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Award-winning film director investigated over actress abuse claims

Film director Kim Ki-duk is being investigated after an actress accused him of hitting her and trying to force her into shooting off-script sexual scenes while making a 2013 movie.

The award-winning director will be questioned but it has not been decided when, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said.

The identity of the actress was withheld.

In a statement released through his production company, Kim said he might have hit the actress while instructing her in acting, but said he has no "accurate memory" of the incident.

He vaguely denied trying to force her into filming off-script scenes, saying there had been a "misunderstanding".

Ahn Byung-ho, of the Federation of Korea Movie Workers' Union, said the actress dropped out from the filming of Moebius because of Kim's alleged abuse.

She recently reported the case to the union after suffering from "psychological pain" for years.

The film, a dark and violent story about an estranged family, was released in 2013 after Kim finished filming with a different actress.

In the statement, Kim said he either hit the actress while taking the place of her acting counterpart or slapped his own face while instructing her on how to act in a scene portraying a violent exchange between a male character and his wife.

"This is not an accurate memory because it was four years ago," Kim wrote.

Kim won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival with his 2012 movie Pieta, a brutal mother-and-son tale of revenge and redemption.

While his films often garner critical acclaim, many moviegoers, especially women, consider them to be disturbing because of excessive violence and depictions of rape and castration.


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