Hong and Kim confess their love

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Hong and Kim confess their love

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Filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, left, and actress Kim Min-hee talk about their relationship and their new film “On the Beach at Night Alone” for which the actress took home the Silver Bear for the Best Actress award in the Berlin International Film Festival last month, at a press conference in Gwangjin District, eastern Seoul, on Monday. [JOONGANG ILBO]

Nine months after the scandal broke, filmmaker Hong Sang-soo and actress Kim Min-hee ended their silence and acknowledged being in a relationship at their first public appearance in Korea.

Hong, 57, and Kim, 34, attended a press conference in Gwangjin District, eastern Seoul, on Monday to promote their film “On the Beach at Night Alone,” for which the actress took home the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin International Film Festival last month.

“I’m not sure whether this is the right thing to say here, but the two of us are currently in love, and we believe we earnestly love each other,” said the filmmaker, a married man, when asked about their relationship.

“At first, I didn’t feel the need to respond to news media’s interest about us because it’s a personal matter,” he continued. But he had interviews with foreign media overseas, he said, so he felt it was not justified to avoid local reporters.

“So, now that I have made a film, I thought it is time to meet media,” Hong said. “The personal matter is what we should take responsibility for. I just hope you will focus on the film.”

The actress shortly but firmly acknowledged their relationship.

“We value our relationship,” Kim, unmarried, said. “We love each other with full sincerity and we humbly accept everything that is placed ahead of us.”

When asked about her career and intentions on working with directors other than Hong, Kim gave vague answers.

“I don’t have a specific purpose or plan, and I’m satisfied with the work that I’m doing.” Kim added, “For me, working with director Hong Sang-soo right now is very valuable.”

As much as “On the Night Beach Alone” centers on a talented actress who is taking a break from her screen career to pursue an affair with an older, married director, many speculated whether it is the couple’s autobiographical film. But Hong, who also wrote the script, firmly dismissed these speculations.

“Though I may add personal [experience] into little details, I don’t make autobiographical films,” he said. “I think making autobiographical films is impossible. I don’t think I will ever make one.”

But he also added that he would not care whether people perceive it to be autobiographical.

When asked about the public criticism about the relationship, Hong, who is a father and is currently divorcing his wife, said, “It is natural for everyone to have different attitudes and opinions. Even those who have different opinions from me, I should respect them, as long as they don’t directly harm me or violate the law.”

The couple’s scandal generated great buzz when it broke in June.

The two are currently working for another movie titled “Claire’s Camera.”

The film, which also puts Kim at the center, revolves around a part-time high school teacher who is also a writer.

This will be the couple’s third film after “Right Now, Wrong Then” (2015) and “On the Beach at Night Alone,” slated for release on March 23rd and is rated R.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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