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By Lee Gyu-lee

An English poster for “A Normal Family” / Courtesy of Hive Media Corp

The thriller drama film “A Normal Family,” led by filmmaker Hur Jin-ho, known for leading the romance film “One Fine Spring Day” (2001), has been securing awards and accolades from international film festivals.

According to the film’s distributor, Hive Media Corp, the movie picked up awards last month from Fantasporto, or Porto International Film Festival, and Mons International Film Festival, also known as Love International Film Festival Mons.

At the 44th Fantasporto, held from March 1 to 9 in Porto, Portugal, the film won the Directors Week Best Screenplay Award. Mario Dorminsky, the founder and co-director of the festival, referred to Hur’s film as “a great movie that deals with the dilemmas faced by families in modern society,” inviting the film to its competition section.

Founded in 1981, the international film festival specializes in horror, thriller and science fiction films. It is considered one of the top three fantasy genre film festivals in the world, along with the Sitges Film Festival in Spain and the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in Belgium.

The film also notched the Scenario Prize at this year’s Mons, held from March 8 to 16 in Mons, Belgium. “The way it blurs the boundary between good and evil, and utilizes the values of the two brothers’ families was interesting,” said Maxime Dieu, the general delegate of the festival.

Launched in 1984, the festival is dedicated to recognizing films that express the theme of love in all forms on screen.

“A Normal Family,” which is set to hit the local theaters later this year, is based on the Dutch author Herman Koch’s bestselling novel “The Dinner.” It revolves around a successful lawyer, Jae-wan (Sul Kyung-gu) who takes on the case of a wealthy executive’s son, who purposely ran over and killed a man. Despite his client being a killer, his priority is in defending the client, especially since the case stands to become his biggest career accomplishment.

On the other hand, his younger brother who is a pediatrician, Jae-kyu (Jang Dong-gun), is devoted to helping the health of his patients over money or reputation. The narrative tests the brothers’ consciences as their teenage children become involved in unexpected circumstances.

Since its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2023, the film has been invited to various film festivals around the world, including the Filmfest DC and the Miami Film Festival in the U.S. as well as Switzerland’s Fribourg International Film Festival. It also has been invited to compete at the upcoming Udine Far East Film Festival, slated for April 24 through May 2 in Udine, Italy.

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