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Park Chan-wook (Hangul: 박찬욱; born August 23, 1963) is a South Korean film director, screenwriter, producer, and former film critic. One of the most acclaimed and popular filmmakers in his native country, Park is most known for his films Joint Security Area, Thirst and what has become known as The Vengeance Trilogy, consisting of 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy in 2003 and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance in 2005. His films are noted for their immaculate framing and often brutal subject matter.
In a May 2004 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Park listed Sophocles, Shakespeare, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Kurt Vonnegut and others as being influences on his career. In a later interview for Lady Vengeance, Park listed Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Aldrich, Ingmar Bergman, Sam Fuller, Roman Polanski and Kim Ki-young as cinematic influences.
Park was born and raised in Seoul, and studied philosophy at Sogang University, where he started a cinema-club called the "Sogang Film Community" and published a number of articles on contemporary cinema. Originally intending to be an art critic, upon seeing Vertigo he resolved to try to become a filmmaker. After graduation, he wrote articles on film for journals, and soon became an assistant director of films like Kkamdong, directed by Yu Yeong-jin, and Watercolor painting in a Rainy Day, directed by Kwak Jae-yong (My Sassy Girl).