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Interview: Director Park Chan-wook of 'Thirst'

2009/11/06 | 642 views | Permalink | Source

Director Park Chan-wook, who received the Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his movie "Thirst", says that Korean films can gain global recognition by improving their artistic expression and setting new trends.

In an interview with the Yonhap News ahead of the screening of "Thirst" at the London Barbican Centre as the opening film of the 4th London Korean Film Festival, Park said that Korean movies can be exported overseas not only by producing them in English but also by setting new trends.

The festival will run through November 18 at the London Barbican Centre and the British Film Institute. A total of 29 Korean films will be screened, including "Thirst" as well as "Mother - 2009" by Bong Joon-ho.

Interview with director Park Chan-wook.

-- Did the film face a lot of red tape because it deals with Christianity?

- We had a hard time designing its posters. In Korea, we had to take out the image of the lead actress's legs from the poster because they were said to look vulgar. In the U.S., we had problems with the actress's cleavage. And in the U.K., the Roman collar of the lead actor became an issue for its potential to spark religious problems.

-- Did any religous groups oppose your movie?

- To people who have never seen this movie, the Roman collar may look provocative, but those who have seen it don't find it problematic. The main character of the movie agonizes over his inability to abandon his religion. His life becomes tragic because he clings to his faith and moral values.

-- How can Korean movies expand their global presence?

- I think it's more difficult than exporting our televisions and phones. Even the best-quality productions face the language barrier. If we want to export our movies to Europe or the U.S., we should produce them in English. That's the only way to do it.

-- What other obstacles do Korean films face apart from the language barrier?

- If we don't produce our movies in English, then we should broaden the realms of artistic expression and set new trends. That way we can receive worldwide recognition and respect.

-- Some people say that your movies "Old Boy", "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" and "Thirst" are too gloomy and far from being commercial.

- These movies drew millions of viewers. Of course they are commercial films.

-- What was it like to see "Thirst" open in London?

- I was moved. It renewed my determination to produce good movies so that they are not kicked out of such good places.

-- Your movies must have been invited to many other Korean film festivals abroad.

- The Korean Film Festival in London is well organized and publicized. It is highly recognized among intelligent people and the mass media. I'm moved to see my movies being screened at the London Barbican Centre.

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