Riga | South Korean director Kim Ki-duk, internationally recognized for his works steeped in violence but also accused of abusing actresses, died Thursday of COVID-19 in Latvia, said a Latvian cinematography official.
“Unfortunately, the sad news of Kim Ki-duk’s death from coronavirus in Latvia is true,” Dita Rietuma, head of the Latvian National Cinema Center, told AFP.
“We know from people with whom he had remained in contact that he died in a hospital in Riga around 1:30 in the morning,” she added, but without being able to provide further details.
According to Ms Rietuma, the Korean director was on a private visit to Latvia and no filming was planned there.
According to local media, the 59-year-old director planned to buy property in Latvia and apply for a residence certificate in the Baltic country, a member of the euro zone.
Kim Ki-duk has gained worldwide fame for drawing a bold portrayal of extreme violence and human brutality in allegory-rich films, but has also been accused of misconduct against actresses.
The director has never responded to these accusations.
His violent films have divided audiences, with some accusing him of misogyny and others hailing his creation and portrayal of a social background rarely seen in other films.
His film “Pieta” won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2012.