Haeundae-gu, Busan, Republic of Korea,
“I feel like I’ve got a gift for the 30th anniversary of my directorial debut.”, Director PARK Chanwook
Park Chanwook of Decision to Leave, the Best Director at the 75th Festival de Cannes
The nickname ‘Cannes Park’ shows the good old relationship between Director Park Chanwook and the Festival de Cannes. Decision to Leave is Director Park’s 4th film invited to the Cannes’ Competition. He was first invited to the Cannes’ Competition for Old Boy in 2004 and won the Grand Prix that year. Later, in 2009, he won the Jury Prize for THIRST, starring Song Kangho, Kim Okvin, and Shin Hakyun. In 2016, The Handmaiden, starring Kim Minhee and Kim Taeri, was also invited to the Cannes’ Competition. And at the 75th Festival de Cannes in 2022, he won the Best Director for Decision to Leave. Including the Cannes’ VULCAN AWARD for The Handmaiden, Director Park always returned home with a trophy he won at Cannes. After winning the Best Director, Park Chanwook visited the press center and had an exclusive interview with Korean reporters covering the closing ceremony. He seemed quite relaxed as ‘the main character’ of the Festival de Cannes.
Many congratulations on your winning the Best Director at the 75th Festival de Cannes.
It is all thanks to the harmony of Actor Park Haeil and Actor Tang Wei. Since I thank and love them so much that I can’t express my feelings in words properly. And this year is the 30th anniversary of my directorial debut. I feel like I’ve received a congratulatory gift.
Two Korean films were invited to the Cannes’ Competition this year, and it’s more meaningful because both won the awards.
A Chinese actor starred in my film, while Broker is a Korean film written and directed by a Japanese director. It is meaningful for us to exchange Asian human resources and capital. In the case of Europe, good movies have been made through exchanges since the year dot. Watching them, I thought it was great, and now I hope Korea will revitalize this type of exchange at the center of the film industry. I also hope more films can be produced through collaborations.
After the premiere of Decision to Leave, it received very high scores from the critics, becoming a hot topic. So, lots of media predicted the film would win the Palme d’Or.
In fact, the rating at Cannes hardly leads to the award. I’m fully aware of it from the experiences I have gone through. (Laughing)
What do you think is the reason Korean films are so popular around the world?
Korean moviegoers are hardly satisfied with the general level of movies. (Laughing) For example, whether it’s a crime thriller or a comedy, the audience is not satisfied with a single genre. They always demand that our lives be portrayed in films comprehensively. Maybe that’s why the Korean filmmakers have been trained so well, huh? It is all thanks to the appreciative audience.
Actor Song Kangho won the Best Actor at Cannes alongside you. How do you feel about that?
If we had been invited to Cannes for the same movie, I don’t think we would have won the awards together like this. Cannes never gives the Best Director and the Best Actor to a single movie. Since Actor Song Kangho and I came to Cannes with different movies, I think we could win the awards together. That’s why it’s more fun.
What would you say to Actor Song Kangho to celebrate his victory?
When Actor Song Kangho’s name was called for the Best Actor, I automatically crossed the hallway and ran to him without realizing it. I was that much happy. I was also waiting for him to win the Best Actor because he has appeared in good movies and been invited to Cannes several times. While waiting, I thought his time would come for sure.
You’ve mentioned ‘movies and theaters’ several times at Cannes.
When I visited the theater again after staying away from it for a while during the COVID-19 Pandemic, I kind of had a shock. Before the Pandemic, I took it for granted to watch a movie in the theater, but after the distancing, when I saw the movie in the theater again, I felt, “Oh, this is what a movie is like.” Now, I have a sense of calling to make a ‘movie,’ which the audience can watch and focus together on a big screen in the theater. I’ve felt a strong desire to make the ‘most cinematic movies.’ I also made Decision to Leave with the determination. I hope the audience can watch the whole ‘form’ of this film in the movie theater. I hope this Best Director award can make more audiences familiar with the title of the movie and arouse their desire to watch it in the theater when it is released.