French film critic and film academic, worked as the editor of Cahiers du cinema between 1998 and 2003. In 1999, as the editor of Cahiers du cinema, Tesson introduced around 30 Korean films as a part of the film section of the Paris Autumn Festival. At the festival, works by great Korean directors (such as Shin Sang-ok, Im Kwon-taek, Yu Hyun-mok, Kim Ki-Young, Lee Doo-Yong, Park Kwang-su, Jang Sunwoo, Lee Myung Se, Hong Sang-soo, and Lee Kwang Mo) were introduced.
A special exhibition on actor Kang Sooyeon was also organized. At that time, film lovers in Paris were beginning to become enthusiastic about Asian cinema, particularly Japanese and Chinese films. However, this extensive event played a large role in shifting the focus towards Korea and worked as a catalyst for Korean cinema in attracting the French film industry’s attention.
The following year, Chunhyang(2000) by Im Kwon-taek was chosen to be a part of In Competition selections at the Cannes International Film Festival, a first for a Korean film, and Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors(2000) by Hong Sang-soo was nominated for the Un Certain Regard section. Cahiers du cinema, led by Tesson, continued to support these two directors and followed their careers and helped strengthen Korea’s place in world cinema.
Since becoming the Artistic Director of the International Critic’s Week at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 he introduced Korean films in that section every year. In 2012, Circle Line(2012) by Shin Su-won was invited. Also in the same year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Critics’ Week, key figures in Korean film industry, Lee Chang-dong and Huh Moonyung, were invited as jurors for the first time, showing steadfast affection and support for Korean cinema.
Additionally, Tesson established a Korean cinema related course within University of Paris III, a first for a French film academic, and taught Classic Korean cinema, including works by Shin Sang-ok. This is significant in terms of providing an opportunity to cement the attention of international academia in Korean cinematic history, not just Korean contemporary cinema from the media and film industry.
He will receive the award at a special ceremony during the festival which takes place October 3 – 12.
Lead image: Sarajevo Film Festival