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Park Chan-wook returns to Cannes with romance 'Decision to Leave'

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Korean auter Park Chan-wook, center, poses with Park Hae-il, right, and Tang Wei at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, May 23. Reuters-Yonhap
Korean auter Park Chan-wook, center, poses with Park Hae-il, right, and Tang Wei at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, May 23. Reuters-Yonhap

Korean auteur Park Chan-wook has said that his latest Cannes-competing feature "Decision to Leave" is a precocious romance that is not as intense as his previous revenge-themed works, such as "Oldboy" (2003), but is one that he really wanted to make.

"Decision to Leave," which premiered at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, Monday (local time), as one of the in-competition films of the festival, is about a police detective who falls in love with a woman suspected of murdering her husband.

Starring Chinese actress Tang Wei of "Lust, Caution" (2007) and Korean actor Park Hae-il of "Memories of Murder" (2003), it is a stylish romantic love story of two married people but has no sex or violent scenes that are easily seen in Park's renowned pieces, "Oldboy," "Thirst" (2009) and "The Handmaiden" (2016).

"I wanted to make a love story for grownups, but it doesn't mean that I have to depict violence and sex in a stronger way," Park told Korean reporters at Cannes. "People may think it's monotonous and less sensational than my previous ones."

He said the film shows a new type of romantic relationship between a married man and woman, who candidly present their desire but maintain dignity, in a more subtle, permeating way.

But the 58-year-old director stressed that "Decision to Love" is not a thriller or mystery but another romantic comedy because it has both romantic and comedic elements as his previous films do.

"I'm not joking. I've really made romance films so far. Frankly, I want to call them romantic comedies," he said. "Romance and comedy are main components of those films. So it was not that special for me to make another romantic comedy."

For his first feature and Cannes entry in six years after the erotic psychological thriller "The Handmaiden," he teamed up with his longtime crew members, including scriptwriter Chung Seo-kyung, production designer Ryu Seong-hie and composer Cho Young-wuk.

It is also his fourth work competing for the Palme d'Or following "Oldboy," "Thirst" and "The Handmaiden," with the first two winning a prize at Cannes. For this year's top honor, Park has been regarded as one of the leading contenders.

"What is precious for me is that we gather here and enjoy the movie together," he said. "I just want to think about fun stories. It may be happy to win great response, but I think that's not a big deal."

This year' Cannes Film Festival began last Tuesday and will close Saturday. (Yonhap)



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