Go to contents

Park Chan-wook says he is still nervous even after winning Cannes

Park Chan-wook says he is still nervous even after winning Cannes

Posted June. 03, 2022 07:41,   

Updated June. 03, 2022 07:41


“I am more nervous to wait for feedbacks from Korean audiences than winning three times at the Cannes,” said director Park Chan-wook, who was named Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his latest movie “Decision to Leave.” “Compared to my previous works, ‘Decision to Leave’ has more elements that only Koreans can understand. This is why I am more anticipated to find out how Korean audiences see this film, even more so than I was about winning an award at a foreign film festival.”

The views over Park’s previous works have been polarizing, mainly because of the film’s highly violent and sexual scenes, which are almost trademark of the Park Chan-wook movie. Unlike those previous films, “Decision to Leave” was promoted as a gentler, less provocative work, and winning the Cannes Film Festival is stoking up Korean audiences’ attention for the film even more. “The movie invites the audience to focus on the changes in characters’ emotions, so other provoking elements were removed,” said Park. Lead actors Park Hae-il and Tang Wei also attended the press conference on Thursday. “[Director Park’s prior works] tasted like heavy kimchi, but this time, it is more like light and refreshing, like the food I ate back in my hometown in China,” said Tang Wei.

Director Hirokazu Koreeda of the movie “Broker,” which brought actor Song Kang-ho the Best Actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival after seven nominations, also had an interview with Korean journalists at a café in Jongno, Seoul. “I was truly joyful when Song won the best actor prize. It was truly the best award,” said Koreeda. “When I get praises, I become suspicious, thinking, ‘Isn’t that just an empty compliment?’ But when my actors get compliments, I am absolutely happy,” the Japanese director said. Back in the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, Japanese actor Yuya Yagira became the youngest winner of the Best Actor award in the history of the Cannes in the movie “Nobody Knows.” Koreeda is well-known for making his actors shine in the film.

The Japanese director continued to praise actor Song Kang-ho. “Actors tend to show a stock performance after filming the same scene several times. However, Song showed different acting every time we shoot the same scene. His acting was as fresh as the first time. I’ve never experienced this type of actor. ‘How can this be possible?’ I thought to myself.”

“Broker” is about brokers who sell babies abandoned in a baby box. While dealing with a tough subject matter, the director has added a light touch and humor here and there in the film. “I wanted to give the crowd a sense of some interesting twists. Song Kang-ho is an actor who is very good at acting out subtly funny moments, so I inserted those scenes more,” said Koreeda. Having been created by a Japanese director, “Broker” stars all Korean actors, and the movie’s investment and distribution companies are also Korean. It is a Korean film, but many perceive it as a Japanese movie since the film’s director is a Japanese. “Regardless of where the movie was filmed, what a director does is the same,” said the director. “So I’m not so sure about the discussion of the movie in terms of nationality.”

“When you go to Cannes, you don’t take national flags like the Olympics. Being able to work beyond one’s nationality is one possibility that a movie can give,” director Koreeda said with a smile. “There are so many Korean actors I want to work with. I will not tell you the names at this time.”

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com