Features and Columns · Movies

The Color Theory of Park Chan-Wook

From seeing red to feeling green with envy, here’s a breakdown of the color stories in the work of Park Chan-wook.
Park Chan Wook Color Theory
By  · Published on June 12th, 2023

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores the thematic use of colors in the filmography of Park Chan-Wook.

If you’ve frequented Film Twitter (god help you), you may have encountered a cynical joke that basically amounts to: “Hey did you know that they still make movies in color?”

It’s a shit-eating comment at the expense of modern films that follow a decidedly un-fun trend in modern filmmaking. Namely: an apparent allergic reaction to much of the color spectrum. And while it can certainly feel like a gray, de-saturated tidal wave has robbed us of the rainbow, the trend (which is real) is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. It doesn’t always feel like it, but modern filmmaking is full of color. Obviously. And there’s no better way to lurch yourself out of a fatalistic spiral about the rise of “intangible sludge” than a good ole’ fashioned montage about the vibrant hues of Park Chan-Wook.

From early noughties classics like Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance to the South Korean director’s latest banger Decision to Leave, Park Chan-Wook has always been exacting and intentional about embracing the color spectrum. So without further ado (or doom and gloom about the aesthetics of modern cinema), here’s a video essay that spotlights the vibrant visual storytelling on display in Park Chan Wook’s filmography.

Watch “The Colours Of Park Chan-Wook”

Who made this?

This video on the color theory behind the films of Park Chan-wook is hosted by the folks at Little White Lies, a film-obsessed magazine based in the United Kingdom. Luís Azevedo directed this video. You can follow Little White Lies on Twitter here. And you can check out their official website here. You can subscribe to their YouTube account here.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.