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Park Chan-wook of 'Thirst' Receives Jury Award at Cannes Festival

2009/05/27 | 206 views | Permalink | Source

Park Chan-wook has been given an award at the Cannes Film Festival. He said, "I felt like I had already received an award when I was invited to compete with the world's best filmmakers, but after I received big applause at the gala screening and then a real award, it's like I've received three awards in all". His movie "Thirst" earned him the jury award at the 62nd Cannes International Festival.

In an interview on May 25 at a hotel in Cannes, he said that of all the ovations he has received so far the ovation that he received in Cannes this time was the greatest. "Awards aside, I just prayed that viewers won't ridicule my movie or leave the theater during the middle. I was happy to see them like my movie", said Park.

Park, who received the first jury award in 2004 for his movie "Old Boy", snatched another one five years later, strengthening his status as a world-renowned filmmaker. On the question on whether or not he was upset because he didn't receive a more prestigious award, Park said, "Vampires can't suck any blood they want. Though the degrees of awards do matter, I'm happy simply to join the ranks of award-winners, especially this year because many top-quality movies competed at the festival this time".

So far, Park has received awards at the Cannes festival every time he was invited there, and has even become one of the favorite filmmakers in Cannes. "I'm regarded a middle-aged filmmaker in Korea, but in Cannes everybody thinks I'm young", said Park, smiling. "I'm very excited whenever I hear the names of other directors at the festival, as if I were their fan", added Park.

With regard to the standing ovation that his movie "Thirst" received on May 15 at the official screening, Park said he was so embarrassed that he wanted to run away. "At that moment, I thought clapping for such a long time must have hurt a lot. But when I was applauding "Mother - 2009" of director Bong Joon-ho as an audience member, I was willing to continue to applaud as long as I could", said Park".

The award that "Thirst" has received in Cannes was highly credited for reviving the stagnated domestic cinematography industry. This year, ten Korean movies were invited to the Cannes festival--the largest number to date. Park says he hopes his achievement will contribute to improving the overall atmosphere though it may not result in any immediate economic benefits. "It may not draw millions of viewers to theaters, but it will have a positive psychological influence", said the director, adding that people who watched "Thirst" and "Mother" congratulated him in Cannes and said that this year's festival was a celebration of Korean movies. Park said, "What matters most is the mood. So far, Korean films have drawn little attention from the public. I hope this will serve as momentum for turning things around. I believe that together, 'Thirst' and 'Mother' will produce a bigger effect".

Park's award for "Thirst" holds special meaning for him. Parks says his three movies themed after "vengeance" can be compared to a full course meal, while his movie "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK" was like a dessert. And "Thirst", whose production actually began 10 years ago, can be compared to finishing one's dessert and paying the bill. That's the sense of closure he feels now.

At the awards ceremony on May 24, Park said in his acceptance speech that he had a long way to go to become a genuine artist. "Artists are often pictured as people who squeeze their brains to come up with their creations, and I respect such people, but I just enjoy my work and have fun. I also tried to squeeze my brains when I was producing my first two movies, but as they received a lukewarm response, I took a long break. Right now I'm just happy to be able to make movies and I'm thankful to every member of my crew. When I received that award, I recalled the cherished face of every single member of my production crew", said Park.

"The biggest reward to a film director is to see the actors appearing in his movies gain recognition", added Park, ascribing his success to actor Song Kang-ho. "I wished that the cast of "Old Boy", 'Sympathy for Lady Vengeance' and 'I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK' received awards, too. But actors don't always receive awards for their talent. Oftentimes, awards are assigned in advance".

Park says he has yet to come up with his next production. He wants to portray ordinary people in a very true-to-life story because so far his movies have mostly dealt with eccentric people. He said, "In terms of genre, I want to try western drama. Sometimes I ask American studios to send me good scripts, because I want to produce a movie about the founding of America".

On the question whether or not he has plans to debut in Hollywood, Park said it depends on the movie. He said, "As long as I have a good idea, I'm ready to go shoot even in Bangladesh. I don't aspire to produce blockbusters only, so Hollywood is not my ultimate goal".

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