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Park Chan-wook leads Korean films' worldwide advancement

2005/09/21 | 419 views | Permalink | Source

There is a term called "ticket power". Actors and actresses with ticket power are name brands in and of themselves. Moviegoers flock to watch a film simply because a specific actor with ticket power appears in the film.
Until recently, people with ticket power were almost always actors and actresses. But that is no longer the case. Movie directors wielding even more immense ticket power have appeared. One such director is Park Chan-wook.
"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance " goes to Venice Film Festival

In a reference to the movie "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance", actress Lee Young-ae wore red eye shadow and red lipstick and aloofly stated, "Mind your own business" as she participated in the Venice Film Festival. The movie was nominated in the official competition segment at the 62nd Venice Movie Festival. The VFF, which started in 1932, has the longest history among international film festivals.

The festival is considered one of the world' s big three film festivals, together with the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival. As such, just the nomination of Park' s movie in the official segment in the festival could be considered a great achievement. Park has also achieved the great feat of making a foray into the world' s big three film festivals through the nomination.

Park was invited to the official segment of the Berlin Film Festival with his movie " JSA - Joint Security Area" in 2001, and won the grand prix of Judges at the Cannes Film Festival with the movie "Old Boy" last year. Though he did not win an award in the main segment of the VFF, his latest entry did well in three other segments, securing the "Young Lion Award", "Best Innovated Film Award", and "Cinema of the Future Award" and received compliments such as, "it is a beautiful movie featuring a structure that is different from his earlier works".

"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, " the great finale of his ' trilogy of revenge '

Park made his debut with "Moon - the sun dreams" in 1992. He opened a new chapter in the Korean movie industry with " JSA - Joint Security Area". Ever since, he has been highly sought after by moviegoers because of films featuring his unique style and personality, including "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance", "Old Boy", and his latest movie "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance". In particular, "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" drew massive public attention even before premiering at movie theaters as it is the great finale of his ' trilogy of vengeance'.

Scenes in the movie were recreated in the form of parodies on diverse TV shows, and the words "Mind your own business" became the most popular trendy expression from the movie, illustrating the film's widespread popularity. Tobu cake featured in the movie, which didn't exist in real life at the time, has begun appearing in actual bakery shops, which is an absolute testament to the powerful influence of the movie.

Park Chan-wook, director with ticket power, star power

Movie fans are drawn to certain films simply because they feature the name Park Chan-wook. This is because Park as a film director holds as much ticket power and star power as any actor and actress. What factors in his movies make movie fans so enthusiastic about his works?

When "Old Boy" was premiering at movie theaters, movie fans were amazed to see such extraordinary visual images and drastic twists in the plot, which they had rarely seen before. The impression audience felt was quite different from what they had felt when they saw "Sympathy for Mr. Revenge". Supporters of "Old Boy" and "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" would hold heated debate over subtle differences found in the two movies, which both deal with revenge. The three-part series on revenge is a great example of Park's movies making people ponder. People have shown a variety of diverse reactions after watching the three movies.

Some compliment them as works of art, while others hold quite different views on the movies. Park' s movies make audiences agonize over certain things, rather than eliciting simple comments such as "it was fun" or "it was dull". The unique visual images Park creates and the messages he tries to deliver cause people to hold lively discussions with each other.

Perhaps for this reason, Internet users held a heated discussion with a flurry of comments right after "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" opened. His movies stimulate audiences' imagination, and make them think, which constitutes the unique attractive nature of his works. The world is consequently paying keen attention to Park.

Park aims for the world stage

"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is being recognized not only for its artistic excellence but also for its commercial success. The movie has been exported to over 20 countries, including the United States, Japan, France and Italy, garnering more than $5 million in revenues. The movie failed to win the main award at the Venice Film Festival, but it continues to draw the most enthusiastic response at international film festivals. Following its participation in the Venice Film Festival, "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" will go to the Toronto and New York film festivals.

Longing for his next movie

Movie fans are already longing for the release of his next movie. Audiences became excited to hear Park saying his next work after "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" could be either a movie about schizophrenia set at a mental hospital, or a vampire thriller.

How will he excite the moviegoers next time? How will he illustrate his own unique style through his next movie? Park holds his fans in continuous suspense over his movies. Perhaps that is the true power of director Park Chan-wook.

Profile of Park Chan-wook
DDate of birth: August 23, 1963
Education: Philosophy, Sogang University
Debut work: "Moon - the sun dreams"

Awards
Best Director Award in the 41st Daejong Film Festival (2004) - Old Boy
Grand Prix of Jury at the 57th Cannes Film Festival (2004) - Old Boy
Best Director Award at the 40th Baeksang Arts Awards (2004) with movie - Old Boy
Best Director Award at the third Korean Film Awards (2004) - Old Boy
Best Director Award at the 24th Chongryong Film Festival (2003) - Old Boy
Best Director Award at the 37th Baeksang Arts Awards (2001) - JSA-Joint Security Area
Special award of Judges at the 27th Seattle Film Festival (2001 with ' JSA - Joint Security Area"
Best Director Award at the 21st Chongryong Film Festival (2000) - JSA - Joint Security Area

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