ms. Yun disregards mainstream commercial films, especially those that pretend to be philosophical but are mostly about sex. "It is sad to see directors who should be leading the way falling into this kind of pattern," she said.

"Directors should never sell out. Those films may seem to be deep and philosophical on the outside, but sooner or later their true colors are bound to be revealed. In that sense, some Korean directors are overrated."

Yun, however, also has many positive opinions about the Korean film industry. She feels the need to support young directors actively. "Hong Sang-soo ('The Power of Kangwon Province') has a film language all of his own. He will definitely become an eminent director. Hur Jin-ho, director of 'Christmas in August,' and Lee Jeong-hyang of 'Art Museum by the Zoo' are two more directors with promising futures. And who was it who directed 'Barking Dogs Never Bite?' Was it Bong Jun-ho? I can't wait for his new film."

Having been a big star herself, the conversation naturally led to actresses on screen today. "Actresses nowadays have little individuality," Yun said. "Sometimes I get them mixed up, because they all look alike."

But when our talk turned to Shim Eun-ha, Yun's voice became animated. Shim Eun-ha drew media attention recently when, at the last moment, she broke off marriage plans with a much older president of a company. "I am well aware of her troubles," said Yun, "but she really is a priceless actress. Someone should encourage her to come back to the screen. I guess no one around her is capable of that..." Her voice changed, sounding almost impatient.

"I understand what Shim must be going through right now. She must feel bothered and probably doesn't want to resume acting. I was once vexed by a strange rumor myself. But, I am glad I made the choice then to continue my acting career," Yun concluded. The actress was once rumored to have been the mistress of then-president Park Chung Hee.

"A talented actress like Shim Eun-ha must be encouraged to keep on acting for the community of Korean cinema. Do you think I should step forward and try to convince her?" She made the joke with a laugh, but her affection toward the younger actress was earnest.

"Oh, and we should not let Cheon Do-yeon go. She is an actress overflowing with flair. Her image transformations from 'Contact' to 'Harmonium in My Memory' to 'Happy End' are just stunning." Ms. Yun's passion about acting seems to be undimmed with time.

To her, she says, an actor's job is to go inside another person and expand the individual. Actors are artists who make up worlds, just like novelists and composers. "You will never know unless you try."

Yun hopes to participate in an upcoming film festival with an entry of her own. It's been a while, though; Yun Chung-hi's last performance was in "Manmubang" in 1995.

by Byun Sun-goo

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