Kim Ki Duk is a rare breed in global cinema. He indeed has admirers all across the world, but the people in Kerala share some magical and intimate bond with Kim and his movies. Kim even has a huge fan-base in Kerala who have not managed to see a single film of Kim. That is precisely why the people in Kerala embraced the death of Kim with such pain and desperation.
It was the IFFK of 2015 that introduced the South Korean director Kim Ki Duk to the Malayali film lovers. They watched Crocodile, Wild Animals, Birdcage Inn, Address Unknown and the well know Spring-Summer, enthusiastically. From then on, people started waiting for his movies eagerly and festivals without a Kim Ki Duk movie was such a disappointment for the cinephiles in Kerala. Whenever Kim’s film was screened in the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), people rushed to the theatres to watch his films. Finally, in 2013 the legendary filmmaker came to Kerala to take part in IFFK and the overwhelming love he received from the common people of Kerala definitely would have blown his mind. His first day in Kerala when he went out for a morning walk, people from the bus buses and the tea stalls were screaming his name. He was surprised by the way people adored him in Kerala. Far away from his homeland, the people of Kerala held him in great respect and awe. Apparently, in the film circles in Kerala, there are even ‘Kim Jokes’ which are popular and hilarious.
The movies of Kim kiDuk have attracted viewers all across the globe, primarily because of his offbeat themes and unusual ways of film making. He made movies which were violent, shocking yet exploring the nuances of human emotions. However, over the years his films have changed and there were also a lot of sexual allegations. The ‘bad guy’ of Korean cinema, as he has been called, Kim has often been criticized for extreme misogyny in his films. However, the aura around this filmmaker was immense and intense. The Malayali film viewers witnessed the craft of Kim who showcased novel, unfamiliar yet alluring ways of film making. The audience was not in need of an interpreter when they watched Kim’s movies. They conversed with them fluently in the language of frames. When Kim becomes a memory, people of Kerala, especially the film lovers will be a bit shattered. Because Kim was not just a director for them, but was a celebrity whom they adored.