If you are familiar with Korean Cinema or just getting introduced, you might have heard of South Korean actor Song Kang-ho. He rose to international fame for his performance in Snowpeircer (2013) and Parasite (2019), which are known for winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture. Let’s take a look at how Song Kang-ho became a well-known actor worldwide.
Song Kang-ho was born in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, in 1967. He was never trained professionally as an actor; instead, he began his acting career in social theater groups after he graduated high school. He then joined Kee Kuk-seo's influential theater company, where he learned about instinctive acting and improvisation. In 1996, Song Kang-ho took his first acting role as an extra in Hong Sang-soo's The Day a Pig Fell into the Well (1996).
In the following year, Song Kang-ho gained popularity for his scene-stealing performance in Neung-han Song No.3 (1997). He won his first Best Actor Award. Since then, Song Kang-ho has taken various roles that will lead to his international success.
Let's get into his top 5 best performance that you need to check out!
A Taxi Driver (2017)
Based on a true story, A Taxi Driver (2017) is a South Korean historical action drama film directed by Jang Hoon and written by Eom Yu-Na. Song Kang-ho works alongside Thomas Kretschman as the main character of the film. The movie centers on a taxi driver, Kim Man-seob (Song Kang-Ho), from Seoul, who unexceptionally becomes involved in the events of the Gwangju Uprising in 1980. Throughout the film, Kim Man-seob is on a mission to take his client, Jurgen Hinzpter, a german journalist to Gwangju.
A Taxi Driver (2017) received positive reviews internationally. The film depicts a traumatizing historical event that lets the international audience who does not know about the Gwangju Uprising learn about the event’s truth. The cinematography of the film also gained a lot of attention. Song Kang-ho does an outstanding job of portraying the struggles of being in a traumatizing event.
The Host (2006)
The Host (2006) is a South Korean horror film directed by Bong Joon-ho and starring Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doona, and Go Ah-sung. The film is about a father played by Song Kang-ho, trying to find his missing daughter after an unknown monster took her away. Song Kang-ho's performance will leave the audience both memorized and terrified for his character’s future in the film.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
From the Vengeance trilogy directed by Park Chan-wook, Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance (2002). did not have the immediate success that one would imagine. Despite the movie not doing well in South Korea, it won several awards that would prove it is a cult classic in Korean cinema.
Memories of Murder (2003)
Memories of Murder (2003) is another masterpiece directed and written by Bong Joon-ho. The thriller film is loosely based on the true story of Korea's first serial murders in history. Song Kang-ho and Kim Sang-Kyung play as Detective Park and Detective Seo, where they work together to solve crimes. The film gain attention for it's the cinematography and musical score, as well as for Song Kang Ho's performance.
If you have not yet watched the film Parasite (2019), then you must stop what you're doing and watch it. To say that this movie is a masterpiece is quite an understatement. The thriller film with dark humor elements directed by Bong Joon-ho, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won, depicts the themes of class conflict and social inequality. The film won several awards, including the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Throughout his career, Song Kang-ho has proven to be one of the most respected Korean actors in the industry. As an actor, he has a wide range when it comes to portraying characters that are conflicted by societal norms.
Which Korean actor or actress would you like to highlight next? Have you checked out one of these films? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Song Kang-ho