Summary of “Park Chan-wook, the Man Who Put Korean Cinema on the Map”

There is a well-known anecdote of how Park was inspired to become a film director after seeing Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” in college, and this is true, but he was already thinking like a director long before that, thinking of how to tell stories on film – image by image, face by face, not outside of language, but with more than language.
Being a film director was not a viable career for a Korean at this time.
He then set out to make his first film, which was so unsuccessful that Park himself was its only reviewer.
Park expanded on this approach as he made his third feature film, “Joint Security Area,” the story of four soldiers who guard the border of North and South Korea, two on each side, and the forbidden friendship they strike up, and the tragic result.
“We would shoot until nighttime and then afterward, spend all night drinking, sleep only two or three hours, come back to work the next day.” The film’s success – it became Korea’s highest-grossing film after it opened – confirmed the value of collaboration for Park, and so he has worked this way ever since, with some refinements – more sleep, less drinking.
In the film, Japanese is spoken to assert cultural power or privilege; Korean is spoken as an assertion of intimacy and camaraderie.
It is a serene place, though its close confines are faintly reminiscent of one of Park’s signature scenes, from “Oldboy,” in which the imprisoned man at the heart of the film fights his way, guard by guard, through a claustrophobic hallway, armed only with a hammer.
Park both is and isn’t the prince Burt Lancaster plays in that film, watching as Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon enact the aristocracy’s forced embrace of the rising middle class.

The orginal article.