Tang Wei, the Chinese star of Korean film “Decision to Leave,” says she told director Park Chan-wook that he’d made her life complete after seeing the finished version of the film at its Cannes Film Festival gala premiere.
The film played in competition this week in Cannes. She revealed her confession on Tuesday at a press event, accompanied by Park, cast member Park Hae-il and scriptwriter Chung Soo-kyung.
Switching between Chinese and English, Tang Wei said: “This in not the first time I’ve worked with a Korean director. Director Park gave us actors a lot of information, but at the same time he is very protective of the material… after seeing the film yesterday, I told [Park] that you make some part of my life complete.”
“There were no special difficulties making the film, only joys,” she added. “Of course there were some practical challenges, because I don’t speak Korean well.”
That could come as a surprise to many viewers as the film plays extensively with language. Tang’s character speaks Chinese and a form of Korean that is described in the film as particularly formal due to the character having learned the language as a foreigner. However in real life Tang is married to Korean film director Kim Tae-yong and is familiar with the language.
Park Hae-il, a veteran of dozens of Korean movies, said the biggest challenge in making the film was about plunging into the universe of director.
Chung confirmed that the film was inspired by a popular song, but that she had not listened to the words before approaching the screenplay. “I took a logical approach and decided to adopt a misty atmosphere,” she said.
Park denied suggestions that the film was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” as some critics have suggested. “I never thought of that before, but I can see the connection,” he said.
Park, who previously directed the ultra-violent and stylized “Oldboy,” denied that he is an action film specialist. “I don’t particularly like stunt or action scenes. But some parts of a film require them. In that case I try to make them as appropriate as possible.”
He was asked by one journalist why the film contained so few sex or violence scenes. “Would you ask this question of another director? I was asked the same question yesterday when I held meetings with distributors. My film did not need nudity or violence.”
Park explained: “In any police interrogation you have questions and answers. But sometimes the suspect asks questions of the policemen. [In my film] they eat together, clean the table together — this is part of the detective’s character. He also spies on her. For some people that might be an intrusion, but for [Tang Wei’s character] Soo-rae, she finds it comforting.”
Earlier in the day, financier and sales agent CJ Entertainment said that “Decision to Leave” had been its most successful title of all time in terms of sales value. It has been sold to 192 countries and territories, including to Bac Films for France, Mubi for North America, U.K., Turkey and India, and Happinet Phantom Studios for Japan.