This is the oddest accolade to write about because absent context it would appear all of Korea should be heralding a win on the global stage. K-actress Kim Min Hee just took home the Best Actress Award at the Berlin Film Festival for the movie On the Beach at Night Alone, directed by critically acclaimed director Hong Sang Soo as the movie is also getting positive reviews from the film festival screening. It’s the first time a Korean actress has won at the Berlin Film Festival, and the second big international win by a K-actress since Jeon Do Yeon won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for Secret Sunshine back in 2007.
The K-media and netizens are responding to the win less for the honor but for the discomfort and disapproval stemming from Kim Min Hee’s very public affair with the film director who is married but his wife will not grant him a divorce. Hong Sang Soo and Kim Min Hee went public in a big way at the film festival, holding hands and she even proclaimed her love for him during her acceptance speech. I hate to be judgy on other people’s personal lives but it’s really uncomfortable to view her win when the couple is so open despite Hong Sang Soo’s wife and kids being so upset back home. Sure marriage and divorce is personal business and shouldn’t reflect on artistic merit but I wish they kept it professional at the film festival and didn’t act like a couple in public.