LKFF 2022: Celebrating Kang Soo-yeon (Special Focus Forum)



Kim Dong-ho (founder of Busan International Film Festival), Kim Hong-joon (director of Korean Film Archive), Darcy Paquet (programmer ‘Indie Talent’, film critic and English-language subtitle translator (Broker, Parasite)  


Moderator: Mark Morris, programmer ‘Special Focus’.

Kang Soo-yeon was an actor celebrated internationally and domestically, a cherished household name from her television days to later reign of the big screen. She made history with her Volpi Cup ‘Best Actress’ win at the 44th Venice International Film Festival, for her role in Im Kwon-taek’s The Surrogate Woman (1986), making her the first Korean actor to receive an award at a major international film festival. Considered a national treasure, Kang passed away unexpectedly on 7th May 2022, she was only 55. 

In this associated ‘Special Focus’ event, invited guests trace Kang Soo-yeon’s career and discuss Kang’s contribution to the Korean Film industry. The Forum will include a screening of High School Diary Episode One (1983, 18 mins) 



High School Diary, Episode One (1983/03/30) KBS TV

고교생일기 1회

Director: Un gun-il


Hyeon-su (Kang Soo-yeon) arrives in Seoul to start life as a high school student. Leaving behind her immediate family back in Gangwon-do, she will need to become a part of her kind uncle’s family. Her two younger male cousins enjoy the arrival of this adolescent beauty and energy, but the family patriarch, the stern grandfather of the whole household, is less impressed. When Hyeon-su replaces framed Confucian mottoes with a Led Zeppelin poster, battle lines are drawn.

Kang Soo-yeon was only sixteen when national broadcaster KBS entrusted her with the lead role in this new flagship series for young viewers. The series would continue through 150 episodes well into 1986, and introduce a generation of new actors to Korean television. Kang, already a seasoned veteran of both TV and film, gave the series crucial momentum in its first season. KBS would feature her in other productions, such as an adaptation of Gide’s La Symphonie pastorale the very next year.


Mark Morris



This event is part of the LKFF 2022 ‘Special Focus: Kang Soo-yeon’ programme strand, screening 5  films from Kang’s illustrious career.