If you take yourself further from American cinema, further even than the European landscape, you’ll enter the world of the extreme, dark, and yet, violently poetic work of Korean director, Park Chan-Wook.
Chan-Wook’s Point of View
Park was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, and initially pursued a career as a filmmaker after seeing Hitchcock’s Vertigo, during his time at Sogang University. After his first two feature films were unsuccessful, he later shifted over to become a film critic.
In 2000, he returned with Joint Security Area, which was hugely successful both commercially and critically inside of Korea, allowing him creative independence with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the first in the critically dubbed ‘Vengeance Trilogy’. He later claimed greater critical success at Cannes Film Festival, taking the Grand Prix with Oldboy in 2004, and Prix du Jury with Thirst in 2009. In 2016, he released The Handmaiden, to even more critical acclaim and commercial success across the globe.
With the exception of I’m A Cyborg, Park’s genre of choice is the thriller, whether dabbling with a neo-noir mystery thriller like Oldboy, or psychological erotica with The Handmaiden, the twist and turns of uncertainty and suspense flow throughout the films. It could be considered that Park to an extent forms his own genre, filled with twisting narratives, complex characters, and iconography of vengeance and violence. A noticeably Park Chan-Wook film.