Widely considered Korea's foremost filmmaker, Im Kwon-Taek has become a major international figure in the realm of world cinema. A remarkably prolific director who has over 100 titles to his credit, Im's films are renowned for their remarkable visual beauty, technical innovation, and intellectual depth.
Born on May 2, 1936, into a family of noted leftists, Im Kwon-Taek grew up and completed his schooling in the southern city of Kwangju. As a result of the Korean war, his family's fortunes were decimated and he was forced to work, first as a day-laborer, and as a businessman reselling U.S. Army boots. In 1956, he moved to Seoul where he happened to meet film director Chung Chang-Wha, who offered him room and board in exchange for work as a production assistant. Though Im had no great ambitions to become a filmmaker, he took the job, working on the set was a means of survival when work for people with leftist ties was few and far between. Five years later, Chung recommended that Im direct and in 1962, he made his debut with Dumangang-a Jal Ikkora.