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[HanCinema Korea's Diary] What Are Your Top 5 Favourite Park Chan-wook films?


Before 2000 Park Chan-wook would not have foreseen how successful he would become as a Korean filmmaker. His 2000 breakthrough film "JSA - Joint Security Area" completely dominated the Korean box office that year. It claimed an estimated 5.8 million admissions nationwide, making it the highest grossing Korean film at the time. Since then Park Chan-wook has directed five more feature length films with varying digress of success and I thought I'd open the floor to find out what your favourite of the bunch is while presenting mine.

Before Park Chan-wook was the influential filmmaker he is today he was a film critic who was interested in art-house films and underappreciated B-movies (Paquet, 2009:65). Supposedly after having seen Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" he decided to begin making films. His debut film was actually back in 1992 when he made "The Moon Is... the Sun's Dream" and five years later he tried his hand again with "Trio" (also called "Threesome"). However, these two earlier films failed and left Park Chan-wook to continued this work as a film critic in order to make ends meet.

"…no Korea director who debuted between 1990 and 1995 would go on to build a major international career, with the exception of Park Chan-wook…" (Paquet, 2009: 67)

Park Chan-wook has directed a number of short films, most notable his contribution, entitled "Cut", to the 2004 omnibus film "Three, Monster" and the award winning "Night Fishing" which he co-directed with his brother Park Chan-kyong (who recently won the Grand Prize for "Anyang, Paradise City" at JIFF 2011).

Due for release in 2012, Park Chan-wooks latest film "Stoker" (written by Wentworth Miller) is going to be his first attempt at directing major foreign talent. The film is still in production and will star Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mia Wasikowska. I'm personally very excited to so how this film will be received both in the U.S. and here in Korea.

Below are my top five favourite films by Park Chan-wook

(Ranked from Left to Right: "Old Boy", "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance", "Thirst", "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" and "JSA - Joint Security Area")

-Christopher J. Wheeler

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