Film Directors-Park Chan-Wook

Park Chan-Wook


filmography        

JOINT SECURITY AREA (2000)

Chan-Wook gives us a challenging and humorous take on relations between North and South Korea by bringing together the border guards in a camaraderie of brotherly friendship made tense by the warring and violent inclinations of their overhanging nations.


In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 remaining bullets in the assassin's magazine clip, amount to 16 bullets for a gun that should normally hold 15 bullets. The investigating Swiss/Swedish team from the neutral countries overseeing the DMZ suspects that another, unknown party was involved - all of which points to some sort of cover up. The truth is much simpler and much more tragic.
oint Security Area was the highest-grossing Korean film ever released. It gained local and international notoriety and allowed Chan-Wook the financial freedom and creative confidence to create his Vengeance Trilogy.

Vengeance Trilogy

SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE (2002)

Chan-Wook’s first installment of his Vengeance Trilogy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, is a black-comic thriller about a deaf-mute, blue-haired, art-school dropout called Ryu who is trying to help his sister get treatment for her failing kidneys.
In a slow and deliberately paced series of consecutive misfortunes, we see the hospital refuse to allow him to donate his kidney to his sister, because his blood-type does not match hers; then he is swindled out of his money – and one of his kidneys – by crooked black market organ dealers who have promised him a matching kidney in return; and finally, back at the hospital, he is told that they have found a donor for his sister, and all they need now is the money, of which he was robbed earlier, to pay for her operation.


Events spin out beyond the control ;  film becomes increasingly full of characters who desire violent revenge upon one another, and all the while, Chan-Wook privileges the viewer with a birds-eye view of this sprawling inter-dependent chaos, while we are left only with an impression of the futility of vengeance.



OLD BOY (2003)

"Oldboy" contains a tooth-pulling scene that makes Laurence Olivier's Nazi dentist in "Marathon Man" look like a healer
A man gets violently drunk and is chained to the wall in a police station. His friend comes and bails him out. While the friend is making a telephone call, the man disappears from an empty city street in the middle of the night. The man regains consciousness in what looks like a shabby hotel room. A bed, a desk, a TV, a bathroom cubicle. There is a steel door with a slot near the floor for his food tray. Occasionally a little tune plays, the room fills with gas, and when he regains consciousness the room has been cleaned, his clothes have been changed, and he has received a haircut.

This routine continues for 15 years. He is never told who has imprisoned him, or why. 
When he suddenly finds himself freed from his bizarre captivity 15 years later, he is a different person, focused on revenge, ridiculously responsive to kindness. Wandering into a restaurant, he meets a young woman who, he knows from the TV, is Korea's "Chef of the Year." This is Mido (Gang Hye-Jung). Sensing that he has suffered, feeling an instinctive sympathy, she takes him home with her, hears his story, cares for him, comes to love him. Meanwhile, he sets out on a methodical search to find the secret of his captivity. He was fed pot stickers, day after day, until their taste is burned into his memory, and he travels the city's restaurants until he finds the one that supplied his meals. That is the key to tracking down his captors.

"Oldboy" won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2004)

In its sexuality and violence, this is the kind of movie that can no longer easily be made in the United States; the standards of a puritanical minority, imposed on broadcasting and threatened even for cable, make studios unwilling to produce films that might face uncertain distribution. But content does not make a movie good or bad -- it is merely what it is about. "Oldboy" is a powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare.
Roger Ebert



 SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE (2005)

The final installment of his Vengeance Trilogy is Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. 
A woman looks for both revenge and redemption after spending 13 years in prison in this offbeat thriller from South Korea. Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) was in her early twenties when she was found guilty of kidnapping and killing a young boy, and though she confessed to the crime under duress, while behind bars she dreamed of one day being able to clear her name.





THIRST (2009)

Thirst,” a blood-drenched vampire film about, unexpectedly, a Roman Catholic priest. The priest is a deeply good man, which is crucial to the story: He dies in the first place because he volunteered as a subject for a deadly medical experiment.
That he is resurrected as a vampire after receiving a transfusion of tainted blood is certainly not his fault. Nor does he set about sinking his fangs into the necks of innocent victims. Given his access to a hospital, he can slurp much of the blood he needs from IV drips leading into unconscious patients, who will hardly complain about a missing pint or two. His slurping, by the way, is very audible; Park has the knack of making the activities of his characters tangible.

This priest, played by the South Korean star Song Kang-ho, is youthful and, despite his vow of chastity, awakened to an urgent carnality by the interloper vampire blood. Perhaps vampires fascinate us because they act not out of a desire to do evil — but by a need. The priest is powerfully attracted to the young wife of a childhood friend of his. We've already seen how willing he is to help the unfortunate, and now his mercy is inspired by this poor girl, who is mistreated by her sick husband and his shrewish mother.

She loves him, too, and is so grateful to him that she forgives anything, even the detail of his vampirism. The priest fights against his new undead nature and tries to cause little harm. The girl has no hesitation: In for a dime, in for a dollar. Soon they're so blood-soaked that the film tilts into comedy of a gruesome flavor.