Discussion Group - Language and Imagery in Contemporary Korean Cinema - Dr Haneul Lee (Oxford)

Decision to Leave (2022) by Park Chan-Wook, which has been selected as South Korea’s entry for best international feature film at the Academy Awards 2023, is a neo-noir romantic mystery film about how a detective and a foreigner, who is under suspicion for the murder of her husband, meet and part ways. With this new film, Park, the director of Old Boy (2003), Lady Vengeance (2005), Thirst (2009), Stoker (2013) and The Handmaiden (2016), won Best Director for the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. This rather sedate — violence and nudity are reduced to a minimum in comparison to Park’s previous works — but still powerful film has formed a certain fandom in Korea: it is estimated that many people watched this film multiple times in the cinema since its release. This level of fandom has given rise to an interesting phenomenon. Soon after its publication, the original script book of this film was ranked No. 1 Bestseller for three weeks in the country, which points to the literary character of the film — it is very rich in terms of its use of languages, so that viewers are eager to read the original text after watching the film