First Korean to win the Best Actor at Cannes: The “National Treasure” of Korean film industry used to failed countless time due to his appearance

Actor Song Kang Ho just received the Best Actor award at the recent Cannes Film Festival, earning him the title of an “award fairy”.

The final results of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival are finally announced. With his role in the movie Broker, Song Kang Ho became the first Korean actor in history to win an individual award at Cannes. This award is like a golden milestone in the extremely impressive career of this “national treasure of the Korean film industry”.

From a rookie actor struggling with his “underwhelming” appearance to a go-to name of talented directors

song kang ho

In the Korean film industry, an eye-catching appearance is a huge advantage. However, Song Kang Ho does not have that privilege compared to other Korean Wave stars of the same generation as him. He has a simple appearance with a large face, monolid eyes, and his features are even considered rough and not suitable for the male lead role. Because of this “weakness”, Song Kang Ho met a lot of difficulties in the early years of his career. He started his career by acting in small roles at theater groups before auditioning for movies but was often rejected even for sub roles.

After relentless efforts, in 1996, the opportunity finally came to Song Kang Ho when he was invited by director Hong Sang Soo to play a supporting role in his debut work. Soon after, he had the opportunity to collaborate with two more directors, Lee Chang Dong and Kim Jee Woon. Coincidentally, now, after many years, they have all become famous and talented directors of the Korean film industry.

song kang ho

With a superior acting ability, Song Kang Ho’s talent was gradually recognized and he was officially offered his first lead role in the movie “Joint Security Area” by talented director Park Chan Wook, who also recently won the Best Director award at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. In 2002, Song Kang Ho first collaborated with director Bong Joon Ho in the legendary crime movie of the Korean film industry – Memories Of Murder (2003). This film has brought Song Kang Ho a series of great awards and opened his door to the journey of conquering all limits of the film industry as a part of the powerful duo Bong Joon Ho – Song Kang Ho.

song kang ho
Bong Joon Ho – Song Kang Ho

Song Kang Ho once shared, “There is a director that I will never turn down any of his offers no matter how busy I am, and that is Bong Joon Ho.”

The “Chameleon” that dominated the Korean box office

song kang ho

Song Kang Ho is a rare actor who can transform into many characters with many different personalities, thanks to his appearance. In his career ‘til now, he has never set a limit for himself, always ready to try and renew himself through different types of roles. The Korean press calls Song Kang Ho “a man of many faces” or a “chameleon” of contemporary Korean film industry.

song kang ho

In the top 50 best films of the Korean box office, 10 of them have the participation of Song Kang Ho, including ‘Memories Of Murder’ (5.1 million tickets – the highest in 2003), ‘The Attorney’ (11.37 million tickets), ‘Snowpiercer’ (9.3 million tickets), ‘The Face Reader’ (9.1 million tickets), ‘Taxi Driver’ (nearly 12.2 million tickets),… Other movies that he took part in like ‘Parasite’, ‘The Age of Shadows’, ‘Secret Sunshine’, ‘Thirst’ and ‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’… also attracted millions of people to the cinema. Although these works are all of heavy genres such as history, crimes,… Song Kang Ho’s films almost never lose their top place.

song kang ho
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