Park Chan-wook on Decision to Leave, “It’s A Story Of People Who Hide Their True Emotions”

Director Park Chan-wook has said that he left behind stimulating elements in his previous films, such as ‘Oldboy’ (2003) and ‘The Handmaiden’ (2016), for his latest Cannes-winning film ‘Decision to Leave’ in order to help the audience focus on the complex and subtle emotions of the characters, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“I didn’t hesitate to use literally ‘expressions that stimulate the peripheral nerves’ in my previous films. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do so, but I intended them to be so,” Park said during a press conference in Seoul to promote the new film. “I wanted to make a different movie this time. Since it’s a story of people who hide their true emotions, I wanted to make the audience become eager to approach these people, to peek into their minds, curious about what they are thinking,” he added.

Park then compared this kind of film to a song where subtle vocal expressions are required. “Think of a situation where drum and guitar sounds are too loud when a singer has to sing finely and wispily. I thought I had to lower the volume of such accompaniment for this film. I think that is what makes it different from my previous works if any,” he said. Tang Wei, the Chinese actress who stars in the film, added: “I don’t know if I can put it this way, but Park’s previous titles have strong tastes. If I say they had a strong taste of kimchi, this film would taste fresh, plain and sweet.”

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Decision to Leave Trailer

‘Decision to Leave’ is a genre-combining film about a detective who suspects a mysterious widow in a murder case and later falls in love with her after days of stakeout. It is Park’s first Korean-language film in six years after ‘The Handmaiden’ and his fourth entry for the competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

This past Sunday, he won the best director for the new feature at the festival’s 75th edition, making it his third prize at Cannes, following the Grand Prix for his thriller ‘Oldboy’ in 2003 and the Jury Prize for the horror film ‘Thirst’ in 2009. ‘Decision to Leave’ will be soon streaming on MUBI.

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