Actress Ha Ji-won Praised in France as “Pearl of Asia”


Actress Ha Ji-won has been praised by Europeans as a "pearl of Asia."

The film "Duelist" (2005) directed by Lee Myung-se received acclaim at the eighth "Festival du Film Asiatique de Deauville," which came to a close on Mar. 13, in France, drawing attention to its lead actress Ha from European filmmakers.

According to an official from Ha’s agency, SoftLand, on Mar. 17, "Duelist" received a standing ovation during its preview for its magnificent cinematography. As many as 1,500 filmmakers and officials from various agencies attended the preview, showing their interest in the film.

The size of the audience at the preview for "Duelist" was nearly double the 800 who attended a preview of "The Promise" (2005), a melodramatic martial epic film directed by Chen Kaige.

The official from Ha’s agency said, "Europeans highly praised ‘Duelist’ probably because of Ha Ji-won’s impressive acting as well as its cinematography and colors that must have captivated the hearts of Europeans." Director Lee, who accompanied Ha at the film festival, said, "I found everyone in the audience at the preview marvelling at Ha Ji-won’s acting."

Ha, who returned home on Mar. 15, said, "Never did I expect that I would receive such a rave response in France. I felt somewhat perplexed with the top-class treatment I received. When I said my greetings onstage, I was all the more surprised because European filmmakers called me a ‘pearl of Asia.’"

Meanwhile, the film "Duelist" will be screened at about 200 first-run theaters throughout France starting from May 17. Prior to this, it will also be shown at about 200 theaters in Japan starting from Apr. 22.