With him being such a big inspiration and influential figure to so many of the blogathon team, we just had to take a look at the man, the one, the only, Park Chan-wook. Read Sarah Wards piece below!
From humble beginnings to worldwide recognition, the career of enigmatic Seoul born and raised auteur Park Chan-wook has mimicked the journey of his national industry over the past two decades. Indeed, the award-winning writer, director and producer has been instrumental in charting a course for his cinematically-minded compatriots even whilst dallying with the darker side of the medium, evolving from acting as an assistant to fellow helmers that would become his professional colleagues (Yu Yeong-jin and Kwak Jae-yong), to paving the way for a Korean assault on America on the eve of his first Hollywood effort.
Inspired to change his focus from art criticism to filmmaking upon seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo as a philosophy student, Chan-wook has blossomed from a fledgling practitioner to one of his nation’s strongest cinematic voices. From the simplicity of his initial film foray The Moon Is... The Sun's Dream to the scale of upcoming U.S. offering Stoker (reportedly starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode), and the genre-bending of his first popular hit JSA: Joint Security Area as well as the technical innovation of his forthcoming short Night Fishing, he has proven one of the driving forces of Korean films during his twenty years behind the lens.
That his star has continued to shine despite his controversial choice of subject matter is a testament to the power of his filmmaking talent. With his so-called “Vengeance Trilogy” of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance still accounting for the majority of the acclaim that has followed his output (including awards from the Asia-Pacific, Bangkok, Fant-Asia, Philadelphia, Saratosa, Sitges-Catalonian, Stockholm and Venice Film Festivals, as well as the Cannes Jury Prize for the middle effort), Chan-wook has courted the unconventional, highlighting the baser side of humanity as characterised through retaliatory and violent actions.
With his impressive resume also including crime comedy Saminjo, robot romance I’m A Cyborg, But That’s Okay, visceral vampire feature Thirst and segments in collaborative efforts If You Were Me, Three... Extremes and Cinema16: World Short Films, Chan-wook’s status as a purveyor of the inherently unusual yet enthrallingly engaging is immediately apparent. In pushing the boundaries of traditional cinema in theme and format both in a local and global context, the outstanding auteur has made his mark as a true visionary of creative filmmaking, with his future offerings certain to continue to boost his prominence as a director to watch.