(ATTN: ADDS Park Chan-wook's arrival in last 6 paras, new photo)
SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- Song Kang-ho received a hero's welcome in South Korea on Monday after winning the country's first best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Song arrived at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, along with director Hirokazu Kore-eda and co-stars of "Broker," with about 300 fans and journalists celebrating the historic honor.
"Thank you to all Korean movie fans for your constant interest and support for Korean films," Song told reporters upon arrival. "I thought this achievement wouldn't be possible without Korean fans' love and support."
Song received Best Actor at this year's Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday (French time) for his performance in the Korean drama "Broker," written and directed by Japanese auteur Kore-eda.
It is the first title that Song has earned from Cannes, although he has starred in several Cannes-winning titles, including Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" (2019) and Park Chan-wook's "Thirst" (2009). He served as a jury member at last year's Cannes.
He is the first South Korean male actor to win an acting award at Cannes and became the third Asian male performer awarded the prize after Hong Kong's Leung Chiu Wai for "In The Mood for Love" in 2000 and Japan's Yuya Yagira for "Nobody Knows" in 2004.
Director Kore-eda, whose previous family drama "Shoplifters" earned Cannes' top honor of Palme d'Or in 2018, also appreciated the support of Korean fans for his first Korean-language project. "Broker" is his second film to bring a lead actor the Best Actor prize at Cannes after "Nobody Knows."
"Broker" depicts the relationships of characters formed through a baby box, where people anonymously drop off newborns that they can't raise.
Song plays Sang-hyun, who steals an unattended infant left by its parents at a baby box and sells it to parents who need babies.
Later in the day, director Park Chan-wook, who was named Best Director at Cannes for his romantic thriller "Decision to Leave," was also given a warm welcome upon arrival at the airport.
The award is his third trophy earned from Cannes, following the Grand Prix, the second-highest prize at the festival, for his thriller "Oldboy" in 2003 and the Jury Prize for the horror "Thirst" in 2009.
"I was longing for Best Actor and Actress awards, but I received a different one," he said in a brief interview with about a hundred awaiting reporters, referring to his two lead actors Park Hae-il and Tang Wei. "If my actors receive prestigious awards, that would help me cast good actors in my next project."
He said he is concerned about some fixed images of a director who makes boring arthouse movies that the multiple prizes could bring to him.
"I'm worried that people would consider me as an arthouse movie director, which I'm not," he said. "I'm a filmmaker who makes commercial films that entertain many people."
He said he is now working on an American TV series titled "The Sympathizer" for HBO as a showrunner and co-director.