In Focus: Kim Ki-duk Firsts

Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival is going to present an exclusive retrospective of Kim Ki-duk's earliest works. The legendary South Korean director passed away in 2020, without finishing his last work, "Call of God". However, the film screened at PÖFF 2022 in the Critic's Picks program.

Kim Ki-duk (1960-2020) was one of South Korea's most-awarded film directors who sadly passed away from complications of Covid-19. It is no exaggeration to mention that Ki-duk's philosophical approach to the world gave many film fans their first glimpse of Asia's metaphorical cinematic language.

This year, HÕFF is going to present a 3-piece retrospective of Kim Ki-duk's early works from his pre-breakthrough era: “Crocodile” (1996), “Birdcage Inn” (1998) and “The Isle” (2000).

"We aimed to honour Ki-duk's creative life by showing his rather overlooked films. It's really intriguing to see, how even his very first features reveal his truly distinctive directing style - for instance, depicting brutality through beauty and philosophy", says the head of the festival, Helmut Jänes.

"Crocodile" is Kim Ki-duk's debut feature where he attempts to reverse the metaphor of Korea's new capitalist prosperity. The 'abnormal' world under the Hani river overturns all the impressions of positive development and order.

"Birdcage Inn", Ki-duk's third feature, is a story about a young female hotel prostitute who gradually and with utmost difficulties befriends the hotel owner’s daughter. Eventually, two women decide to switch places.

"The Isle" is Ki-duk's fourth film and the first one to receive wide international acclaim for his famous style. Hee-Jin (Seo Jung) works in a fishing spot isolated from the world. Occasionally, she also prostitutes herself to the fishermen. One day, a man comes. He is full of a sense of despair and estrangement. Soon, the water mixes with blood and the lives will turn upside down.


The Crocodile


Birdcage Inn


The Isle