Pusan Critics laud 'Mother,' Kim

Korea's Academy Award rep wins for best picture, actress

BUSAN -- Bong Joon-ho's "Mother" won the hearts of Korean critics, as the director's latest thriller was awarded best picture by the Pusan Film Critics Assn. Friday during a ceremony at the Novotel Ambassador.

The film also won for best cinematography and for best actress for Kim Hye-ja, who played the film's determined mother, who is out to protect her mentally challenged son after he is accused of a murder in a rural town.

"Mother" has previously won three awards by the Korean Film Critics Assn. -- best picture, best actress and best screenplay, and was submitted to be considered for next year's Academy Awards.

Pusan critics also selected Ha Jeong-woo ("The Chaser") as best actor for his performance in an edgy melodrama "My Dear Enemy" and Yang Ik-joon, as best director for his debut feature "Breathless."

For Kim, Pusan is her second best actress award in her 36 years of acting. Her first was from the Manila International Film Festival in 1983 for her screen debut in "Manchu."