Korean director’s ‘Safe’ is top short film at Cannes

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Korean director’s ‘Safe’ is top short film at Cannes

Despite not having any full-length features competing in this year’s Cannes International Film Festival, Koreans were made proud by Moon Byoung-gon’s win for his short film, “Safe.”

The film won the Palme d’Or for the Best Short Film as the 66th Festival de Cannes drew to an end on Sunday. Moon’s win marks the first in the short segments for a Korean director, although in 1999 Song Il-gon’s “Picnic” competed in the same category.

Moon’s 13-minute short revolves around an illegal gambling den and the exchanges that take place between a female college student, who exchanges the chips, and a gambling addict. The somber short has been described as a piece that looks at the dark side of living in a capitalistic society, in a world where people feel alienated and often lost.

“It’s all very surreal and hasn’t sunk in yet,” Moon told the JoongAng Ilbo after the ceremony.

About future endeavors, Moon said that he’d like to take on a theme that interests him.

“Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships and marriage,” joked Moon.

Although not a big shot in his native land, this is the second time that the 31-year-old Korean filmmaker’s work has been highlighted at the famed film fest on the Riviera; in 2011, his short, “Finis Operis,” was screened within the Critics’ Week segment.

With the spotlight on his latest work, the director said he would like to sell his short to foreign buyers.

Despite Moon’s victory, this year, unlike the last, clearly lacked Korean representation. Last year, directors Im Sang-soo, Hong Sang-soo, Yeun Sang-ho, Shin Su-won and Heo Jin-ho had their films screened.

Taking home the same honor as Moon, in the features segment was the Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche for his controversial film, “Blue Is the Warmest Colour.”

By Carla Sunwoo [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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