Profile - Park Chan-wook
- Henry Northmore
- 24 April 2008
Name Park Chan-wook
Born 23 August, 1963, Jecheon, South Korea
Background While studying philosophy at Sogang University in Seoul Park started a ‘cine-club’ showing films to the students. Then, one day he played Vertigo and it all fell into place. ‘There is a sequence following the female that is very lengthy and it looks like something unrealistic, like you are dreaming and I fell in love with the sequence.’ He subsequently made his debut feature in 1992 with The Moon is . . . the Sun’s Dream. While he was still best known as a film critic in South Korea until 2000’s Joint Security Area, it was his powerful portal of vengeance in Oldboy, which features some seriously hardcore claw hammer action and went on to win the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film festival, that really brought him to the world’s attention.
What’s he up to now? While 2007’s bizarre sci-fi love story I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK is just receiving its UK release, Park is currently working on his new vampire project Thirst.
What he says about I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK ‘I thought it would be a small island in-between the Vengeance series [which also includes Sympathy of Mr Vengeance and Lady Vengeance], that took five years in the making, and my next film, Thirst, that I have been working on for a long time. To Beethoven perhaps it would be like his Symphony No 8, to Sam Peckinpah, it would be the soft ballad Junior Bonner between his most violent films Straw Dogs and The Getaway. But don’t get me wrong; I’m not comparing myself to such heights. In Beethoven’s words it is a film I made with my “buttons undone”. Fun for me to make, fun for you to watch. I wanted to make a film that my daughter could watch and take my friends to see and laugh out loud. And I ended up with a peculiar film that even I could not believe I’ve made.’
Interesting fact For a while he was attached to a remake of Evil Dead but eventually turned it down.
I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Mon 28 Apr–Thu 1 May.