South Korean star filmmaker Park Chan-wook won the Cannes Film Festival’s best director award on Saturday for his erotic crime film “Decision To Leave”.
Starring Chinese star Tang Wei and Korean actor Park Hae-il, “Decision To Leave” tells the story of a detective who, while investigating the fatal fall of a man from a mountain, falls under the charm of the victim’s wife, whom he suspects of having caused the death of her husband.
The detective story becomes more and more integrated with the mutual attraction that takes hold of the main characters and the resulting erotic tension, which is heightened by the constant proximity of death.
“I’m not a romantic, but I’m very interested in expressing emotions,” Park said in an interview with AFP at the film’s premiere at the festival.
“Decision To Leave” was warmly welcomed by the Cannes public. The BBC called it a “stunning romantic thriller” and Screen said that “even without the extreme shock tactics of some of his earlier work, Park can create a deeply satisfying and potentially commercial thriller”.
The film’s haunting soundtrack includes the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s 5th Symphony, immortalized in the 1971 film “Death in Venice” by Luchino Visconti.
“I tried to find other classic pieces that might work, but this Mahler piece was just ideal,” said Park, 58. “And I thought, is there a law that says only Visconti can use this room? No, there isn’t, so I continued.”
Park’s Cannes debut comes nearly two decades after his ‘Oldboy’ won the festival’s second-highest prize in 2004 and helped propel South Korean cinema onto the world stage – years before ‘Parasite “, which won the 2019 Palme d’Or and the best film at the 2020 Oscars.
Park said the film was inspired by the methodical police work contained in Swedish “Martin Beck” detective novels. “That’s what I wanted to represent in a film,” he said.