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South Korean director Kim Jee-woon received the Arts and Letters Officer’s decoration for his contribution to the arts at the French Night party on Oct. 6, during the Busan International Film Festival.

Best-known for his Korean Western “The Good, the Bad, the Weird,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, Kim launched his career with 1998 feature “The Quiet Family,” and continued with 2000’s “The Foul King,” 2003 horror drama “A Tale of Two Sisters,” 2005’s “A Bittersweet Life” and two Warner Bros. Korea releases — 2016’s “The Age of Shadows” and 2018’s “Illang: The Wolf Brigade.” “Illang” is screening at Busan’t Korean Cinema Today — Panorama section. In 2013, Kim  made his U.S. directorial debut with Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring “The Last Stand.”

While much has been written about Kim, here are some things that might have been overlooked:

  • Kim started his career as a stage director and actor. He had a role in musical “Guys and Dolls” in 1983.
  • Kim started writing film scripts for money in 1996 because he was in a car accident and had to pay for the repairs, which amounted to KRW 6 million ($5,300).
  • Kim has never casted his older sister, who is a veteran actress, for any of his his films.
  • Kim stayed in Paris for three months in 1991 and watched about 100 films during Cahiers du Cinéma’s 40-year anniversary film festival.

Other figures in Korean cinema that have been by the French government include former Busan chairman Kim Dong-ho, directors Hong Sang-soo (“Grass”) and Bong Joon-ho (“Okja”) and actress Jeon Do-yeon (“The Shameless”).