With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy 61st Birthday wishes to director/producer LEE Chang-dong!

LEE Chang-dong and myself at Asia Society NY a few years ago

Director, screenwriter, and producer LEE Chang-dong was born on July 4, 1954. He was a successful novelist before turning to screenwriting. His first contribution in that regard was to Park Kwang-su's To the Starry Island (1993). Green Fish (1997) marked his debut as a director. It's a very solid work about a young man who joins a gang of mobsters after he is released from the army.

His other films are Peppermint Candy (1999), Oasis (2002), Secret Sunshine (2007), and Poetry (2010). He has won numerous awards at various film festivals, as have those he has directed, including MOON So-ri (Oasis) and JEON Do-yeon (Secret Sunshine).

Since making Poetry, LEE has been concentrating on nurturing younger talent as a producer. He produced Joon-Hwan Jang's Hwayi: A Monster Boy (2013) and July Jung's film debut A Girl at My Door (2014), which stars BAE Doona and was a huge hit at Cannes.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing him twice, first by email, then in person. I also saw him in person on two other occasions.

As I've written on more than one occasion, I regard LEE as one of the great directors in world cinema. In my opinion, Oasis, Secret Sunshine, and Poetry will hold their own in comparisons with the best works of the greatest international driectors: Ozu, Kurosawa, Fellini, Antonioni, Truffaut, etc.

So, Happy Birthday wishes to you, director LEE. May you have many more.

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