South Korean director Park Chan-wook holds his Jury Prize award for the film ``Thirst (Bakjwi)'' during the 62nd International film festival in Cannes, southern France, Sunday. / AP-Yonhap
South Korean director Park Chan-wook won the jury prize at the Cannes film festival Sunday for his thriller "Thirst (Bakjwi)" about a priest-turned vampire struggling with his desire for blood and sex, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday, quoting the event's Web site.
Park shared the prize with British director Andrea Arnold, who was honored for "Fish Tank" depicting the troubled life of a teenage girl in a London suburb.
The festival's top prize went to Austrian director Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon," a tragic tale of a small German town on the eve of World War I.
This marks the first time that a South Korean film has claimed the honor in Cannes. The jurors praised the blood-soaked vampire film as a "unique noir film."
Park won the festival's Grand Jury Prize in 2004 with his film "Oldboy."
"The joy of creating is my energy in making films. Filmmaking is a joy from the beginning to the end," Park told the audience at the awards ceremony. "I'd like to share this honor with actor Song Gang-ho, a great friend and colleague."
The award is the eighth time a local film has received one of the main awards at the Cannes International Film Festival.
South Korean director Lim Known-taek received the director's award for "Stroke of Fire" in 2002 and actress Jeon Do-yeon took the best actress prize in 2007 for "Secret Sunshine."
"Thirst" competed for top honors at this year's Cannes with 19 other world-renowned directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodovar, Xavier Giannoli and Ang Lee.
Park, who had also won the Alfred Bauer Prize for his science fiction comedy "I'm a Cyborg, But That's Ok" at the Berlin film festival, says it took a decade of preparation to bring the vampire story, a genre rarely explored by South Korean directors, to local screens.