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‘Sleep,’ ‘Project Silence’ premiere at 76th Cannes Film Festival

May 22, 2023 - 18:21 By Kim Da-sol
“Project Silence” cast members including Lee Sun-kyun (center) and Ju Ji-hoon (second from left) pose for photos at a red carpet event at the Lumiere Theater in Cannes, France, Sunday. (CJ ENM)

Two Korean films invited to noncompetition categories at the 76th Cannes Film Festival each held screenings with the directors and main actors receiving the spotlight on the red carpet and at the theater after their world premieres.

Director Kim Tae-gon’s “Project Silence” was scheduled for 12:30 a.m. Monday in Cannes, as it was invited to the Midnight Screening, an out-of-competition section dedicated to films with popular appeal and artistic value.

Main actors Lee Sun-kyun, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hee-won showed up at a red carpet event prior to the screening. Each of them had previously visited Cannes, with “Parasite” (2019), “The Spy Gone North” (2018) and “The Merciless” (2017), respectively.

For Lee, it is his third time visiting the world’s most prestigious film festival. He is featured in two of the seven Korean films invited this year. His other invitee is director Jason Yu’s “Sleep,” which has been invited to Critics’ Week and also premiered on Sunday.

The screening of “Project Silence” finished at around 2:30 a.m. Monday, but the packed audience of Lumiere Theater delivered a five-minute ovation at the end.

“Project Silence” revolves around Jung-won (Lee Sun-kyun), who gets stranded on a collapsed bridge shrouded in thick fog. Ju Ji-hoon appears as a tow truck driver to clear crashed cars from the bridge.

The film’s distributor CJ ENM said the film has been already sold to buyers for 140 countries, including France, the US, Germany and Japan.

From left: Director Jason Yu, Jung Yu-mi and Lee Sun-kyun meet with the audience after the screening of “Sleep,” at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on Sunday. (Lotte Entertainment)

Meanwhile, director Jason Yu premiered his first-ever feature film “Sleep” at Cannes, and is eligible for the Camera d'Or award given to the best rookie director regardless of category. “Sleep” had its screening Sunday morning as part of Cannes Critics’ Week, which focuses on first and second features by emerging directors.

Yu is a former assistant to director Bong Joon-ho of Oscar-winning film “Parasite” (2019). He has also translated the subtitles for auteur Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" (2018).

Starring Lee and Jung Yu-mi, Korean horror film “Sleep” tells the story of a newlywed husband showing strange behavior while asleep. The film has been sold for distribution to 80 countries.

It is the fourth time for the two actors to work together, reuniting again after 10 years. Their three previous projects were directed by auteur Hong Sang-soo.

Both “Project Silence” and “Sleep” hit local theaters in Korea later this year.