Park Chan-wook returns with a love story

(Seoul) Known for his brutal thrillers that catapulted South Korean cinema to the top of the world stage, Park Chan-wook returns with a different film altogether. decision to goa sober but deeply emotional love story.

Posted at 11:52 am

Claire Lee
Media Agency France

The film, which has topped the South Korean box office since its release last week, earned Park this year’s Best Director award at Cannes, where his cult thriller sat old boy had already received the Grand Prix in 2004.

decision to go tells the story of a detective (South Korean actor Park Hae-il) who investigates the death of a man who fell off a cliff and falls in love with suspect number one, the victim’s mysterious wife, played by Chinese star Tang Wei.

Unlike Park Chan-wook’s previous work, Decision to Leave contains almost no scenes of violence or sex. IndieWire called it “the most romantic movie of the year (so far)”. Most critics praised the elegance and restraint of this love story.

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

The 58-year-old director explained that he had been thinking about this project while working on his English-language miniseries The little drummer girl, whose plot is based on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He then wanted to do something different, away from politics and conflicts.

“I wanted to make a straight film. Pure in the sense that it stays true to the fundamentals of cinema as an art and in which no element other than the theme of love comes into play,” he said.

The result is a poetic exploration of time, loss and nostalgia that combines Park’s signature lush cinematography with the simmering sexual tension between the well-mannered cop and the seductive murder suspect.

Both are a departure from Park’s earlier more extreme characters, such as the depressed Catholic priest-turned-vampire in the horror film. third or the man was held captive for 15 years old boy.

For the director, love stories, like bloody revenge stories, reveal what “humans essentially are.” Despite this, none of the characters in his film resemble him.

“Big Gap”

“I’m not the type of person at all to pursue romantic ideals or live my life like that. I tend to be very realistic and pragmatic,” Park said quietly. “I’m the kind of filmmaker who makes all the difference between my life and the films I’ve made.”

Park Chan-wook is credited with inspiring a generation of filmmakers in the “Black Korean” genre – films about bloody murder and brutal criminal revenge presented with lavish cinematography.

One of those directors, Bong Joon-ho, became the first South Korean to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2019 for his dark comedy parasitealso the first non-English language work to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

While claiming that his films are aimed at the general public, Park acknowledges that “South Korean, Asian and foreign films are still considered art house cinema outside of the region”.

“No matter how they’re made, that’s how they’re cataloged,” he lamented. “I don’t think it’s ideal. but parasite broke through this barrier.

Park also endeavors to work on non-Korean projects. outraged The little drummer girlIn 2013 he produced Bong Joon-ho’s first work in English, the series snowpiercer. That same year he made his Hollywood debut heaterwith Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska.

His next project for HBO is a seven-episode spy series starring Robert Downey Jr. based on the novel The sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (2016 Pulitzer Prize).

For Park, the global entertainment industry needs more international collaborations.

“It is important to know how your films are perceived today. But you also have to ask yourself if your films will survive and be remembered,” he said.

“It’s impossible for me to know what the public will think in fifty or a hundred years. But the reactions from overseas viewers today are the only little clue you can get,” he added.

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