South Korean director Park Chan-wook leaves violence behind in new 'adult film'

Decision To Leave is South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook's fourth film at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. PHOTO: REUTERS

CANNES (REUTERS) - Celebrated South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, best known for his brutal Vengeance Trilogy (2002 to 2005), is covering new ground with his latest Cannes competition entry, Decision To Leave.

The romantic thriller about a detective and murder suspect who become infatuated with one another features, contrary to the expectation of some, little violence or nudity.

"When something is not in the film, you say why isn't it there and the other way around," Park, 58, joked when asked at a Cannes press conference if the film marks a new direction for him.

"When I started preparing to make the movie, I wanted to make a film for adults. Everyone said to me, 'Oh it's going to be a really erotic, sexy film,' and I thought, how odd that that is what people expect when I say I want to make a film for adults so I did the exact opposite."

South Korean actor Park Hae-il stars as police detective Hae-joon, who is investigating the death of an avid climber who fell from a mountain peak.

Meeting the man's wife, a mysterious woman of Chinese origin played by actress Tang Wei, Hae-joon's suspicions grow when she shows no sign of shock over her loss. He starts observing her and over time the two develop feelings for one another.

"There are lots of police stories, but they are usually very rough, very violent and in this case, the detective is very clean-cut and kind. He doesn't use violence, or at least uses it as little as possible in order to solve all these mysteries," said Park, 45.

"Through my performance, I wanted to portray a new kind of cop."

Decision To Leave is one of 21 titles vying for Cannes' top honour, the Palme d'Or, this year.

It is Park Chan-wook's fourth film at the festival, with Oldboy (2003) winning the Grand Prix in 2004 and Thirst (2009) tying for the Jury Prize in 2009.

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