Long before Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” won an Academy Award and “The Squid Game” went around the world, Park Chan-wook His gorgeous, stylistic, outrageously violent, and devilishly elaborate visions have wowed audiences around the world. Korean cinema.
His latest, Decision to Leave, is in some ways more restrained than Park’s previous films. It lacks the brutal violence of “Oldboy” (2003) or the eroticism of “The Handmaiden” (2016). But it may be his most devastating.
A South Korean Oscar submission, the film is a twisted noir intertwined with a love story. Park Hae Il plays a Busan police detective who becomes obsessed with a murderer (Tang Wei). Their evolving relationship unfolds as an investigation. Intricate and mischievous, “Decision to Leave” is another genre tapestry of his craft that makes Park an elegant plaything. The film won the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Park met with reporters during a break ahead of the movie’s release in theaters on Friday. New York film festival. Through an interpreter, he learned about making ‘Decision to Leave’ (one of the biggest box office hits in 2022 in South Korea), his role in expanding the footprint of Korean cinema, and why – Bloody Hammer and Regardless of the octopus eaten whole – love has always really been his main subject.
AP: The room you’re writing about has been compared to the one in “Oldboy” where the protagonist is locked up. For real?
PARK: (laughs) When I designed the house, I created a room for me to write. It’s a small room with only a table and a desk, and it’s almost suffocating. But I don’t just write in that room. I write everywhere. I write in offices, cafes, hotels, and on airplanes.
AP: You lead a relatively quiet life between movies, right?
Park: My house is in a small town on the outskirts of Seoul. My production company is also located in the suburbs of Seoul. So, I feel like a company employee who goes back and forth between the company and the house.
AP: What were you thinking when you and co-writer Jeon Seo Kyung wrote “Decision to Leave”?
Park: At the time, I was in post-production for “Little Drummer Girl,” and I had to direct a six-episode series myself. It was time consuming and physically demanding. I got homesick. My wife was with me, of course, but still. At that post-production stage, my co-writer went on a family trip to London and I met him twice in a cafe. We had a general conversation about what my next job should be. His two core principles that we started with were that he wanted the film to be a Korean film and that he wanted it to be shown in theaters. Next, I wanted to make a police movie. I think it was because I was reading the Martin Beck series at the time. It affected me a lot. I wanted to start with a very familiar setting, a detective assigned to a murder mystery. And I wanted to create romance.
AP: Your film suggests that everyone feels guilty in love, but suspicion kills it.
Park: That’s a good expression. When you’re in love, you naturally worry about the other person. you want to know more about them. Throughout this love process there is always a sense of suspicion that makes you want to dig deeper. Many people do or have a desire to do such things. I think once you get to that suspicion and suspense, it really becomes something akin to a detective investigation.
AP: Love may not immediately come to mind as the main theme of your film. What makes you want to come back to love stories?
Park: My films are basically about people in love. But each of these works in my filmography has its own genre elements such as thriller and horror. I think it’s too strong and makes people forget it’s about love. The artist’s job is to explore human nature, and I believe that the best subject for exploring human characteristics is love. But as an entertainer, love is the best subject. Love has thrills, it has mysteries, it has comedies, it moves us, it horrifies us.
AP: Your films are often comical, even farcical, but hauntingly end in tragedy. How did you think that tone arc worked?
Park: There are some tragedies that are just a series of sad events. The contrast makes the tragedy stand out even more. There is something very farcical about their situation. There is a farce that comes from pity. Without laughter, I feel like I’m imposing my emotions on the audience. It’s like saying, “Aren’t you sad?” “You’re scary, aren’t you?” There’s a sense of wholeness that comes from the humor that fills in all the missing holes.
AP: How technology shapes the lives of men and women is also a feature of your films. Why Crowded “Decision to Leave” with Phone Calls, Text Messages, and Translation Apps?
Park: I wanted the movie to feel very classic and have these mythological elements. But I didn’t want this to be a classic handwritten movie. I could have put it in a phone-free environment if I wanted to. Many directors want to do this. Instead, he opted to embrace the latest technology beyond what can be seen in his teenage shows like “Euphoria.” That decision was an important moment for me.
AP: Are you proud of your role in promoting Korean cinema and popular culture?
Park: If I had set a goal of spreading the love of Korean cinema and worked hard towards it, I would have taken some pride in doing so. It means that It is nothing more than the result of having fun creating a work and having the audience enjoy watching it. When I make films, I don’t think about non-Korean or foreign audiences. More than that, I am making films with the intention that future Korean audiences will enjoy them. 50 years from now, 100 years from now, I want you to enjoy it in the same way as today’s audience.
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https://www.independent.co.uk/news/park-chanwook-ap-korean-new-york-q-a-b2201519.html Q&A: About Park Chan Wook, Love, Genre, ‘Decision to Leave’