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Director Park Chan-Wook 박찬욱 [“Decision to Leave”]


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박찬욱 | Park Chan-wook | 朴贊郁




Name: Park Chan-wook | 박찬욱 | 朴贊郁

Born: August 23, 1963 | Seoul, South Korea

Body: 169cm
Profession: Film director, screenwriter, photographer, film critic
Debut: 1992 movie <The Moon Is What The Sun Dreams Of | 달은... 해가 꾸는 꿈>
Education: Konkuk University Middle School > Youngdong High School > Sogang University (Philosophy ∙ Journalism / Bachelor)
Company: Moho Film (CEO)
Family: Parents, younger brother | wife, daughter

Links: [ instagram ] || namu | KMDb | 


[ kofic ] PARK Chanwook / Director

Along with Kim Kiduk, Hong Sangsoo and Bong Joonho, Park is one of the best well-known Korean film directors on the international film festival circuit and among foreign filmmakers. Born in 1963, he was a philosophy major at Seogang University when he decided to start a film club, with which he began to write film reviews and other articles on cinema. Although he had intended to keep working as a critic, he decided to be a film director after watching Alfred Hitchcock’s <Vertigo> as part of the film club activities. As he dedicated himself fully to that pursuit, he worked as an assistant director on several projects and earned his first credit as a first assistant director in Yoo Youngjin’s <Gam-Dong> (1988). On Kwak Jaeyong’s debut feature <A Sketch of a Rainy Day> (1989), he not only served as a first assistant director, he also co-penned the script. His first two films as a director, <The Moon is What the Sun Dreams of> (1992) and <Trio> (1997) failed to generate much market or critical response, and he was not given an opportunity to direct for many years. His comeback came with the success of <Joint Security Area/JSA> (2001), the touching story of a friendship between South and North Korean soldiers. Park’s movie career subsequently hit the fast track to stardom. Each installment of his vengeance trilogy, <Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance> (2002), <Old Boy>, and <Sympathy for Lady Vengeance> (2005) was a hit. <Old Boy>, in particular, created a sensation by winning the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, the most significant international award for any Korean movie up until that point. Park also published books such as ‘Park Chanwook’s Montage’, a collection of essays and critiques he wrote over the years. One of the rare directors loved in art circles and the film industry alike, Park is so widely recognized that he even received endorsement offers. As the head of his own film studio Moho Film, he produced Bong Joonho’s new film, <Snow Piercer>. He took on a new challenge with his following feature <Stoker>. Featuring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode, it was filmed in the US and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. Returning to Korean soil, he made the Colonial Era thriller <The Handmaiden> with Kim Taeri in her first feature role in 2016. Based on the Sarah Waters novel <Fingersmith>, the film earned him his third invitation to the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival. In 2018, he moved to television with the 6-part miniseries <The Little Drummer Girl> for the BBC, based on the eponymous novel by John le Carré. He was invited again to Cannes in 2022 with his latest film <Decision To Leave>, for which he won the award for Best Director. Next for him is another English-language TV series based on a novel, this time Viet Thanh Nguyen’s <The Sympathizer>.


[ 57th Cannes Film Festival - Choi Min-sik, Park Chan-wook (Grand Prix for “Old Boy”) - Palmares Photocall on May 24, 2004 at Palais Du Festival in Cannes, France | Cr: George Pimentel/WireImage/GettyImages ]


[ 62nd Cannes Film Festival - Park Chan-wook (Jury Prize for "Thirst") - photocall of Closing Ceremony on May 24, 2009 in Cannes, southern France | Cr: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/GettyImages ]


[Cannes-Decision2Leave_PressKit] Screenwriter/Director PARK Chan-wook

After establishing himself as a leading Korean director in the year 2000 with his popularly and critically acclaimed feature JOINT SECURITY AREA, PARK Chan-wook became celebrated as a global auteur with OLDBOY (2003), winner of the Grand Prix at the 57th Cannes Film Festival.

In the years since, he has continued to receive worldwide acclaim with films such as SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE (2005); THIRST (2009), which won the Jury Prize at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival; STOKER (2013), his Hollywood debut; and THE HANDMAIDEN (2016), which not only screened in competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, but also won the Best Film Not in the English Language at the 71st BAFTA. From his first TV series THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL which screened on the BBC, to his collaboration with Apple on the short film LIFE IS BUT A DREAM, director PARK Chan-wook has constructed a unique cinematic world with his taboo-breaking storytelling, fascinating characters and sensual visuals.

Now he returns with his first feature film in six years, DECISION TO LEAVE. A blend of investigative drama, romance and unexpected humor, DECISION TO LEAVE eschews the shocking breaking of taboos in his previous work for a deep drama in which subtle emotional tremors coexist with pulsating inner waves. Director PARK says, “My goal in DECISION TO LEAVE was to create a film that subtly and imperceptibly pulls the audience in and captures their interest.” Audiences around the world are sure to be captivated by PARK Chan-wook’s depiction of the densely-layered emotions that build up between these two characters.






Year | Title | Role(s) | Note | Attendance

  • TBA ‘The Sympathizer | 동조자’ (Director, Producer) // HBO drama 
  • 2022-06-29: ‘Decision to Leave | 헤어질 결심’ (Director, Screenplay, Producer)
  • 2022-02-18: ‘Life is But a Dream | 일장춘몽’ (Director, Screenplay) // 21 minutes
  • 2020 ‘Snowpiercer | 설국열차’ (Executive Producer) // TV series on TNT
  • 2018 ‘Believe It or Not | 반신반의’ (PD) // 32 minutes 
  • 2018 ‘The Little Drummer Girl | 리틀 드러머 걸’ (Director, PD) // British TV series on BBC
  • 2017 ‘Decades Apart | 격세지감’ (Director, Producer) // 17 minutes
  • 2016-06-23: ‘The Truth Beneath | 비밀은 없다‘ (Screenplay)
  • 2016-06-01: ‘The Handmaiden | 아가씨’ (Director, Screenplay, Producer, Planner)
  • 2015-05-27: ‘The Shameless | 무뢰한’ (Planner)
  • 2014 ‘A Rose Reborn’ (Director, Screenplay) // 20 minutes
  • 2014 ‘Bitter, Sweet, Seoul | 고진감래’ (Director) // 63 minutes
  • 2013-07-31: ‘Snowpiercer | 설국열차’ (Producer)
  • 2013-02-28: ‘Stoker | 스토커’ (Director)
  • 2013 ‘V’ (Director) // 7 minutes 
  • 2012-12-28: ‘Blue Comes from Indigo | Day Trip | 청출어람’ (Director, Screenwriter, Producer) // 19 minutes
  • 2011-01-27: ‘Night Fishing | 파란만장’ (Director, Screenplay, Producer) // 33 minutes
  • 2009-04-30: ‘Thirst | 박쥐’ (Director, Screenplay, Producer)
  • 2008-10-16: ‘Crush And Blush | 미쓰 홍당무’ (Screenplay, Producer)
  • 2006-12-07: ‘I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK | 싸이보그지만 괜찮아’ (Director, Screenplay)
  • 2005-11-11: ‘A Boy Who Went to Heaven | 소년, 천국에 가다’ (Screenplay)
  • 2005-07-29: ‘Sympathy for Lady Vengeance | 친절한 금자씨’ (Director, Screenplay)
  • 2004-08-20: ‘Three... Extremes | 쓰리, 몬스터’ segment CUT (Director, Screenplay)
  • 2003-11-21: ‘Oldboy | 올드보이’ (Director, Screenplay)
  • 2003-11-14: ‘If You Were Me | 여섯개의 시선’ segment ‘Never Ending Peace And Love | 믿거나 말거나 찬드라의 경우’ (Director, Screenplay) // 27 minutes 
  • 2002-12-06: ‘A Bizarre Love Triangle | 철없는 아내와 파란만장한 남편 그리고 태권소녀’ (Screenplay)
  • 2002-03-29: ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance | 복수는 나의 것’ (Director, Screenplay)
  • 2001-05-12: ‘The Humanist | 휴머니스트’ (Screenplay)
  • 2000-09-08: ‘Joint Security Area | 공동경비구역 JSA’ (Director, Screenplay)
  • 2000-04-29: ‘Anarchists | 아나키스트’ (Screenplay)
  • 1999 ‘Judgement | 심판’ (Director, Screenplay, Producer) // 26 minutes
  • 1997-05-24: ‘Trio | 3인조’ (Director, Screenplay)
  • 1992-02-29: ‘The Moon is What the Sun Dreams of | 달은... 해가 꾸는 꿈’ (Director, Screenplay)
  • …editing process…



[2022-12-14] 9th Korean Film Producers Association Awards: Best Film, Screenplay (Decision to Leave)

[2022-11-25] 43rd Blue Dragon Film Awards: Best Film, Director, Screenplay (Decision to Leave)

[2022-11-24] 2022 Korea Popular Culture and Arts Awards: Eungwan Order of Cultural Merit

[2022-11-23] 42nd Korean Association of Film Critics (KAFC) Awards: Best Film, Director, Screenplay (Decision to Leave)

[2022-10-06] 31st Buil Film Awards: Best Film (Decision to Leave)

[2022-09-30] 27th Chunsa Film Arts Awards: Best Director (Decision to Leave)

[2022-09-22] 18th U.S. Fantastic Fest: Lifetime Achievement Award

[2022-05-28] 75th Cannes Film Festival: Best Director (Decision to Leave)

[2017-05-03] 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards: Film section Grand Prize (Handmaiden)

[2016-12-04] 42nd Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) Awards: Best Foreign Language Film (Handmaiden)

[2016-10-07] 25th Buil Film Awards: Buil Readers' Jury Award (Handmaiden)

[2009-05-24] 62nd Cannes Film Festival: Jury Prize (Thirst)



South-Korean director Chan-Wook Park (C) delivers a speech next to British director Andrea Arnold (L) after winning the Jury Prize jointly with their movies "Fish Tank" and "Thirst" during the Closing Ceremony of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 24, 2009 in Cannes, southern France. (Cr: VALERY HACHE/AFP/GettyImages)

[2004-05-24] 57th Cannes Film Festival: Grand Prix (Old Boy)



Director Park Chan-wook, left, waves as he is awarded with actor Choi Min-shik for the grand prix for the film “Old Boy” during the award ceremony of the 57th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 24, 2004. (Cr: KoreaTimes)




Decision to Leave (2022): HollywoodReporter | Screen | Variety | Deadline | Indiewire | Guardian | Telegraph | LittleWhiteLies || FilmStage | RogerEbert | Scmp





Dir. Park Chan Wook



March 29, 2012

Park Chan-wook stalks a thriller with ‘Stoker’

By Rachel Lee [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

LOS ANGELES - Acclaimed director Park Chan-wook, who is renowned for daring films such as “Oldboy” (2003), “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” (2005) and “Thirst” (2009) recently wrapped production on his English-language film debut, a thriller called “Stoker.”

The film, which stars Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode, is slated for release later this year and there is already talk of a possible Cannes premiere.

The JoongAng Ilbo met with Park in Los Angeles, where he was in the middle of post-production for the film. This is the first time he has discussed the film with the Korean media.

Q. What is the plot of “Stoker”?

A. The story revolves around a father, mother and adolescent daughter who live in an isolated house in a suburb. But all is not well in the family and there is friction between the mother and daughter. One day, the father dies suddenly in a car accident, and the story starts when an estranged uncle shows up at the father’s funeral. While staying with the family, the uncle becomes involved in a love triangle with both the mother and daughter.

The screenplay for “Stoker” was on the 2010 Black List Top Ten, which lists the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Why did you choose it over other screenplays?

I’d reviewed a lot of screenplays, especially a lot of the revenge films. But I limited my selections to Westerns, sci-fi films, psychological thrillers and spy movies. “Stoker” attracted my attention because it only has three main characters and the whole story unfolds in a house, which is a very confined space. I like telling big stories through small, artificially created worlds. Also, there was less pressure on me because the scale of the film isn’t that big. Besides, I thought it wouldn’t be bad to make my English-language debut with a scenario influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, because it was Hitchcock’s film “Vertigo” [1958] that made me decide to become a director.

Matthew Goode said in an interview that you speak English well but always spoke through an interpreter on set. Why didn’t you speak to everyone directly?

I was fortunate enough to meet an interpreter who was able to perfectly transmit ideas between myself and the cast and crew. Even the actors in the film have mentioned the interpreter, Jung Won-jo, by name in interviews.

Which actors or actresses would you like to work with in the future?

I’m really interested in working with Gary Oldman, who is in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Also, the Iranian actors and actresses in the film “A Separation” drew my attention because of their perfect acting.

You’d considered doing a remake of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Why didn’t you?

I really loved the film and saw it twice in the theater. But it’s because I loved it so much that I decided not to do it. I wasn’t confident about my ability to adapt it without damaging the original and was concerned about how to satisfy both people who watched the original and those who didn’t.

The JoongAng Ilbo met Park Chan-wook in Los Angeles

on March 5. When setting up the appointment, he said that he didn’t want

to pose for a picture. But he changed his mind on the day of the meeting

and posed for a moment. By Kim Sang-jin

People have certain expectations for “Stoker” based on your previous films. For example, people are expecting elements of cruelty, destruction and revenge because those have been themes in your previous films. People have also wondered whether you have an aversion to religion. How would you respond to that?

Those are natural expectations for people to have, considering my previous films. I think that revenge, which is usually an element in my films, is essential for various kinds of films, whether they be thrillers, mysteries or films with violence. But I’m not a violent or angry person like the people in my films are and those are emotions I’m actually afraid to express. Maybe that’s why I often deal with those subjects in my films.

Regarding the second point, I used to be Catholic, but now I’m not. I don’t have a particular religion, but I don’t have any hostility toward any religion and I actually respect religious people such as Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous German composer who was also a devout Christian.

What is the difference between working in Korea and working in Hollywood?

The production process in Hollywood is much faster, but I think there are both pros and cons to it.

Actors here don’t check the monitor unless told to do so by the director, unlike Korean actors, who are sensitive about how they look on screen. Even after the director says “cut,” they stay in character and wait for the next take.

Also, there was no editing in the field, compared to what happens in Korea, where there are many discussions in the field with repeated viewings of what was just filmed. I actually prefer having those discussions, but there is nothing like that here.

But there are good things about working in Hollywood - the process is effective and the director’s opinion is easily accepted.

What made the biggest impression on you while you were working here in Hollywood and what did you learn?

I was impressed that there are so many good stories and screenplays here. It also seems like many kinds of movies could be shot here, such as films dealing with race, which is hard to imagine doing in Korea.

What I learned here is that I need to speed up the production process. In fact, I often worried that filming was taking too long. I finished shooting “Stoker” in only 480 hours, compared with the more than 90 days it took to shoot my last film, “Thirst.” But, of course, the scale of “Thirst” was much larger than “Stoker.”

What are some of the good things about the Korean production system?

I realized that our assistant directors and production departments are more valuable than I’d thought, but I missed our assistant directors the most.

The assistant director here once scared me a bit when he told me I’d have to give up some scenes if I didn’t finish a shot in 15 minutes.

Cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon must have been a great help to you.

He was. I appreciated his presence on the several trips I made here with him. He was great at overseeing several departments, such as lighting and set decoration, even though it was his first time working in Hollywood and he doesn’t speak much English. I was surprised at his ability to solve almost any problem with just 10 words. He was also popular on set and even got shoulder rubs from Nicole Kidman.

While you were working on this film, did your opinion about the status of Korean film change - and if so, how? And how does it compare with other cultural exports such as K-pop or dramas?

Actually, most of the American public dislikes reading subtitles, except for movie buffs. But people in the industry in Hollywood are familiar with Korean film and they know all the names of the famous Korean directors and the titles of their works. In the global film industry, Korean film is certainly a rising power. I’m not certain about dramas and music, but film has continued to attract attention.

From where do you think Korean film gets its power?

I think it comes from the fact that Korean films aren’t telling the same old stories. Also, the characters are written very well, to show emotions that are appropriate to their circumstances and how those emotions change in extreme situations. In addition, Korean films keep audiences from dozing off because they are true to the characteristics of each genre.

How do you maintain a balance between cinematic quality and the impulse to create a box office hit?

When I’m writing a screenplay, I only think about quality. If investors decide to support the film, then it’s probably going to achieve some degree of recognition. But if the screenplay is rejected by investors, I just start another work.

You always emphasize the importance of individuality. Where does your own sense of individuality come from?

It’s more important to me to do something unusual than to do something new. I don’t approach anything with the idea of making it new or unique, but I try not to follow what others are doing. When I’m shooting a very normal scene, I don’t try to invent a creative angle or camera movement, but I try to avoid falling into the same old patterns. That’s the most important thing for my individuality.

What things have you read that have helped you create your films?

I’ve been affected by all kinds of novels - mostly Eastern and Western detective stories including pure mysteries, sci-fi and hard-boiled detective fiction. I’ve also been influenced by other types of fiction and plays.

What’s next for you? Will you continue to work in Hollywood?

I was planning to make another film, “The Axe,” before I started shooting “Stoker.” But while I was still seeking investors for that film, I received the screenplay for “Stoker.” So “The Axe” will be my next work, though I need to do some more work on the casting and attracting investors. I’m also thinking about making a historical film, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do that.

Regarding your other question, I’d like to continue working in both Hollywood and Korea. Actually, it doesn’t matter to me where a film is made. If the story is good, I’ll follow it.

What’s most important to you in life?

My film “I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK,” is very special to me because it shows what I’ve learned in my life. The main character, Park Il-soon [Jung Ji-hoon], puts it best in one scene when he says: “Give up hope and cheer up!” Through him, I was trying to say that we should think realistically without delusions that are based on the lies other people tell us. But it never says that we should be depressed or suicidal. The important thing is to cheer up.

The most important message in the movie is that at least we have to eat. My answer to your question is also the same - don’t forget to eat.


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  • 2 weeks later...

December 29, 2005

Park Chan Wook's Aesthetics of Violence

Written by James Mudge



The new wave of Korean cinema continues to grow in popularity across the world, and few have been more responsible for this than Park Chan Wook, a director of stunning inventiveness and vitality. Despite a somewhat slow start to his career, Park has gradually won over critics on the international stage, garnering a number of prizes at various festivals, including the prestigious Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 for Oldboy (cast: Choi Min Sik, Yoo Ji Tae, Gang Hye Jung). This has been coupled with almost unanimous praise from within the industry, with the likes of Quentin Tarantino falling over themselves to herald him as one of the talented directors working in modern cinema. Perhaps the most telling accolade bestowed on Park came domestically, in the form of a special cultural award, recognizing his work in enhancing the image of Korean films abroad.


In the West, the rise of Park's fame has been similar to that of John Woo in the 1990s, with films like J.S.A. (cast: Lee Byung Hun, Song Kang Ho, Lee Young Ae) and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (cast: Song Kang Ho, Shin Ha Kyun, Bae Du Na) winning the all-important internet fan boy vote and spreading the word, paving the way for more mainstream acceptance and success. Although Park himself has said that he would not necessarily be against working in Hollywood itself, he has thus far resisted its attempts to court him, most notably turning down the chance to remake classic horror The Evil Dead. This was quite probably a wise move as it is questionable whether his style or not would translate, with so many of his films deliberately subverting the Hollywood ideal, avoiding the omnipresent central romance, and featuring fractured narratives with uneasy moral choices. Despite this, his fame in the West is only likely to grow, as all of his major works have now had cinema releases, and the inevitable remake process is already underway, with an American version of Oldboy set to emerge in the near future.

Park has been compared by critics to several Western film makers, such as Fincher and Lynch, though it could be argued that these are simply knee jerk reactions based on the look of his films, or by people who choose to take them at face value and label them as "odd".


In fact, upon further consideration, it can be argued that Park most resembles Hitchcock, sharing his wickedly playful nature, not only in some of the delightful visual trickery he often employs, but in the way that he deliberately and with a morbid glee subverts character expectations and the way that the audience identifies with them. In this, Park goes even further than Hitchcock in muddying the moral waters, at times asking the audience to choose between protagonists (perhaps "antagonists" would be a more fitting term), giving a number of complex and sympathetic motivations for their actions and violence, which are often the result of the cruelty of fate rather than actual malice. From this, the films play knowingly upon the fact that the viewers are all too aware that they too could become criminals or worse given a similar set of hellish circumstances. Obsession tends to be the force driving characters of both directors, generally in a manner which dredges up the darker aspects of the human psyche, quite often in subtly sexual terms.


Another characteristic Park has in common with Hitchcock is that while his films tend to have an aura of violence, and the taut expectation of impending brutality, they tend to be so without being particularly graphic, avoiding the gory details in favor of studying their actual effects on the characters. This can be seen in Oldboy, for example, where the scenes of mutilation and teeth removal are exploited for excruciatingly painful tension, though without showing any unnecessary or gratuitous blood. In many ways, this is the mark of a true master; able to manipulate the viewer into thinking they have seen far more terrible things than they actually have, much as Hitchcock did with the infamous shower scene in Psycho.


Although in some circles, Park is referred to as "Mr. Vengeance", this name, which suggests a focus on the more visceral and brutal aspects of his films, rather than the literary or intellectual, and so does the man somewhat of a disservice. Indeed, other, non-cinematic influences can clearly be seen in his work, notably Kafka and Dostoevsky, with themes of imprisonment, paranoia and punishment often coming to the fore. Classical Greek tragedy also rears its head, cunningly mixed with comedy, driven by the undeniable and unavoidable power of fate, and laced together with a bleak and ominous sense of dramatic irony. This is especially obvious in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, whose doomed characters are drawn unwillingly but irrevocably into hatred and murder, and also in Oldboy, with its labyrinth of Oedipal horrors. The hopelessness and nihilism in his films are often ambiguous, being shocking and darkly amusing, bringing a sly grin and a touch of gallows humor to the most horrifying situations.


This level of depth and intricacy is perhaps unsurprising when considering the fact that Park actually started out studying philosophy at Sogang University in Korea, exploring the concept of aesthetics with a view to becoming an art critic. However, after becoming disillusioned by the opportunities offered by his department, he found himself turning instead to photography to feed his creative urges. As with many directors, Park discovered his true calling after a momentous and life altering cinematic experience, in this case seeing Vertigo for the first time. Inspired, Park began writing and publishing critical film studies, and upon graduation moved into the industry, getting his first job in 1988 working as an assistant director to Gwak Jae Young on A Sketch of a Rainy Day.


In 1992 he wrote and directed his debut feature, the thriller Moon is the Sun's Dream, which unfortunately met with little success, forcing Park to work as a film critic in order to make ends meet. Sadly, the same fate met his 1997 sophomore effort, Saminjo, a comedy which failed to gather much notice, as did The Anarchists, for which he wrote the script. Thankfully, Park remained undeterred, and returned in 2000 with J.S.A (Joint Security Area), a film about soldiers camped on opposite sides of the North-South demilitarized zone, which became the highest grossing hit in Korea (until the similarly themed, but markedly less sophisticated Shiri). The film was a success not only due to its political relevance, coming out at a time when relations between the two governments were improving, but because of its emotional richness, being based around a strong tale of tragic brotherhood, duty and honor. Every last ounce of the tension inherent in its scenario was skillfully wrung out with a complex plot filled with political conspiracies and deception. As a result of such universally applicable themes, the film proved to be an international success, finally launching Park's directorial career proper.


J.S.A. also established Park as a director of considerable technical skill, being the first Korean film to be shot on Super 35mm, which gave it the look and feel of a Hollywood blockbuster. More importantly, it gave Park the opportunity to build up more complicated screen compositions and to experiment with deep focus techniques.


Interestingly, Park chose to follow J.S.A., which had been a relatively mainstream effort, albeit a brave one, by taking another direction entirely. His next film, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, was a bleak drama about botched kidnappings and black market organ transplants, with a sophisticated and intricate narrative, and a set of doomed characters locked into a dance of death. Interestingly, it was written by the multi-talented Lee My Yeong, also responsible for J.S.A., and who went on to act in the likes of My Sassy Girl and A Bittersweet Life. The film exists very much in an amoral, though depressingly realistic void, and makes a profound statement about the ways in which society creates criminals, who are quite often good people driven to savagery by forces beyond their control. Through this, Park was able to deconstruct the nature of retribution, a theme usually glamorized in cinema, here portrayed in a believable and wretched manner. This would be an idea often associated with Park, and which he would return to in his next two films, forming a thematic trilogy.


Although shot in a distinctly minimalist style, the film was visually very impressive, and saw Park employing some quite exquisite and strangely tender imagery, made all the more powerful by the fact that it was so often played off against acts of brutality. The film as a whole was incredibly intense, with a ruthless and unpredictable nature, and was met with mixed reactions upon its initial domestic release. Since then, the film has grown in popularity, with numerous international screenings, including the 2003 Fant-Asia international festival, where it won the director the "Best Asian Film" award.


Park's next film, Oldboy, proved to be his greatest success to date, winning a slew of prominent awards and enjoying praise from critics across the world. The gripping plot follows a man, reduced to an almost bestial state after emerging from an inexplicable, 15 year long imprisonment, searching for those responsible to make them pay for ruining his life. Although shot through with a streak of dark humour, Oldboy is an incredibly intense and involving experience, moving at a breathtaking pace through to its punishing and moving climax. Park again uses his characters to meditate on the essence of vengeance, cruelly pushing them into situations which are astoundingly horrible, yet perfect in their intricacy. The film's ending is more shocking and affecting than any in recent memory, and stays with the viewer a long time after the ambiguous epilogue.


Park followed this by contributing the segment Cut to the 2004 horror anthology Three... Extremes (which also featured Takashi Miike's rather confusing Box, and Fruit Chan's excellent Dumplings), in which a film director is captured and tortured by a homicidal fan, ultimately being forced to make a horrific decision to save his own life. A short, sharp shock, the piece has all the trademarks of Park's full length films, being concerned with exploring the human capacity for monstrous actions. There is a jovial ghoulishness throughout, despite the subject matter, and some clever visual symbolism used to notch up the growing tension as the threats and violence escalate. Although limited by its short running time, leaving the impression that longer could have been spent fleshing out the characters, "Cut" remains enjoyable and worthwhile, and served well to cement Park's growing reputation.


Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (cast: Lee Young Ae, Choi Min Sik), the long awaited final entry in his revenge trilogy, is Park's latest effort. The film has already enjoyed considerable commercial and critical success in its native Korea, as well as at film festivals the world over, including Venice, where it won several prizes. Slower, and with a less frenetic pace than Oldboy, though ultimately no less ferocious, it attempts to bring a feminine perspective to the revenge motif, though in an honest and thoughtful manner and one far removed from the trashy theatrics of Kill Bill. This time, a great deal of the violence occurs off screen, suggesting a desire to draw the focus away from the visceral aspect of the proceedings, probably due to some critics having in the past labeled Park as a purveyor of "shock" cinema. The film is however equally disturbing, though more through its ruthlessness and lack of compassion, painting a grim, unrelenting picture not only of retribution, but of the consequences it holds for all those involved.


Where Park goes from here is still uncertain, with mooted upcoming projects including a bizarre cyborg love story, and a horror film, either about God and the Devil, or vampires. Whichever he chooses will surely be fervently anticipated by his ever growing fan base and boasting the same contemplative mixture of violence, bleak humor, grim philosophizing, and cinematic skill for which he has rightly become known.

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February 1, 2011

Chan-wook Park Movies

by ADMIN oddfilms.com

Chan-wook Park movies frequently deal with negative emotions and violent situations, but there’s always a method to his apparent madness. Take his “Vengeance Trilogy,” for example: While each film in this popular South Korean series revolves around getting payback against someone else, Park never glorifies these actions. His heroes and heroines pay an awful price for their revenge, ultimately proving that violence only leads to more violence.

Inspired to become a director after seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Chan-wook Park has become a leading figure in South Korean cinema, and his admirers include such notable figures as Quentin Tarantino. With his well-framed shots, generous use of on-screen violence, and frequent collaborations with actors such as Kang-ho Song, Min-sik Choi, and Young-ae Lee, the films of Chan-wook Park are almost immediately recognizable to fans of international cinema.

Moon Is the Sun’s Dream (1992) – Mr. Park made his directorial debut with this tale of a gangster who begins an affair with his boss’ mistress, steals from his organization, and then goes on the run. This leads to his lady love being sold into prostitution, a daring rescue, and orders from on high to assassinate his best friend. A powerful first effort that takes elements of a crime movies and adds in a bittersweet romance. Park’s talent for manipulating the emotions of his audience are immediately evident.

Judgment (1999) – A 26-minute short that’s shot in black-and-white and presents humanity at its worst. Inspired by the real-life collapse of a Seoul department store, this film tells of the 500 lives that were lost and the scramble by unscrupulous individuals to claim the bodies and thereby grab a chunk of the money offered to the families of the victims. Set entirely in a South Korean morgue, we watch with disgust as a husband and wife argue with a morgue attendant over who gets to claim the corpse of a young girl. A powerful and ironic indictment of rampant greed.

Joint Security Area (2000) – Quentin Tarantino named this one of his favorite films made since 1992, Korean moviegoers made it one of the highest-grossing movies in the country‘s history, and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun even presented it as a gift to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. Set in the well-guarded DMZ between the two nations, Joint Security Area begins with a firefight and the death of two North Korean soldiers. An investigative team from neutral nations is called in, and it’s led by Major Sophie E. Jang (Young Ae Lee), a half-Korean who’s making her first trip to the country. As she digs deeper and interviews witnesses on both sides, she comes to realize that there’s more to the story than what’s included in the reports. A touching tale of friendship in the face of political brinksmanship, with standout performances from Kang-ho Song and Byung-hun Lee.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) – The first entry in Chan-wook Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy,” this sad work deals with desperation and mounting tragedy as it follows a deaf/mute factory worker named Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin) who’s trying to help his ailing sister obtain a kidney transplant. Things go wrong from the start, with Ryu turning to the black market for help and losing one of his kidneys and all his money in the procesfor his sister’s surgery. Along with his anarchist girlfriend (Doona Bae), he next sets out to kidnap the young daughter of an executive at his former job, planning to use the ransom money to solve his problems. But Ryu’s streak of terrible luck continues, and soon he’s being hunted down by the little girl’s vengeance-minded father (Kang-ho Song). It’s a bleak film where nobody wins, but it’s also bristling with originality and plenty of compassion for its subjects.

If You Were Me (2003) – Commissioned by the National Human Right Commission in South Korea, this collection of six short films by six different directors tackles the subject of discrimination in Korea (with one exception). Park gets in on the action with a segment titled “Never Ending Peace And Love,” in which he tells the true story of a Nepalese woman living in Korea and subjected to economic exploitation and racial prejudice. Starring Dal-su Oh and Ji-hyeon Lee.

Oldboy (2003) – My favorite of all Chan-wook Park movies, Oldboy begins with drunken businessman Oh Dae-Su (Min-sik Choi) being abducted and imprisoned in a room. Fed nothing but fried dumplings and frequently gassed into unconsciousness to prevent suicide, Dae-su is held there for the next 15 years. When he’s abruptly released, he sets out to find the responsible parties and exact revenge. But a budding romance with a female sushi chef (Hye-jeong Kang) complicates matters, and does the realization that his tormentor’s twisted plan for revenge is far from over. The Jeong-hoon Jeong cinematography is beautiful, the tortured performance from Choi is impressive in its range, and the scenes involving Dae-Su and a claw hammer are strangely cathartic. Quentin Tarantino flipped out when this middle installment in Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy” was released at the Cannes Film Festival, and it’s since rose to a lofty position as one of the greatest Asian films ever made.

Three...Extremes (2004) – A follow-up to the horror anthology Three, this film brings in more established directors from three different countries (Park Chan-wook, Fruit Chan, and Takashi Miike) and asks them to produce a tale of terror. What follows are segments about dumplings that fight aging, a girl who dreams of being trapped inside a box in the snow, and (courtesy of Park) a film director who‘s held hostage by a vengeful extra and forced to play twisted games for the safety of his wife‘s fingers.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) – The final film in Chan-wook Park’s excellent “Vengeance Trilogy,” this is the story of Geum-ja Lee (Young Ae Lee), a woman who voluntarily went to prison for a murder she didn’t commit. The movie begins with her release, and she wastes no time calling in favors from fellow inmates she aided during incarceration. As Geum-ja searches for her long-lost daughter and plans payback against the real killer (Min-sik Choi), she stumbles across a series of crimes that cry out for an ever greater degree of revenge. Young Ae Lee owns the screen as Geum-ja, a loving mother wearing red eyeshadow, wielding a double-barreled pistol, and constantly dreaming of murdering the man who separated her from her child.

I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006) – Love can be found in the strangest of places, and this romantic comedy from Chan-wook Park goes inside a Korean mental institution to tell the story of Young-goon (Su-jeong Im), a young woman who believes herself to be a cyborg. When she’s not listening for special instructions from her radio or licking batteries in place of eating food, she’s plotting revenge against the same “men in white” who once took away her beloved grandmother. Then she meets a fellow patient named Il-soon, a man who wears rabbit masks and believes he has the ability to steal traits from those around him. When he steals Young-goon’s capacity for sympathy, she embarks on a mission of self-destruction and he finds himself quickly falling in love. A quirky and charming tale that you’ll never see told in Hollywood (at least not in its current form).

Thirst (2009) – His previous film was about mental patients falling in love, but this time Park turns towards the supernatural for a movie about a priest (Kang-ho Song) who becomes a vampire and finds himself drawn to the unhappy wife (Ok-bin Kim) of an old friend. Filled with dark comedy and plenty of steamy sex (including the first full-frontal nudity in a mainstream Korean film), Thirst is a mature and frequently disturbing look at life after death and the endless quest for love. Highly recommended for fans of vampire movies, especially those looking for something different.

That concludes our look at the best Chan-wook Park movies, but check back with OddFilms in the future for more works from this talented director.

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April 30, 2012

Jessica Alba Wants to Meet Park Chan Wook

Source: CJ E&M enewsWorld Park, HyunMin Translation Credit : Stewart Ho

Jessica Alba has appeared in her first Korean television talk show.

Last week, tvN’s Baek Ji Yeon’s People Inside held an exclusive interview with the Hollywood actress, during her well-publicized vacation in Korea, and the interview is set to air on April 30. During this interview, Jessica Alba revealed her fondness for Korean movies and the Korean director, Park Chan Wook, and even said she would like to appear in a Korean movie in the future.


Jessica Alba said, “At some point I would like to shoot an action movie in Korea. Director Park Chan Wook’s Old Boy characters were strong and the plot was complex and delicate and was like listening to beautiful music. I might even lose my mind if I meet director Park Chan Wook. If director Park ever comes to Baek Ji Yeon’s People Inside please tell him to give me a call.”

Asked what she thought of herself, Jessica Alba described herself as a boring nerd and talked about the environmentally-friendly child care product company she set up, The Honest Company.

In addition, the sleeveless hanbok-style dress she wore for the interview was revealed to have been custom-made for the actress and designed by famous designer Kim Mi Hee, who has designed clothes for such Hollywood stars as Nicky Hilton and Sandra Oh.

The interview also touched on Jessica Album’s acting career, family life and more and will air on tvN on April 30.

Photo credit: tvN Reach reporter Park HyunMin on Twitter @happygato!

May 1, 2012

Jessica Alba Keen to Work with 'Oldboy' Director

Source: englishnews@

Hollywood star Jessica Alba says she is interested in Korean cinema and film director Park Chan-wook.

Alba, who was in Korea on holiday recently, told cable channel tvN's "Baek Ji-yeon's People Inside" on Monday that she wants to film a Korean movie one day.

She was particularly impressed with Park's "Oldboy." The characters were complicated but mysterious and they came to her "like music," she said. She added she would probably faint if she met Park in person.

Alba arrived on April 21 from Japan on a family holiday with husband Cash Warren and daughters Honor (4) and Haven (1). They left on April 25.

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May 13, 2012


by Todd Brown twitchfilm.com

After literally years of preparation The Host director Bong Joon-ho has finally begun principal photography on his English language debut, Snow Piercer.

An adaptation of the popular French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, Snow Piercer boasts an impressive international cast - Song Kang-ho, Ewan Bremner, John Hurt, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and more - and the presence of Oldboy director Park Chan-wook as a producer.

Principal photography began last week in the Czech Republic and will continue until we're all frozen under a thick layer of ice.

via Film Biz Asia

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May 21, 2012

Ha Jung-woo, Ha Ji-won Voted Most Popular Movie Stars

Source: englishnews@chosun.com

Ha Jung-woo and Ha Ji-won have been voted the most popular actor and actress in Korea in an email poll by the Chosun Ilbo and the nation's largest film ticketing site MaxMovie.

Some 25,784 people voted from April 18 to May 5. The two drew 10.1 and 13.7 percent of the votes respectively. But Song Kang-ho and Jeon Do-yeon were chosen as the best -- as opposed to most popular -- actor and actress, with 18 and 23.3 percent.

Since the poll targeted online users of MaxMovie who had been to the cinema at least once last year, it probably reflects moviegoers' preferences more accurately than other surveys.

Popularity vs. Acting Skills

Comparison with a similar survey in April last year reveals that people prefer actors with both acting skills and popular appeal. Ha Jung-woo soared from eighth place in the popularity list in 2011 to the top this year after he appeared in a series of recent hit movies including "The Client," "Love Fiction," and "Nameless Gangster."

New entrants on the list are Park Hae-il (fourth with 8.7 percent), Kim Yoon-seok (sixth with 4 percent), and Choi Min-sik (eighth with 3.6 percent). All the three impressed moviegoers with their acting skills in box office hits such as "Arrow - The Ultimate Weapon," "Punch," or "Nameless Gangster."

In contrast, Won Bin and Kang Dong-won, who ranked first and third respectively last year, fell to fifth and ninth place since they have not appeared in any films released this year. Jang Dong-gun and Lee Byung-hun did not make the list although they took the No. 6 and 10 spots last year.

Nine of the 10 most popular actors were also on the list of the most skilled actors, with the exception of Kang Dong-won in the former and Sol Kyung-gu in the latter.

But among actresses, only six found their names on both of the lists. Moon So-ri (fifth with 6.1 percent), Yoon Yeo-jeong (sixth with 3.8 percent), Kim Hye-ja (ninth with 2.5 percent) and Kim Yun-jin (10th with 2.5 percent) were voted as having good acting skills but not on the popularity list, suggesting that the popularity of actresses has less correlation with their acting skills than their male counterparts.

Among directors, Bong Joon-ho was picked as the best with 19.8 percent. Im Kwon-taek slipped from the top last year to third place with 9.22 percent. Kang Woo-suk and Kang Je-gyu, star directors in the 1990s and the early 2000s, ranked in the top 10 but were outperformed by Bong and Park Chan-wook (second place with 9.68 percent), who are becoming well known overseas.

Kang Je-gyu saw his ranking fall from third in 2011 to sixth (3.84 percent) this year after his film "My Way" tanked. Kang Woo-suk managed to hold on to fourth place but he garnered a mere 5.72 percent, down from last year’s 14.1 percent.

This year's top 10 list has the same names on it as last year's, with the exception of Byun Young-joo (eighth with 3.50 percent), but the order changed. "Once established, directors' recognition appears to last longer than actors," MaxMovie analyzed.

Theater Attendance

When asked about their favorite ways of watching films, 82.5 percent said going to movie theaters, up from last year's 66.1 percent. Next came downloading movies on the Internet at 8.1 percent, down from 27.7 percent last year. A glut of 3D movies seems to attract people to cinemas.

The Korean article



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May 1, 2012

Director Park Chan-wook's Hollywood Film Rated "R"

Source:KBS Global

True to his typical edgy, racey, and graphic style, famed Korean director Park Chan-wook's upcoming Hollywood film has been rated "R" for "Restricted".

The film, "Stoker" has been confirmed to be rated R for its "disturbing violent and sexual content". This means that those under the age of 17 without their parent/guardian will not be allowed to watch the movie.

Of course this bit of news would come as no surprise to anyone's who watched some of Park's other noted works -- "Revenge Is Mine", "Old Boy", and "Thirst".

"Stoker" is being categorized in the Mystery/Drama category for its storyline about a young girl who comes home from her father's funeral to meet an uncle that she didn't even know existed.

Much public interest went to the fact that actor Wentworth Miller wrote the draft for the film. Miller had garnered quite a fan base in Korea for his role in the series "Prison Break". The cast includes actress Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Dermot Mulroney.

Though it contains no reference to vampires, the movie was named after the author Bram Stoker, famed for his work "Dracula". Park is said to have been partly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's film "Shadow Of A Doubt".

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June 4, 2012

Look East Korean film fest: 'Poetry,' 'The Host' in 3-D top lineup

Ten films from South Korea, including 2010's acclaimed "Poetry" and 2009's Park Chan-wook vampire drama "Thirst," will screen as part of the inaugural Look East: Korean Film Festival, which will take place at Grauman's Chinese Theatre June 23-24, organizers announced Monday.

The lineup includes the 2005 film "A Bittersweet Life," starring Lee Byung-hun, who will appear in person for a Q&A and who will be among the first Korean performers in the history of the legendary Hollywood movie palace to have his handprints and footprints added to the theater's courtyard.

Also showing at the festival will be the 1958 drama "Flower in Hell" and the 1949 film "A Hometown in My Heart," both U.S. premieres; 2004's "3 Iron" from respected auteur Kim Ki-duk; "Poetry," from Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong and starring the acclaimed actress Yun Jung-hee; and Todd McCarthy's 2007 documentary "Pierre Rissient: Man of Cinema." French filmmaker and champion of Korean cinema Rissient will be on hand for a Q&A.

A 3-D version of the 2006 horror film "The Host," directed by Bong Joon-ho, also will be included in the lineup.

For a complete list of films, information about tickets to screenings and other events related to the festival, go to www.LookEastFestival.com

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July 4, 2012

Park Chan-wook: Director with blood-coated lens

By Andrew Salmon The Korea times


Director Park Chan-wook, left, waves as he is awarded with actor Choi Min-shik for the grand prix for the film “Old Boy” during the award ceremony of the 57th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 24, 2004. / Korea Times file

Tension and violence sell, but this may not be apparent to the vast majority of fans of “hallyu,” the much-discussed “Korean Wave” of pop culture that has swept outward from the shores of the peninsula since, roughly, the turn of the millennium.

The two standout genres of hallyu, in sales terms, are clearly K-pop and K-soaps. Of the former, Korean management companies have come up with a winning formula, churning out a range of cute, well-trained and above all wholesome boy- and girl-bands whose appeal is very different from the rebellious, opinionated, drug-spattered figures who stagger across the stage of Western rock ‘n roll. Soap is similarly sugar-coated: Most dramas are centered upon pretty boys and pretty girls in pretty clothes and pretty houses/landscapes engaging in genteel, “no-sex-please-we’re-Korean” romances. 

Clearly these two genres speak to Asians: Hallyu has generated a massive wave of positive equity for Korea’s national brand across the continent, making Korea (arguably) the coolest country in the region.

But ― despite hopeful hype in the vernacular media to the contrary ― neither has won significant critical or commercial success in the West. To date, Korean pop artists have had no more luck scoring Billboard Chart hits in the United States than Korean soap operas have had in winning prime-time television viewing slots from Western Europe broadcasters.


However, the third arm of hallyu ― Korean film ― is on the cutting edge. Unrestrained by the fluffy-but-strict parameters that cage K-pop and K-soaps, new-generation Korean cinema has had no qualms in presenting spectacles that challenge audiences, embrace risks and shatter taboos.

As such, contemporary Korean film has taken on everything from shadowy Cold War bloodbaths (“Silmido;” Director Kang Woo-suk, 2003) to social critiques wrapped around man-eating monster yarns (“The Host;” Director Bong Joon-ho, 2006); from sizzling serial killer thrillers (“Chaser;” Director Na Hong-jin, 2008) to Korean War blockbusters (“Brotherhood of War;” Director Kang Jae-kyu, 2004); from zany action adventures (“The Good, The Bad and the Weird” Director Kim Ji-won, 2008) to harrowing real-life crime dramas (“The Crucible;” Hwang Dong-hyuk; 2011).

Of the new generation of Korea auteur, none is more avant garde in his mastery of the cinema of tension and violence than Park Chan-wook. Park’s “Vengeance” trilogy has done what no K-popster or K-soap has yet managed to do: Break beyond Asia and win both critical and popular acclaim among Western audiences.

Park was born in Seoul in 1963. While a philosophy major at Sogang University, he ran a cinema club and wrote on film. After graduating, he entered the industry, working as an assistant director, before moved up to direct his first feature, “The Moon is the Sun’s Dream” in 1992, followed by “Trio” in 1997. Neither made enough of a splash to permit him to make a full-time living as a director, forcing him to write as a film critic to make ends meet. His next feature would change that, dramatically.


“JSA” (“Joint Security Area”) exploded across screens in 2000. Released at the height of hopes for President Kim Dae-jung’s bold and unprecedented “Sunshine Policy” of engagement with North Korea, it was perfectly positioned to capture the zeitgeist. In common with the previous year’s North-South auctioneer “Shiri” it did indeed, portray what had been rarely seen before on Korea screens: Well-defined and sympathetic North Korean characters. 

That, however, did not explain “JSA’s” success. Based on a novel, it was a tautly plotted thriller about two pairs of South and North Korean soldiers who, stationed near the infamous JSA, the tense truce area in the middle of the demilitarized zone between the two nations, forge a dangerous amity.

Working via a non-linear storyline, the film brilliantly blends the pathos of characters from a divided nation becoming acquainted with a mounting tension as their forbidden friendship spawns its inevitable tragic consequences. The success of “JSA” ― it was, at the time, Korea’s biggest ever box-office hit ― granted Park considerable artistic freedom for his next project. “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” (2002) was a very different film from “JSA.” 

Starting with a laid-off man attempting to obtain a kidney transplant for his terminally ill sister, it careens off into left field with organ trading gangs, kidnapping and terrorism. Stunningly shot, gruesomely violent and spiked with moral conundrums ― Do evil means justify good ends? ― it was a hit in Korea but only gained niche visibility in the United States. 


Park’s international profile would soar with his next film, “Old Boy.” Based on a Japanese manga (comic book), the central idea of this 2003 film is compelling in its simplicity: A man is locked up in a shoddy motel room for 15 years with no idea why. When he is suddenly released, with no explanation, he swears to track down his tormentors and deliver bloody vengeance. Noted for both its action set pieces and a brilliant central performance by Choi Min-sik, it was voted by CNN viewers one of “The Ten Best Asian Films of All Time;” the BBC called it “a sadistic masterpiece.” Its greatest tribute, however, came from the enfant terrible of action cinema himself. 

American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino had been deeply impressed by “JSA” and was blown away by “Old Boy,” a film closer to his own oeuvre in both style and subject matter. As the head of the Cannes Film Festival Judging Panel in 2004, he reportedly lobbied for “Old Boy” to win the Palm D’Or, the festival’s top prize; it eventually won the Grand Prix, the number two gong, that year. An American remake is reportedly in the works; Spike Lee has been named as a possible director. 

Park obviously had a winning formula. He topped off “Old Boy” with the third film in his loose “Vengeance Trilogy,” 2005’s “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.” This featured a kind-hearted and beautiful young woman leaving prison after being unjustly jailed for a murder she did not commit and dedicating herself to tracking down the real killer. In what was, perhaps, an effort to top the shock grade of his earlier films, Park makes the villain in this one (Choi Min-sik, the wild-looking protagonist from “Old Boy”) a child murderer and producer of snuff films.

Like its predecessors, “Sympathy” was beautifully, if gruesomely framed and filmed. While acknowledging the vengeful emotion many parents of murdered children may feel, “Sympathy’s” dark climax has a strong suggestion of Nietzche (“He who fights demons must beware, lest he thereby becomes a demon himself”). The film netted three awards at the Venice International Film Festival in 2005, and Park was invited to join that festival’s jury the following year.

“Old Boy” created an audience for both its prequel and its sequel; the three films have since been released internationally in a boxed set, and are frequently discussed together. Some may recoil from their graphic sadism, but their ferocious power is undeniable, and what raises the “Vengeance” trilogy beyond those of most contemporary auctioneers is that Park acknowledges and shows the results of violence, rather than using it simply as a cinematic device to leverage excitement.

Since “Sympathy,” Park has made a range of award-winning films. His “I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK,” a quirky romantic comedy set in a mental institution, won the Alfred Bauer Price at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007; his vampire film, “Thirst” won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2009; and his horror short “Night Fishing” (2011) - shot entirely on an I-phone ― won the Golden Bear award in Berlin in 2011 for Best Short Film. For his latest project, Park has looked further afield.

Korean actors Rain, Lee Byung-hun and Jang Dong-gun have all fared far less well in Hollywood than in Chungmuro. In 2011, Park ― who, among all Asian directors, has name value thanks to “Old Boy” ― dipped his toe into American waters with his English-language debut. “Stoker” a horror movie starring Nichole Kidman, is reportedly in post production. How it fares remains to be seen, but if Park seizes full artistic license and overcomes Hollywood convention, the film will no doubt be fascinating. 
Speaking more generally, Park has continued to make interesting, quality films, but thus far, none of his subsequent works have managed to re-capture the Hitchkokian tension that animates “JSA,” nor generated the shockwaves that his “Vengeance Trilogy” spread worldwide. 

While members of Korea’s fine arts community may well question whether blood-spattered revenge flicks are in any way an appropriate representative of modern Korean art, there can be no question of Park’s global influence any more than they can be of the perplexing popularity of violent films. “Old Boy,” ― and to a lesser extent, the other two movies in the trilogy ― are firmly embedded in the cult of noir cinema worldwide.

That ― plus the international honors showered upon him ― makes Park one of the most influential and iconic Korean artists of our time. 

Andrew Salmon is a reporter and the author of three works on modern Korean history ― “U.S. Business and the Korean Miracle: U.S. Enterprises in Korea, 1866 — the Present,” “To the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea, 1951,” and “Scorched Earth, Black Snow: Britain and Australia in the Korean War, 1950.”

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July 17, 2012

Chan-wook Park's English-Language Debut, STOKER, Gets Release Date

by Matt Goldberg Collider.com l Nate


We were starting to wonder when Stoker, the English-language debut from Oldboy director Chan-wook Park, would get released.  The film went in front of cameras last September, and we haven’t heard anything about it since.  Today, Box Office Mojo reports that Stoker will open March 1, 2013.  The plot centers on a young girl (Mia Wasikowska) who encounters her mysterious uncle (Matthew Goode) while mourning her death of her father (Dermot Mulroney).  

The impressive cast also includes Nicole Kidman, Jackie Weaver, Lucas Till, and Alden Ehrenreich.  I’ve been told that the movie could be described as a horror, a thriller, a drama, or a combination of all three, so it will be interesting to see how Fox Searchlight plans to sell it.

It won’t be an easy sell in a crowded March 2013, which could almost pass for a summer month with the amount of heavy-hitters it has on hand.  Stoker will be sharing its weekend with Neill Blomkamp‘s District 9 follow-up, Elysium, which stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.  Even if Stoker does well, it will be tough to have legs in a month that also includes Oz the Great and Powerful, Now You See Me, the remake of Carrie, the Tom Hanks drama Captain Phillips, DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods, Jack the Giant Killer, and the delayed 3D release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

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July 18, 2012

BONG Joon-ho’s 'Snow Piercer' wraps shooting

Source: KOBIZ 

CJ E&M has announced that director BONG Joon-ho’s (<The Host>, <Memories of Murder>) latest project, <Snow Piercer>, wrapped shooting in Prague over the previous weekend. Nearly all of the shoot was carried out on location at the Czech Republic’s spacious Barrandov Studio, with only one day of filming in Austria for scenery purposes. With a budget of KRW 45 billion (approx. USD $39.2 million), <Snow Piercer> will set the record for most expensive Korean film produced to date. The previous holder of the record was KANG Je-gyu’s <My Way>, with a budget of KRW 28 billion (roughly USD $24.5 million). 

The film, which is based on the French graphic novel <Le Transperceneige>, is about a group of survivors stranded on a train in a post-apocalyptic world, endlessly circling a desert of snow and ice. It features an international ensemble cast, with <Captain America> star Chris EVANS playing the lead, along with BONG regular SONG Kang-go, John HURT, Ed HARRIS, Tilda SWINTON, Octavia SPENCER, Jamie BELL and Ewen BREMNER. 

Director PARK Chan-wook’s Moho Film is producing. Investor and local distributor CJ E&M also grabbed the film’s international sales rights just before this year’s Cannes Film Market. BONG will now take the film to Korea for post-production. A release date has not yet been set.

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July 30, 2012

Korean Film Fest in Australia rolls out ambitious 2012 line-up

Source: KOBIZ

In only its third year, the 2012 Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) has released its line-up, which contains a variety of contemporary classics as well as some of the Korea’s biggest blockbusters from the last two years. KOFFIA will hold screenings in three different cities across Australia from late August to early September. Panorama, the fest’s largest section and centerpiece, will screen seven features.

Headlining is 2011’s undisputed box office champ <War of the Arrows> along with surprise hit <Sunny> and 2012’s Cannes selections -- HONG Sangsoo’s <In Another Country> and IM Sang-soo’s <The Taste of Money>. Rounding out the section is Korea’s 2012 Oscar submission, <The Front Line>, the senior love story <Late Blossom> and another film from the increasingly prolific HONG Sangsoo, <The Day He Arrives>. 

Highlighting two genres KOFFIA sees as important in contemporary Korean cinema, sections entitled K-Comedy and K-Mystery will each screen three films. K-Comedy will catch one of 2012’s biggest hits thus far, <All About My Wife>, and also jump back in time for the popular 2011 film <DETECTIVE K: Secret of Virtuous Widow> and <Sunny> director KANG Hyoung-chul’s smashing debut, <Speedy Scandal>. K-Mystery unsurprisingly takes a darker turn with <The Yellow Sea>, starring HA Jung-woo, critical darling <Bleak Night> and the shocking tale of school abuse that was based on a true story, <Silenced>. 

KOFFIA’s Modern Classics this year will include two films from 2003, PARK Chan-wook’s <Oldboy> and KIM Ki-duk’s <Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and... Spring>, along with HUR Jin-ho’s quintessential melodrama, 1998’s <Christmas in August>. The fest’s Documentary section will also feature dk dk KIM Ki-duk, screening his Cannes-winning <Arirang>. Completing the section is the musical-social chronicle of singer Baek-ja ,<The Reason Why I Step>, and the Italian-produced <Through Korean Cinema>, which is based on in-depth interviews with five contemporary Korean directors. New to 2012 is the Animation section, which will feature two wildly different films -- the family-friendly Myung Films hit <Leafie: A Hen into the Wild> and YEUN Sang-ho’s dark and ultra-violent <THE KING OF PIGS>. 

Finally, KOFFIA will offer two short film sections. The first, the International Short Film Showcase, features 13 recent shorts including festival fare such as KIM Seok-young’s <Anesthesia>, YOON Ki-nam’s <The Metamorphosis> and 2011 Cannes invitee <Ghost>. The second section, the KOFFIA Short Film Competition, is the fest’s sole competition and will screen a variety of Australian shorts that relate to Korea in some fashion -- whether by virtue of their filmmakers, actors, language or topic -- and award cash prizes to the top films, actors and actresses. 

KOFFIA 2012 will be running in Sydney from August 22-28, Melbourne from September 8-12 and Brisbane from September 27-30. Check http://koffia.com.au/ for more details.

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Full article at the link provided, posting here related excerpt only
July 26, 2012
South Korean Films: How Do They Portray North Koreans?jbarky soompi Part 1 Part 2 
imageThis image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.This image has been resized to fit in the page. Click to enlarge.

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August 7, 2012

Filming for "Old Boy" remake to begin in October

By Park Eun-jee Korea JoongAng Daily

Filming for the remake of Korean classic Old Boy will begin on October 1, according to U.S. movie-specialized website ComicBookmMovie.com. The first shooting will reportedly take place in New Orleans. 

The American-made version of Park Chan-wook’s Old Boy will be directed by Spike Lee and will star Josh Brolin and Sharlto Copley. 

The posting also provided a casting call for the adaptation, listing some 20 roles. Steve Spielberg, at one point, had plans to team up with Will Smith on the remake project, but that failed to pan out.

The information on the upcoming movie is few and far between, but main casts have revealed a few details.

Josh Brolin said that Spike Lee decided to keep hammer-fight and octopus-eating scenes while Sharlto Copley commented that “It’s dark and gritty. They’re not sort of softening it,” when asked about the approach to adapting its source material.

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September 4, 2012

Lee Byung-hun and Park Chan-wook help ring in CGV Yeouido

by Ji Yong-jin KOBIZ


New multiplex celebrates its opening with "Talk Plus" events CGV Yeouido, which opened in the International Financial Center in Yeouido on the 30th of August, is set to become a new kind of culture-plex. It's the very first multiplex in Yeouidi, holding 1345 seats across nine screens, all equipped with SOUNDX, a 3-D sound system that follows the images on-screen. 

Lee Eun-seon, head of CGV's Diversity Team, said, "CGV Yoido is a culture-plex that is different from other theaters in that it seeks to be diverse in its programming, has a specialized sound system and a unique design scheme. Our aim is to make the theater a trendy cultural attraction that will become a landmark in Yeouido.


The venue will hold a special event called "Talk Plus" to celebrate its opening, where audiences will be able to meet actor Lee Byung-hun and film director Park Chan-wook in person. On the 5th of September at 6:30pm in the Business Theater of CGV Yeouido, Lee will talk about his latest work, Masquerade, after the film's screening. Then on the 12th of September at 7pm, Park and film critic Lee Dong-jin will have a Q&A session following a screening of Thirst. 

From September 5-16, Park's I'm A Cyborg, But That's O.K, Old Boy, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance and Sympathy For Mr. Vengence will be screened, as will Lee's I Saw The Devil, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, A Bittersweet Life and Joint Security Area /JSA. These will be appear as part of two special showcases highlighting the works of Park and Lee.

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September 14, 2012

Park Chan-wook: "I knew it. Kim Ki-duk finally made it.

"Celebrates at CGV Movie Collage Cinema Talk

by JANG Sung-ran KOBIZ 


PARK Chan-wook, at ‘CGV Movie Collage Cinema Talk’ event commemorating the opening of CGV Yeouido on September 12th, celebrate KIM Ki-duk’s accomplishment of winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. He said, “When I heard the news, I thought, ‘He finally made it.’ I was not surprised at all. Since I knew very well what his reputation was like in Europe, I even thought ‘This is later than what I thought.’” When asked, “Aren’t you jealous because he received the greatest prize at one of world’s 3 best film festivals before you?”, he answered with a smile saying, “I can win one, too.” PARK received the Grand Prize of the Jury with Old Boy in 2004 and a Jury Prize with Thirst in 2009, both at the Cannes International Film Festival(He was a co-winner of two Jury Prizes in 2009; one was given to him and the other to Andrea ARNOLD). PARK mentioned Heiri, Paju, where KIM and he both live in, by saying, “Not only as another Korean director but also as a neighbor living in the same space, same village, I truly congratulate him. We even put up a banner saying ‘Congratulations’ at the village.” PARK recently finished post-production of Stoker, his first Hollywood film starring Nicole KIDMAN and Mia WASIKOWSKA. He is back in Korea now and working on the script of a Korean film. Stoker is going to be released in North America and Korea in March next year. In the mean time, at an interview on telephone with an MBC’s radio program ‘SON Seok-hee’s Siseonjipjung’, KIM said, “If my film makes a box-office hit, I’ll make 2 duplicates of my trophy and give them to two leading actors (CHO Min-su and LEE Jung-jin) each.” He then joked, “Because of the regulation limiting the Golden Lion winner from winning another award, CHO lost her chance to win. So I’m thinking if I should take a wing out of my trophy and give it to her.” As of September 12th, Pieta has been plated 1,026 times at 290 screens all over in Korea and have sold 171,522 tickets. I has exceeded the half of the break-even point (250,000 tickets) in 6 days since it was released.

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September 17, 2012

Park sets course for 'Corsica 72'

'Oldboy' helmer to direct Black List crime drama


1984 Private Defense Contractors and Ruby Films have set South Korean helmer Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy") to direct crime drama "Corsica 72" from a Black List script by "Skyfall" scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Producers will include company principals Adi Shankar and Spencer Silna at 1984 Private Defense Contractors, which acquired the project; and Alison Owen and Paul Trijbits of Ruby Films. Purvis and Wade, who have written five James Bond films including Sam Mendes' latest installment, will also serve as producers.

Based on a true story, period pic follows two best friends who live on the small island of Corsica where they choose different paths in life -- one as an honest working man, the other as a gangster -- and feud over a woman who comes between them.

In addition to appearing on the 2009 Black List, script placed second on the 2009 Brit List. Park's fellow international filmmakers Oliver Hirschbiegel ("Downfall") and Luca Guadagnino ("I Am Love") were previously attached to direct "Corsica 72," and stars such as Andrew Garfield and Gemma Arterton have circled past incarnations. Project is gaining steam at Hollywood's tenpercenteries as agents scramble to get their top under-30 clients in the casting mix.

Having wrapped his English-language debut "Stoker" for Fox Searchlight, Park recently agreed to direct S. Craig Zahler's Black List oater "The Brigands of Rattleborge" for Red Granite Pictures and Mythology Entertainment. That ultra-violent pic necessitates the casting of a major star, so while "Corsica" has no start date yet, it is expected to lense before "Brigands."

"Having spent the majority of my life in Southeast Asia I have been a fan of director park my whole life," Shankar said. "Where I'm from it doesn't get any better than Park Chan-wook."

The WME-repped Park previously directed the "Vengeance" trilogy, which includes "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," "Lady Vengeance," and "Oldboy." Fox Searchlight will give "Stoker" a platform release on March 1, 2013.

1984, which recently co-financed Joe Carnahan's "The Grey" and Andrew Dominik's upcoming Brad Pitt-starrer "Killing Them Softly," recently tapped Dutch Southern to write an all-female riff on the star-studded "Expendables" franchise.

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September 25, 2012

Abu Dhabi Film Festival Announces Full Line-up

By NAZIA KHAN AhlanLive l Abu Dhabi Film Festival

The best of Arab and world cinema as well as Hollywood hits to feature at the sixth edition of the fest
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival [ADFF] has announced the full line-up of its sixth edition, running from 11 October to 20 October, and while it's not super-high on star power there's a fine selection of movies to catch. 

As we'd reported earlier, Richard Gere-starrer Arbitrage will open the fest and our fave silver fox will walk the red carpet with fellow actor Nate Parker, executive producer Mohammed Al Turki and director Nicholas Jarecki. The movie's got great reviews and there's already a strong Oscar nomination buzz around Gere.    

Also confirmed to attend opening night are South Indian megastar Mammootty and Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani. And then are the icons. ADFF will be presenting two Lifetime Achievement Awards this year, and the recipients are Egyptian screen legend Sawsan Badr and Italian star Claudia Cardinale. 

Overall, a total of 81 feature length films and 84 short films representing 48 countries will be screened at ADFF. The 10-day fest will also have master classes and workshops by regional and international film experts targeting emerging and established Arab filmmakers. 

Movies from the UAE include short film Murk Light, short narrative film Afwah and A Ride to Hell in the student short narrative competition. You'll also get a chance to see Palestine's Oscar entry When I Saw You, along with world premieres from Qatar, Lebanon and Egypt. 

Among the interesting Hollywood films showing at the fest are The Company You Keep starring Shia Le Bouf and Robert Redford, Zoe Kazan's quirky Ruby Sparks and Sparkle, starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks.  This year’s Special Programmes include a Spotlight on South Korea, with all-time top flicks like Park Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area, Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring and Kim Jee-won’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird as well as exciting new works like Choo Chang-min’s Masquerade, Hong Sang-soo’s In Another Country and Jo Sung-hee’s A Werewolf Boy. There's also a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence that includes The Battle of Algiers and Harraga Blues. 

Apart from this, restored prints of classics including Lawrence of Arabia (1962), 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954) and Singin’ in the Rain (1952) will also be screened at the festival.

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October 2, 2012
"That's what PARK Chan-wook is like!"KOBIZ
The trailer of Stoker, PARK Chan-wook’s Hollywood debut film, has been released. Having created a lot of news since the production process, it collected tremendous reactions from Korean and foreign film fans as soon as the trailer was released. People has started bearing expectations to meet another master piece saying, “That’s what he is like!”
In the trailer that was uploaded to iTunes’ website (trailers.apple.com/trailers), India STOKER (Mia Wasikowska), who had lost father in an accident and her mother Evelyn STOKER (Nicole Kidman) had a mysterious guest who introduced himself as Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). As the story developed, the rest of the trailer was filled up with amazing beauty of pictures and tense rhythm.
Immediately the trailer came out, the news has spread all over the world through SNS, film information websites, and film related communities, which shows how big the expectations from people are. Korean press media also left favorable comments after watching the trailer saying, “As PARK has already made films with unique materials and splendid images such as Old Boy and Thirst, his new film in Hollywood makes up bear expectations.” (Review Star) and “Although it was a 2-minute-long trailer, the tension from the images is more intense than anything else.” (Money Today)
Reactions from abroad are also hopeful. Foreign press media reported, “Characters of PARK’s film have upgraded from those in films he made in Korea.” “The unique atmosphere of the film overwhelms. Viewers should recognize it!” Stoker is currently under post-production and it will meet its viewers at theaters in early 2013.

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  • Helena changed the title to Director Park Chan-Wook 박찬욱 [“Decision to Leave”]

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