Im Kwon-taek

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Im Kwon-taek
Born (1934-12-08) December 8, 1934 (age 88)
Years active1962–present
Chae Ryeong
(m. 1979)
Children2, including Kwon Hyun-sang
Honours Legion of Honour - Knight (2007)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationIm Gwon-taek
McCune–ReischauerRim Kwŏntaek

Im Kwon-taek (Korean임권택; born December 8, 1934) is one of South Korea's most renowned film directors. In an active and prolific career, his films have won many domestic and international film festival awards as well as considerable box-office success, and helped bring international attention to the Korean film industry. As of spring 2015, he has directed 102 films.

Early life[edit]

Im Kwon-taek was born in Jangseong, Jeollanam-do and grew up in Gwangju. After the Korean War, he moved to Busan in search of work. He then moved to Seoul in 1956, where Jeong Chang-hwa, director of Five Fingers of Death (1972), offered him room and board for work as a production assistant. Jeong recommended him for directing in 1961.


Im's directorial premiere was with the 1962 film, Farewell to the Duman River (Dumanganga jal itgeola).

Before 1980 he was known primarily as a commercial filmmaker who could efficiently direct as many as eight genre pictures a year, helping to fulfill the quota for domestic pictures set by the government [1]. His desire to make more artistically satisfying films began to show itself with his 1978 film Jokbo (Genealogy or The Family Tree), but the turning point of his career came with the 1981 film Mandala. From this point his films have been regarded as art-house cinema, and have been regularly shown at international film festivals, and have won numerous awards.

Im has continued to explore themes from Korea's past while also focusing on the Korean cultural identity in modern times. Among Im's most notable recent films are Sopyonje (1993) and Chunhyang (2000), both of which concentrate on the traditional Korean musical art of pansori. The latter film was also based on a traditional Korean legend. Apart from being a critical success, Sopyonje was also a success at the box office, becoming the first domestic film to draw over a million viewers in Seoul alone. Chihwaseon (2002) was also a critical success, earning him Korea's first Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.[1] Im Kwon-taek was awarded an Honorary Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005.

Im Kwon-taek's status, brought on by the critical success of his films, overlapped with a period of the film movement called "New Korean Cinema" or "Korean New Wave". Along with other directors, such as Park Gwang-su and Jang Sun-woo, Im is recognized as one of the founding figures of the movement, which gained international critical recognition and acclaim for Korean Cinema.

In April 2007, Im released his 100th film Beyond the Years, an informal sequel to Sopyonje. In November 2007 the French government announced that it would make Im a knight of the French Legion of Honor.[2][1]

In 2013, a museum dedicated to Im opened in Busan, on the Dongseo University Centum City Campus.[3]

A documentary on Im, Cloud, Encore (2018) by well-known film critic-turned-director Jung Sung-il, will made its world premiere at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival in 2018.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

He married the actress Chae Ryeong (ko), who appeared in several of his films.[6] Their two sons Im Dong-joon and Im Dong-jae (the latter uses the stage name Kwon Hyun-sang) are also active in the film industry.[7]



State honors[edit]

Name of country, year given, and name of honor
Country Award Ceremony Year Honor Ref.
France Legion d'Honneur - Jacques Chirac Administration 2007 the Chevalier (Knight) order


  1. ^ a b Yang, Sung-jin. "Great filmmaker Im to get French Legion of Honor". Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 4 December 2007.
  2. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (28 November 2007). "France to Award Director Im Kwon-taek". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  3. ^ "HanCinema".
  4. ^ "Cloud, Encore". BIFF. October 2018. Archived from the original on 23 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  5. ^ Conran, Pierce (22 February 2017). "Documentary on IM Kwon-taek Seeks Crowdfunding Support". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  6. ^ Kim, Jessica (16 July 2010). "Director Lim Kwon-taek and wife walk PiFan red carpet". 10Asia. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Im Kwon-taek's Son Follows Dad into Showbiz". The Chosun Ilbo. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  8. ^ Filmography from "임권택 (Kwon-Taek Lim / 林權澤)". (in Korean). Retrieved 19 November 2007.[permanent dead link]; Im Kwon-taek at IMDb and James, David E.; Kim Kyung-hyun, eds. (2002). Im Kwon-Taek: The Making of a Korean National Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2869-5.
  9. ^ "Berlinale: 1986 Programme". Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  10. ^ "Berlinale: 1995 Programme". Retrieved 2011-12-31.
  11. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Chi-hwa-seon". Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  12. ^ "Im Kwon Taek likes Shahrukh Khan's work". Hindustan Times. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  13. ^ "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  14. ^ Kim Ye-rang (October 6, 2021). "[BIFF] 임권택 "평생 사랑한 영화, 지금까지 만들어 행복" [[BIFF] Im Kwon-taek "The movie I've loved all my life, I'm happy I made it so far]. Hankyung (in Korean). Retrieved October 6, 2021 – via Naver.
  15. ^ Lee, Jae-hoon (October 24, 2023). "이정재·이순재·조인성, '제13회 아름다운예술인상' 수상" [Lee Jung-jae, Lee Soon-jae, Jo In-sung, 'The 13th Beautiful Artist Award]. Newsis (in Korean). Retrieved November 14, 2023 – via Naver.

See also[edit]

External links and references[edit]