Park Chan-wook (born August 23, 1963 in the Tanyan area of Jecheon) 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", consisting of 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy in 2003 and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance in 2005.
Park grew up in Seoul and studied philosophy at the Sogang University, where he started a cine-club called the 'Sogang Film Community' and published a number of articles on contemporary cinema. After graduation, he wrote articles on film for journals, and soon became an assistant director of films like Kkamdong of Yu Yeong-Jin and Watercolor painting in a Rainy Day of Kwak Jae-yong
(My Sassy Girl).
Before Joint Security Area, Park was more famous as a film critic than as a filmmaker.
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. 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, shortened to Lady Vengeance, was distributed by Tartan Films for American theatrical release in April 2006.
Despite of the extreme violences in his films, Park is regarded as one of the most popular film directors in Korea, with three of his last five feature films (Joint Security Area, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) gathering more than 3 million spectators. Which means that Park has three films in 30 all-time highest grossing films.
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 yet.
In 2006, he was the member of official section jury at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival.
In February 2007, Park won the Alfred Bauer prize at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival. The award, named after the festival's founder and in praise of movies opening up new perspectives, went to Park for his film, I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK.
Like another Korean director Bong Joon-ho
, Park is a partisan of Democratic Labor Party, a minor and the most leftist party in South Korea, for whom in 2002 he joined the presidential TV campaign.