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Deauville Asia honors Korean duo

Hong Sang-soo, Kim Jee-woon to present retros

BRUSSELS — Hong Sang-soo and Kim Jee-woon take centerstage at the Deauville Asian Film Festival, which opens March 9 in the French seaside town.

The Korean helmers are the fest’s guests of honor, each attending to present retrospectives of his work.

Hong is well-liked in France, his interest in affairs of the heart and his visual style reminding locals of New Wave icon Eric Rohmer.

Deauville will show 11 of his features, from 1996 debut “The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well” through to last year’s “Ha Ha Ha” and “Oki’s Movie.”

Kim’s “The Good the Bad the Weird” secured an out-of-competition berth at Cannes in 2008. The seven-film selection concludes with last year’s “I Saw the Devil.”

Ten features compete for the fest’s Lotus prizes, including opening film “Norwegian Wood” by Tran Anh Hung, a Japanese production based on Haruki Murakami’s novel.

With three other pics in competition, Japan is the strongest national presence. Other films are “Birthright” by Naoki Hashimoto, “Cold Fish” by Sono Sion and “Sketches of Kaitan City” by Kazuyoshi Kumakiri.

They are up against two of this year’s winners from the Asia-friendly Rotterdam Film Festival: Thai helmer Sivaroj Kongsakul’s “Eternity” and “The Journals of Musan” by Park Jung-bum of South Korea.

Jury, headed by Israeli helmer Amos Gitai, will bestow its kudos March 13.

Fest also includes a separate competition for action movies, with five contenders including Woo-ping Yuen’s “True Legend,” and a panorama of other productions from across Asia.