OLDBOY [2003]: Oh boy!

A 'that!' post...

As suppose to stylistics, reading Bordwell, Staiger, and Thompson's monumental The Classical Hollywood Cinema, i cannot suck in the significance of Park Chan-Wook's dizzying and perhaps the 'best style' from a Korean filmmaker. His approach is much of Hollywood meets Wong Kar-wai which i cannot stomach in the context of originality and ingenuity. No innovation at all, just a recycled bunch of ideas.

His frames, images below, extols a much mature aesthetics but not fully grown than his other Asian predecessors. Oldboy (2003) has a color palette not much of a high contrast but more normalize than Wong Kar-Wai's Happy Together (1997). I can see how much Wong's sense of space has dominated his mise-en-scene. But then Park Chan-Wook attempted to put contemporary devices on framing such as splitting the frames, shooting in wide-angle lens for distortions, staging in depth, deploying long takes, and using handheld camera movements to develop chaos and realism.

There is also a Kafkan element present. Note the illusion of the ants superimposed on the melancholia and alienation of both characters. If i could think clearly, he borrowed some thoughts on Dostoevksy's Note from Underground --- perhaps its parallelism to the imprisonment of Dae Su for fifteen years. This intertextual referencing is perhaps central to Oldboy. The stylize conglomeration of this textual sources made it an insoluble mass of art, definitely not an avant-garde but of mainstream specificity which i did not expect.

However, the thing is, honestly, i am intense in saying that he borrowed some of the montage elements from Chungking Express (1994). The Oldboy use of the calendar-type transition of time has the same function to the ones in Chungking Express. Anyway, i have to let my dissatisfaction simmer down and approach Oldboy in other aspects than this.

But i have to admit, his narrative construction is superb!