Actress accuses Berlinale of hypocrisy

SEOUL • It feels like another hard slap to her face, said a South Korean actress, after accusing the Berlin film festival organisers of hypocrisy for inviting a director who assaulted her to this year's event while promoting it as a forum to tackle abuse in the industry.

The actress, who has refused to be identified, last year accused South Korean director Kim Ki Duk of beating her and forcing her into unscripted sex and nude scenes while shooting 2013 film Moebius.

Kim, 57, won Berlin's Silver Bear for Samaritan Girl in 2004 and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Pieta in 2012. His latest work, Human, Space, Time And Human, will have its world premiere in the Panorama Special section of this year's Berlinale, which begins on Thursday.

"I find the decision to invite Kim deeply sad," the actress said, adding she had been left "devastated" by the experience. "Kim admitted and was found guilty of physically assaulting me on the film set. Yet the Berlinale rolled out a red carpet to him while boasting about their support for the #MeToo movement," she noted.

Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick said last week that this year's festival would shine a light on sexual misconduct and serve as a platform to bring changes to the industry.

He had disqualified some productions from the festival because a director, screenwriter or star was facing sexual misconduct allegations.

He was aware of the accusations against Kim and that he had been convicted and fined, but that the sexual harassment claims had been dismissed for lack of evidence.

The Berlinale was seeking more information about an appeal in the case, he added.

The actress spoke out in December about the abuse on the set of the film, where she was eventually replaced by another actress.

"One day, Kim said, 'I'll set your emotion', and suddenly slapped my face really hard three times in a row in front of everybody before turning the camera towards me and filming," she said then.

"I was so shocked... but had to start acting right away," she went on, adding that none of the crew said "a single word to stop him".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2018, with the headline 'Actress accuses Berlinale of hypocrisy'. Print Edition | Subscribe