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  • 작성자 사진Park Se-jeong

[Movie] Actress Kang Soo-yeon Rests in Peace

No.158 / Jun 13, 2022

A well-known Korean actress, Kang Soo-yeon, passed away at the age of 55 on May 7, 2022. She was found in a state of cardiac arrest at her apartment, and was transferred to a nearby hospital. She was treated after being diagnosed with cerebral hemorrhage, but eventually failed to regain consciousness. The deceased was loved by a lot of fans and appeared in various films; people were truly sorry for her death. In memory of Kang, to look into her life as a film star.

Kang started her career as a child actor in 1976. She has appeared in many box office hits in Korea. She is the first Korean actress to win an award at a major international film festival; she won the best actress award at the 1987 Venice International Film Festival for The Surrogate Woman (1986) directed by Im Kwon-taek. Two years later, she won the best actress award at the 16th Moscow International Film Festival in 1989 for director Lim Kwon-taek’s Come Come Come Upward (1989). This etched her name among the nation’s leading actors. Hanbando (2016), Jury (2012), and The Circle (2013) are some of her other best works, and the drama series, Ladies of the Palace (2001~2002), was also a success. Korea in the 1980s was very different from how it is now. To be more specific, it was not an era where K-pop was attracting massive attention, and Korean television shows were widely exported abroad, and comments in foreign languages were rampant on Korean YouTube channels. It received little attention on international cultural stages. Therefore, the fact that a Korean name was acknowledged at international film festivals was greatly noteworthy, and it was an event that instantly made her a global star.

Kang served as a judge and the executive chairperson at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). On the day of her death, a post was uploaded on the official Facebook page of the BIFF: “Former executive chairman Kang worked hard to promote Korean films to the world. She devoted herself to the successful operation of the BIFF from 2015 to 2017.” She served as the executive chairperson from 2015 to 2017, when the festival faced a crisis due to social matters, striving to normalize the film festival.

Kang once said that it was her dream to act for a lifetime. People, and not just moviegoers, will long be grieving the fact that she is no longer with us. They will still be grateful to be able to remember her through the works she left behind. Her impressive influence on the Korean film industry shall never be forgotten.


By Park Se-jeong, AG Reporter

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