Park Chan-Wook is the most famous film director in South Korea. He is known both nationally and internationally for his 2002-05 Vengeance trilogy of films. This was comprised of ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance’, ‘Oldboy’, and ‘Lady Vengeance’. He has even been credited with bringing Korean cinema to the world stage. In 2016, he released ‘The Handmaiden’; a film that has been hailed an erotic masterpiece. This film has built a large community of fans in Korea. Since 1992, he has directed ten feature films. Despite his success, he leads a humble life. He takes the bus into Seoul and feeds stray cats outside his home. Here are five things you didn’t know about Park Chan-wook.
1. He Has Won Multiple Awards
Park Chan-wook has won an extensive list of awards for his work in recognition of his talent as a director, writer, and producer. In fact, he won 11 awards for ‘The Handmaiden Alone’. Some of these included the Saturn Award for the Best International Film, the Baeksang Arts Awards Grand Prize (Film), and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
2. He Often Uses the Same Actors
When casting his movies, Park Chan-Wook often uses the same actors time and again. Some of the actors who feature in many of Park’s films include Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Lee Young-ae, Kang Hye-jung, Kim Byeong-ok, and Oh Dai-su. In fact, all of these actors were in the cast for the 2005 movie ‘Lady Vengeance.
3. Scissors Often Featured in His Films
Violence is a common theme that runs throughout movies that are written, directed or produced by Park Chan-wook. For some reason, he seems to have an affinity with scissors as they are the weapon used in many of his violent films. All of the films in the Vengeance trilogy involve the use of scissors, as do the films ‘Thirst’ and ‘Stoker’. Other trademarks of his films include the use of surreal fantasy sequences and generated effects to create a smoother transition between shots.
4. He Studied Philosophy
When he left school, Park Chan-wook studied philosophy at Sogang University in Seoul. This was before he decided to pursue a career in the film industry. It was after he watched Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ that he decided he wanted to become a filmmaker. The work of this famous actor inspired him to create his own films that were uncomfortable to watch.
5. He Turned Down the Chance to Remake ‘The Evil Dead’
Park Chan-wook was offered the opportunity to remake ‘The Evil Dead’ but turned down the offer. This 1981 supernatural horror movie was written and directed by Sam Raimi. Although this low-budget movie achieved only moderate commercial success, it received great critical acclaim and is considered a cult classic in the horror genre. Even Stephen King, the famous horror writer, gave this movie great praise. There were two sequels to this movie. Despite the success of the film, Park Chan-wook was simply not interested in getting involved in a remake of the movie.