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Review: Park Chan-Wook's Revenge Trilogy

March 8, 2013 1:17 p.m.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando recommends seeing Park Chan-Wook's Revenge Trilogy this weekend at Reading's Town Square Cinemas before seeing his first American film "Stoker" when it opens next week.

Related Story: Review: 'Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: Acclaimed South Korean director Park Chan-Wook makes his U.S. debut this month with the film “Stoker.” KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says San Diego audiences should prepare by checking out the Park Chan-wook retrospective this weekend at Reading’s Town Square Cinemas.


The films of South Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s films may send some fleeing for the exit because he often and unapologetically puts you through the grinder.

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He's not interested in feel good films. Instead he consider a world where good intentions go awry, decent people do bad things, and fate deals cruel cards. He’s most famous for his revenge trilogy – “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” “Oldboy,” and “Lady Vengeance.”

“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” is the most mature, controlled and emotionally resonant of the three. The revenge here is ironically fueled by good intentions gone horribly wrong. The audacious “Oldboy” gives us a protagonist who attains tragic stature, like a shaggy King Lear undone by his own foolishness. Then the final chapter, Lady Vengeance, suggests hell hath no fury like a woman bent on revenge. The films move from the impossibility of salvation in “Mr. Vengeance” to the religious iconography and hope of redemption in “Lady Vengeance.”

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Park doesn’t provides conventional heroes or villains, just frustratingly complex human beings. But even at their darkest, his films find surprising and heartbreaking shreds of humanity. They also dazzle us with ferocious, provocative artistry.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.