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Park Chan-wook preparing remake of French auteur's 'The Axe'

All Headlines 15:36 October 06, 2019

By Kim Boram

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's renowned film director Park Chan-wook said Sunday that he is now working on his lifelong dream of remaking a Cannes-winning French auteur's comedy drama, "The Axe."

"I have had a lifetime project to make a film titled 'The Axe,'" Park said in an open talk with Greek-French director Costa Gavras held at the Busan Cinema Center during the ongoing Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). "I've not yet started filming, but I wish to make this film as my masterpiece."

Gavras' 2005 film "The Axe" is an adaptation of the 1997 American novel, "The Ax," by Donald E. Westlake.

It pictures the desperate attempts by a laid-off employee to stay afloat, but he finally becomes helpless and tries to kill his job competitors.

South Korean director Park Chan-wook (L) speaks at an open talk with French filmmaker Costa Gavras (R) during the Busan International Film Festival at the Busan Cinema Center in Busan on Oct. 6, 2019. (Yonhap)

"I want to remake this French-language film into an English-language one," Park said. "And Gavras and his wife have the filming copyright, and they are producers of my project. I've been working with Gavras family for years."

The 56-year-old Korean director is best known for his critically acclaimed films, including "Old Boy" (2003), which brought him Cannes' second-highest honor of Grand Prix, and "Thirst" (2009), the winner of Cannes' No. 3 Jury Prize.

His last feature film "The Handmaiden," an erotic psychological thriller, was invited to Cannes' competition section in 2016. Then, he directed an English television series, "The Little Drummer Girl" aired on the BBC in 2018, based on the novel of the same name by John le Carre.

His works, especially his well-known vengeance trilogy -- "Mr. Vengeance" (2002), "Old Boy (2003)" and "Lady Vengeance" (2005) -- often portray the brutality and cruelty of human nature with different colors and emotions.

"I think emotions in one film lead to a change in the next one," the veteran director said. "I feel bored of repeating things that I've once gone through. This desire to do something new and challenging encourages me to try again next time."

Gavras, who won the Canne's Palme d'Or for his historical drama "Missing" in 1982, hailed Park as a versatile artist who has creative worldviews in all his films.

"It's a surprise that one director has shown separate views, sentiment and creativity in respective films," the Greece-born French filmmaker said. "None may match the sophisticated sensibility of Park in Europe."


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