The South Korean author behind ‘Oldboy’ returns with a ‘pure’ love story

Filmmaker Park Chan-wook, known for his ultra-violent thrillers that helped propel South Korean cinema onto the world stage, is back with something quite different – a restrained yet deeply moving love story. ― ETX Studio Photo

Saturday Jul 09, 2022 7:04 PM MYT

SEOUL, July 9 ― Filmmaker Park Chan-wook, known for his ultra-violent thrillers that helped propel South Korean cinema onto the world stage, is back with something quite different ― a love story sober but deeply moving.

Decision to leave comes after the worldwide success of South Korean entertainment, including that of Bong Joon-ho Parasite and Netflix’s Squid Gameand has been the highest-grossing domestic film in South Korea since opening last week.

It stars Chinese star Tang Wei and Korean actor Park Hae-il, who plays a detective investigating a man’s fatal fall from a mountain. He falls in love with the victim’s mysterious wife, whom he suspects of being the cause of her husband’s death.

The film has already won the Park Award for Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which previously awarded it the Grand Prix for its 2003 cult classic revenge thriller. Old boy.

However, unlike many of his earlier works, Decision to leave contains almost no adult or graphically violent scenes.

IndieWire called it “the most romantic film of the year (so far)”, while early reviews hailed it as a beautifully rendered love story marked by elegance and restraint.

“I agree it’s a romantic movie, and I wanted to make such a movie,” Park said in an interview with reporters in Seoul last month.

The 58-year-old said he started thinking about the project while working on the from the BBC Mini-series in English The little thresher girl. In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Park wanted to do something different, away from politics and conflict.

“I wanted to make a pure film – pure in the sense that it’s true to the basics of filmmaking as an art form without any elements other than the theme of love getting in the way of it,” he said. -he declares.

The result is a poetic exploration of time, loss and longing, combining Park’s signature lush cinematography with the gripping sexual tension that simmers between the well-mannered detective and the seductive murder suspect.

Both characters are a departure from Park’s previous more extreme characters, such as the repressed Catholic priest-turned-vampire in the horror film. The thirst and a man held captive for 15 years in Old boy.

The director has previously said that the love stories, much like his bloody revenge stories, reveal how “essentially human beings are.”

Even so, none of the characters in his films have much in common with him.

“I am not at all a person who pursues such romantic ideals or lives my life that way. I tend to be very realistic and pragmatic,” the soft-spoken author said.

“I’m the kind of filmmaker who has a big gap between my life and the movies I’ve made.”

Barrier ‘Arthouse’

Park has long been credited with inspiring a generation of filmmakers behind the “Korean noir” genre – films about bloody crimes, brutal revenge or the criminal underworld, presented with lavish cinematography.

One such director, Bong Joon-ho, became the first South Korean to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes for his dark comedy. Parasite in 2019. It was also the first non-English language film to win the Best Picture Oscar.

While Park believes he has always made his films for the general public, he acknowledges that “South Korean films, Asian films and foreign films are still consumed as arthouse cinema” outside the region.

“No matter how they’re made, that’s how they’re graded,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s ideal. But Parasite broke that barrier.

Critics say his Old boy paved the way for global triumph for South Korean cinema, but Park made conscious efforts to work on non-Korean projects as well.

Apart The little thresher girl, he produced Bong’s first English film, in 2013 snowdrops, and made his own Hollywood debut that year with Driver with Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska.

His next project is with HBO ― a spy drama series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen The sympathizerwhich will star Robert Downey Jr.

Park said the global entertainment industry needs more international collaborations.

“It’s important to know how your films are perceived right now, but you also wonder if your films will survive and be remembered,” he said.

“There’s no way for me to know what viewers would think 50 or 100 years from now. Yet the least clue you can still get is from the responses of foreign viewers today,” he said. he added.― Studio ETX

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