The Images of Decision to Leave: Inside Park Chan-wook’s Noir Masterwork


Kim: When they were shooting this, I was on the A cam, shooting what we originally planned. So I didn’t know what was happening. Only after they’d shot it, only on the monitor, did I see it, when they were playing back. I could not deny how great it was. At the same time, I was a little bit unsure, nervous, about it because the focus was not crystal clear. But I think that actually added to this emotional sentiment. The lack of focus is because there’s such a fog around it. Going back to what Park said, actually, fog was adding to this emotion, and gave this painting a feeling to it. We see there, the sun down reflecting on the ocean, creating this surreal element to the entire image. All even though I didn’t plan it. [Laughs]

Especially near the ocean, we added fog with VFX. Adding the fog created another layer onto it, further depth to the experience. All the fog you see in the film has been added by VFX. When we hear the ocean waves, the sound of it also adds another layer and brings this whole experience to another level.

Park: About the sundown we see reflected on the ocean—in the beginning, we couldn’t really tell from the footage, but it was there. We captured it. The color is amped up [in post-production], to make it alive. It’s not that it wasn’t there, we just brought what was already embedded in it. For this moment, I am especially grateful for our B-cam operator, and also the colorist. Also I would like to thank the ocean. Obviously, I had wished that there were grand waves crashing around, but you can’t really tell what’s going to happen on the day. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be a really quiet ocean, but the ocean brought life. If we have missed this day, then we would’ve had to come back a couple of months later in order to shoot it. That was a great concerning factor for us. And the thing is, if the waves were stronger, then that would’ve jeopardized the safety of the actors. It was just the perfect level of waves that we came by.

The ground was slippery, which actually worked for us. We didn’t plan on it, but Hae-jun ended up slipping twice. I would like to apologize to the performer, the actor, Park Hae-il, but that was not intentional. That was a happy accident. That moment, I think, shows how it this man is both sad, and also idiotic, or comical, at the same time. It reflects the tone that we were going for. There’s a pathetic element to it.

Kim: And we promise, Park Hae-il did not get hurt at all. [Laughs]

These interviews were edited and condensed, and conducted through a translator.


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