Tag Archives: park chan-wook

Kidd On Park

We all know kids love parks. But did you know Kidds love Parks? We only found out when we invited filmmaker, critic, and festival curator Briony Kidd on the show to talk about a filmmaker she loves: South Korean cult director Park Chan-wook!

We've had a lot of near-misses with Park over the years, as guests and potential guests have floated the possibility of talking about him. As his John le Carré adaptation The Little Drummer Girl airs around the world, this feels like a great time to look back at his filmography.

Before that, we look at a BBC article that asks why films directed by women keep getting excluded from “best of” lists. A recent poll of world cinema resulted in only four female filmmakers (Chantal Akerman, Claire Denis, Agnès Varda, Katia Lund) making the list. As the article points out, there were more films directed by men names Jean than were directed by women. (Kind of reminds us of Deb Verhoeven's Daversity problem.) We ask why this is: is it a matter of cinema history simply not having enough female filmmakers, or does the problem lie with lists such as these?

And before any of that we look at some of this month's new releases, including Steve McQueen’s heist drama Widows, the darkly comic Coen Bros Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Boots Riley’s absurdist comedy Sorry To Bother You, and the long-lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind.

Further reading:

  • “I'm fairly sure I've written lost films that will never be seen and this was one of them.” True enough. If you have a copy of FilmInk from October 2008, you'll be able to verify this. Happy tenth anniversary, this particular article!
  • The BBC article that the middle segment is based upon can be read here
  • Briony's article for SBS can be read here
  • And if you want to jump back to Rochelle's episode as guest, you can hear her talk about the films of Sofia Coppola here
  • If you want to take a stroll back through our mini-Hyphenate archive, you can check them out here
  • Briony describes Park Chan-wook as a combination of Alfred Hitchcock and Jane Campion, so if you don't feel like listening to this episode you can listen to us talk Hitchcock and Campion and it should have the same effect
  • If you want to hear more South Korean filmmaker talk, only a few months ago we talked Bong Joon-ho with guest Abe Forsythe
  • Here's Variety's review of Lady Vengeance

Outro music: score from Oldboy, composed by Jo Yeong-wook

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Briony Kidd talking the films of Park Chan-wook, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed directly from our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – November 2018

Briony Kidd joins us to talk the films of Park Chan-wook!

Rochelle and Lee look back at some of the new films from this month, including Steve McQueen’s heist drama Widows (0:55), the darkly comic Coen Bros Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (03:57), Boots Riley’s absurdist comedy Sorry To Bother You (07:38), and the long-lost Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind (10:54).

They’re then joined by filmmaker, critic, and festival curator Briony Kidd to talk about a recent BBC poll of the hundred greatest foreign language films. There were only four women directors accounted for in the list, so is the problem a lack of female filmmakers, or is it the lists themselves that are the issue? (14:58)

Briony then takes us through her filmmaker of the month, Park Chan-wook. Park is maybe South Korea’s best-known director, with films like Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Olboy and Lady Vengeance cementing him as a global cult figure. With the English-language Stoker and the acclaimed The Handmaiden certifying him as one of the modern greats, we look at why there’s so much more to this filmmaker than the bloody vengeance that made him famous. (27:13)

The Park Chan-wook Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double feature that will not only make for a great evening's viewing, but will bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

OLDBOY (2003) and STOKER (2013)

It was the revenge trilogy that forced the name “Park Chan-wook” into every cinephiliac's conversation in the mid-2000s, and the middle segment that made the trilogy itself a thing of legend. Fifteen years on, Oldboy is as wild, shocking, and (in parts) intentionally hilarious as it was upon its release. Usually, the years dull the sharp edges of the more sensationalist works, but not here. That's why you'll need to follow it up with something lighter, and only in Park's filmography could the violent melodramatic thriller Stoker be considered lighter fare. Park didn't miss a step as he leapt into English language cinema, directing Aussies Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and Jacki Weaver in a seductively gothic tale of dysfunctional family and mysterious strangers.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen Oldboy, seek out Sympathy For Mr Vengeance (2002). Think Oldboy is full-on? Then line your stomach with something sturdy, because its antecedent makes it look like multiplex fodder. Mr Vengeance begins with deaf-mute factory worker losing his job and worrying about how he's going to find a kidney transplant for his dying sister. And then it gets bleak. If you can't get or have already seen Stoker, get your hands on The Handmaiden (2016). This erotic psychological thriller (look, that's what Wikipedia calls it) is one of the most deftly-constructed films of recent memory, with just the right amount of twists and turns, and an astonishingly satisfying ending.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned when people talk about the films of Park Chan-wook? Then you should track down Joint Security Area (2000). It's not a terribly obscure title for Park fans, but given it was released prior to the vengeance trilogy, it may have escaped the attention of many. Which is a shame, because if you can make it through the first act (which admittedly plays like a badly-translated episode of JAG), you'll find a film that is clever, political, touching, and funny.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Briony Kidd talking the films of Park Chan-wook, will be released on 30 November 2018.

Our Next Hyphenate Briony Kidd

Filmmaker, film festival founder, and Hi4H November 2018 guest host Briony Kidd

If there's anyone who fits the multi-hyphenate brief, it's Briony Kidd.

Briony's a Hobart-based filmmaker who wrote and directed the 2011 short The Room at the Top of the Stairs, which screened around the world at festivals and can be viewed on the Shudder platform. She's currently in development on a feature film inspired by the “psycho-biddy” films of the 1960s, which is supported by Screen Australia and Screen Tasmania

She has reviewed films for the Jakarta Post, and written articles about cinema and social issues for The Guardian, The Mercury, and SBS Movies, and has recently been appointed to the board of the newly-formed national Women in Film an Television Australia.

Briony is well-known as the co-founder of Stranger With My Face, a popular festival showcasing and celebrating women genre directors, named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the world's 15 Bloody Best Genre Fests.

But, as tends to be the case with all of our guests, all of that pales in comparison to her next role: Hell Is For Hyphenates guest host!

So which filmmaker has she chosen to talk about on the show?

None other than Park Chan-wook!

Park is perhaps South Korea's most renowned working filmmaker. It was his fourth film, 2002's Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, that brought him to international attention, and follow-up, 2003's Oldboy, certified him as a must-see filmmaker.

Although he's best known for his vengeance trilogy - which began with the aforementioned films and concluded with 2005's Lady Vengeance - Park has not been afraid to dip his feet into a variety of genres. He's made a political thriller in 2000's Joint Security Area, a romantic comedy in 2006's brilliantly-titled I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, a religious vampire fantasy in 2009's Thirst, and in his first English-language film, a family melodrama in 2013's Stoker.

Most recently, he made the acclaimed drama The Handmaiden (2016), and has directed all six episodes of the John le Carré adaptation The Little Drummer Girl, which is currently airing on networks around the world.

But what is it about Park's style that so appeals to Briony?

Join us on November 30 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Park Chan-wook