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Virus claims controversial Korean film director Kim Ki-duk

·1-min read
Kim Ki-duk's film "Pieta" won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2012

Acclaimed South Korean film director Kim Ki-duk who won global recognition for his violent works and faced allegations of abusing his actresses died from Covid-19 in Latvia on Friday, the country's top film official said.

"Unfortunately, the sad news about Kim Ki-duk's death from coronavirus in Latvia is true," Dita Rietuma, head of the National Film Centre of Latvia, told AFP.

"It is known from his contact persons that he died in a hospital in Riga around 1:30 a.m. earlier today," she added.

According to Rietuma, the Korean director was on a private visit to Latvia and was not planning any filming.

Local media reported that the 59-year-old director was planning to buy a property and apply for residence in the Baltic eurozone state.

Kim won global fame with his bold portrayal of extreme violence and human brutality in allegory-rich movies, but was accused of misconduct against actresses.

The director had not responded to these allegations.

His movies -- many featuring gruesome violence against both males and females, and rapes of women -- divided audiences, with some accusing him of misogyny and others hailing his cinematography and unflinching portrayal of a social underclass rarely seen in other films.

Laced with this trademark violence, his film "Pieta" won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2012.