(News Focus) Park Chan-wook’s cinematic investigation of human instinct in an elegant setting


SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap) — Park Chan-wook, who won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday for his romance “Decision to Leave,” is one of Korea’s best-known directors on the film scene. international.

He is well known for his works with dark humour, eroticism and gory details presented in elegant stagings.

His revenge and survival-themed films investigate the violence in people’s hearts by telling the stories of ordinary people driven to extremes by despair. Social and religious taboos and constraints are challenged in Park’s plays, where social issues like materialism and class division that are overtly covered in Bong Joon-ho’s films rarely surface.

After two unsuccessful films, including his first feature ‘The moon is what the sun dreams of’ (1992), he rose to fame with the hit mystery thriller ‘Joint Security Area’ (2000) about forbidden friendship and the tragedy from South. and North Korean soldiers stationed in the inter-Korean border area.

The film, which barely emanates from the cinematic hallmarks showcased in the director’s later titles, became the most-watched film that year with an attendance of 5.8 million viewers and Park’s No. 1 hit film. It competed for the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2001.

Based on the greater-than-expected success of “Joint Security Area”, Park began to boldly showcase his likes in upcoming projects, especially in the so-called revenge trilogy – “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), “Oldboy” (2003) and “Lady Vengeance” (2005).

The thriller “Sympathy for Vengeance” won critical acclaim for Park’s signature elegance in framing and style, but it was too gruesome and cruel to bring Park fans to the movies.

His upcoming revenge-themed film “Oldboy” has won positive reviews for its powerful and intense narrative based on the Japanese comic book of the same name, its deep depiction of borderline human madness, and its sensational art design.

It received the second highest Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, the highest international award for a Korean film until then. This award helped him build his reputation as one of the world’s most prominent filmmakers.

In his final project of the trilogy, “Lady Vengeance”, he continued to show his ability to tell the story of a woman who begins to get revenge on the real murderer in a stylistically flashy and horribly violent way.

The romantic comedy “I’m a Cyborg, But It’s Okay” (2006) won the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007, but it was a box office flop in South Korea.

With the horror “Thirst” (2009), Park creates a new film of vampires with eroticism and excessive violence by breathing new life into the original novel “Thérèse Raquin” by Emile Zola.

It won him the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, the second title Park won at Cannes.

In the thriller “The Handmaiden” (2016), Park set the story in Japanese-occupied Korea in 1930 to amp up the intense eroticism and violence of Sarah Waters’ original “Fingersmith” novel.

It became the first Korean film to win the Best Non-English Language Film category at the 2018 British Academy Film Awards.

At Cannes this year, he imagined the romance “Decision to leave”, the story of a police detective who falls in love with a woman suspected of having murdered her husband, without sex or violence, considered the signature of his works.

Even without those elements, however, Park managed to tell the love story in a more thrilling and thrilling way. It earned him the Best Director award at Cannes, his third award from the world’s most prestigious film festival.

Park said he was not a director who only made thrillers or gory mysteries, but a director who made movies full of romantic and comedic elements.

“I’m not kidding. I’ve really done romance movies so far. Frankly, I want to call them romantic comedies,” he said earlier this week at the Cannes Film Festival. “Romance and comedy are the main components of these movies, so it wasn’t so special for me to do another romantic comedy.”


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