Park Chan-Wook (born August 23, 1963) is a South Korean director and screenwriter. One of the most acclaimed and popular filmmakers in his native country, Park is internationally renowned for what has become known as his "vengeance trilogy", which began in 2002 with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and ended in 2005 with Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.
He grew up in Seoul and studied philosophy at the Sogang University, where he started a cine-club called the 'Film Gang' and published a number of articles on contemporary cinema. On seeing Vertigo, he resolved to try to become a filmmaker. After graduation, he wrote articles on film for journals, and soon became an assistant director of films like Kkamdong of Yu Yeong-Jin and A Sketch of a Rainy Day of Kwak Jae-yong (My Sassy Girl).
His debut feature film was The Moon Is... the Sun's Dream (1992), and after 5 years, he made his second film Trio, but the response to these two films were quite cold.
In 2000, Park directed Joint Security Area, which was a great success both commercially and critically, even surpassing Kang Je-gyu's Shiri as the most-watched film ever made in South Korea. This success made it possible for him to make his next film more independently - Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the result of this creative freedom.
After winning the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for the film Oldboy, a journalist asked "in your film, why is the vengeance repeating?". According to Park, he decided to make three consecutive films with revenge as the central theme. Often thought to be in favor of vengeance, Park has denied this, saying his films are about the utter futility of vengeance and how it wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone involved.
His so-called "vengeance trilogy" consists of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. It was not originally intended to be a trilogy. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, cut to Lady Vengeance, is being distributed by Tartan Films for American theatrical release in April 2006.
Filming for his next project, a "strange romance" about a mental patient who believes she is a combat cyborg, is slated to begin in March 2006. Im Su-jeong has been cast as the female lead; Bi (Rain) has been cast as the male lead.
In addition to being a film director and screenwriter, Park is also a film critic with several published editions to his name. None have been translated into English as of yet.
Famed American director Quentin Tarantino is an avowed fan of Park and has publicly disclosed on the show Jimmy Kimmel Live! that as the head judge in the 2004 Cannes Film Fesitval, he personally pushed for Park's Oldboy to be awarded the Palme D'Or (the honor eventually went to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11). Oldboy garnered the Grand Jury Prize, the second highest honor in the competition.