Kim Ki-Duk, Award-Winning South Korean Director, Dies of COVID-19 at 59

Filmmaker won top prize at 2012 Venice Film Festival with “Pieta”

Last Updated: December 11, 2020 @ 7:47 AM

Award-winning South Korean director Kim Ki-duk has died in Latvia after contracting the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press. He was 59.

The death of the filmmaker, who won the top prize at 2012 Venice Film Festival with his movie “Pieta,” was first confirmed by Vitaly Mansky, president of an international doc film festival in Riga, and later “indirectly” by the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, which revealed a “South Korean male in his 50s died while being treated for COVID-19 at a hospital in Latvia during the early hours of Dec. 11 local time,” according to the AP.

Kim traveled to Latvia on Nov. 20 to buy a house near Riga and apply for a residence permit.

Among Kim’s other notable honors were a prize for his movie “Arirang” at the 2011 Cannes film festival and best-director awards for his work shown at other film festivals in Berlin and Venice.

Following his 2012 win at Venice, Kim faced accusations in South Korea of hitting an actress and attempting to force her to film an unscripted sex scene for his movie “Moebius.” Kim denied part of the accusation, though he said he might have hit the actress while directing her, according to the AP. The actress dropped out of the film and it was completed with a different star.

A few years later, three different actresses made accusations against Kim on “PD’s Notebook,” an investigative news show broadcast on South Korean public broadcaster MBC.

Kim attempted to sue both the “Moebius” actress who first made accusations against him and MBC for defamation, but his claims were dismissed.