Director Kim Ki Duk dies of COVID-19 at 59

Director Kim Ki Duk has died due to complication from COVID-19 at 59 while at home in Latvia, a representative from Kim Ki Duk Film confirmed.

It was described that Kim Ki Duk had been in Latvia since November 20 to purchase a home and obtain residency status. It’s reported that he was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and he died in a hospital after experiencing complications.

Kim Ki Duk rose to prominence on the back of award-winning film making for pictures like “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … And Spring”, “3-Iron”, and “Samaria”.

Yet his legacy is complicated to say the least, as he was accused in 2017 of abuse and forcing an actress to perform sexual acts during a scene during the #MeToo movement, admitting to assault but having the sexual charges dismissed. In 2018, PD Notebook followed up with accusations against him of sexual assault.

Kim’s career in South Korea effectively ended in 2017-18 after three actresses made new accusations on investigative news show “PD’s Notebook,” which was broadcast on Korean public broadcaster MBC. Kim later launched criminal and civil suits against MBC and the original Moebius actress, accusing them of defamation, but his claims were dismissed in courts.

Later, he countersued the original actress and PD Notebook for defamation, but had that case thrown out. While nothing except assault has been technically proven, given the standard of defamation in Korea and his at best vague denials of the accusations, it’s hard not to see him at the very least as a director who consistently abused his power and crossed the line with his treatment of actresses in particular.

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