Korean Film ‘The Weight’ Wins Venice ‘Queer Lion’ Prize


Korean director Jeon Kyu-hwan's film The Weight has won the 'Queer Lion' prize at the Venice International Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Queer Lion award, awarded in Venice since 2007, is goven each year to the best film in the official selection, either in- or out-of-competition, or in any of the festival’s three main sidebars that “accurately portrays lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender characters.”

mong the other candidates for the prize were Brian De Palma’s Passion; Den Skaldede Frisor (All You Need is Love) from Danish director Susanne Bier; Xan Cassavetes’ Kiss of the Damned; Acciaio (Steel) from Italian director Stefano Mordini; Pascal Bonitzer's Cherchez Hortense (Looking for Hortense); and 6 Sull’Autobus (6 On the Bus) featuring six parallel stories from six different Italian directors: Simone Dante Antonelli, Giacomo Bisordi, Rita de Donato, Irene di Lelio, Antonio Ligas, and Emiliano Russo.

Watch the film's trailer HERE.

And here's Variety's review:

The sickly Jung (Cho Jae-hyun) works in a morgue, where he makes the dead look perfect one last time, both for the relatives who'll attend the memorial services and for himself, since he moonlights as a portrait artist. Via flashbacks, some corpses are provided with grizzly (sic) backstories, though the main narrative seems to be the uneasy relationship of Jung and his stepbrother (mono-monikered performer Zia), who dreams of having a female body. Technically, the pic is impressively crisp, but the exact meaning of it all is so artfully concealed, few auds will want to come and play hide-and-seek.


  1. Ryan says

    Korea’s produced some *awesome* movies and tv shows, that have done so across all of eastern Asia that there’s an actual term for it, ‘Korean wave.’

    My all-time favorite would be “Man from No Where.” It reminds me of Liam Neeson’s Taken, but the ending was even more epic.

    I haven’t seen very any GLBT-themed works from Korea, or even works with very many GLBT characters, so I’ll have to give this one a try.

  2. jamal49 says

    @RYAN You are correct. Korea is producing some excellent films in the last several years.

    May I recommend (if you haven’t seen them already) “A Moment to Remember” or “The Good, The Bad, The Weird”? Not gay-themed but excellent.

    “Just Friends” is another sweetheart of a film.

  3. says

    @ryan and @jamal49 There have been some pretty good short films like “Fly By Night”, “Just Friends?”, or “Boy Meets Boy”, and a feature-length film, “No Regret.”

    You both may also want to search for other Korean made films via Frameline’s film festival archives: http://ticketing.frameline.org/festival/archive.aspx

    And FYI, Frameline is streaming a short film online for free, “Seoul to Soul” http://vimeo.com/channels/framelinevoices/47330208

  4. Iban4yesu says

    “…..the exact meaning of it all is so artfully concealed, few auds will want to come and play hide-and-seek.”

    The eVer Vile Variety goes at it again!!! (Oy )Vey, V for Vapid! I was seething because they just vilified the new gay film, “ Keep the Lights On ”, which got the glowing write-up/review in both NYT & Salon.com.( I loved the director, Ira Sachs’ “The Delta” a lot and I know I am not the only one.)
    ‘If anything doesn’t translate to masses of ka-ching, it probably has any value’, eh? *
    I only saw Jeon Kyu-hwan’s second last film, Dance Town, the Grand Prize winner @ Dallas FF, about the struggles of a woman in Seoul who escaped North Korean, and I loved it.

    By the way, the leading man, Cho Jae-hyun, a veteran actor in Korean cinema, theatre and TV, debuted as a stage director with ” Equus” in Seoul a couple of years ago, in which he emphasized the homoerotic tensions between the boy and the psychiatrist, which he himself played in that production. (More than 20 years ago, a younger Mr. Cho had played Alan, of which the performance became sort of a signature for him ). Even the marketing of that production followed the suit, hehe… :

    No, I couldn’t choose just one; methinks that all these eight horses are hot, so give me all those promotion prizes, haha…

    Quite a few films starring Cho Jae-hyun are available on DVD stateside… The Bad Guy and Address Unknown are both oeuvres of Kim Kiduk, whose new “Pieta” , with the Oedipal theme, is causing quite a buzz in the very same Venice FF right now.

    *(If they were rooting for Brian De Palma, by any chance, I should say Mr. Rip-off could come up with an original vision once in a while: the homophobic Dressed to Kill, Blowout, now an outright remake, which is way too soon of course, if you ask me !)

  5. SayTheTruth says

    Maybe it’s a master piece, but I suspect the combination of creepiness, cryptic sense and the cultural gap may prove too much to be an attractive movie. For me at least.

  6. Iban4yesu says

    Here’s a synopsis, which might help :

    Jung is the mortician at the morgue who has to heavily rely on medicine for his severe tuberculosis and arthritis. Despite his illness, cleansing and dressing the dead is a noble and even beautiful work to him. Jung is the last living person who silently takes care of the dead. So for him, his life at the morgue is both a reality and a fantasy while the corpses are his models and friends for his paintings, his sole living pleasure.

    Born with a hunchback and left at an orphanage, Jung gets adopted by a woman when he was a child, who hides him away in the attic only to use him as a child slave for her dress shop. The woman has her own son who is younger than Jung; who has always wanted to become a woman, loathing his own male body. While Jung feels affection and sympathy for his younger stepbrother, he feels burdened by the weight of life that gets heavier by his sibling. Under the love hate relationship with his sibling and under the weight of life and death carried by the dead bodies that he faces each day, Jung endures the pain and thirst that he feels like a camel crossing a desolate desert in silence. And he quietly prepares his biggest, his last gift for his sibling.


  7. Iban4yesu says

    “Korea’s produced some *awesome* movies…”

    “Korea is producing some excellent films in the last several years…..”

    Thanks, gents! The above mentioned “Pieta” just won the top prize, the Golden Lion in Venice! This is the first time a Korean film has won a top prize in any of the three most prestigious int’l film festivals, incl. Cannes & Berlin!

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