[ENTERTAINMENT]Film's Premier Partnership Aims High

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Film's Premier Partnership Aims High

The huge success of "Joint Security Area" was made possible through the collaboration of the director Park Chan-wook and scriptwriter Lee Mu-young. Over the last 10 years, Mr. Park, 38, and Mr. Lee, 37, have worked on 10 movies together, including "JSA" (2000) and "Anarchist" (2000) (in which Mr. Park assisted with the scriptwriting).

Their latest collaboration is "Humanist," which is scheduled for release on May 12.

This time, they have switched roles. In the new film, Mr. Lee took charge of direction, while Mr. Park took part in writing the script, helped by Mr. Lee. In "Humanist," Mr. Lee displayed his various talents not only in direction but also by producing the original sound track. He even made a small appearance on-screen.

Mr. Lee first made his name on the music scene, as a critic, radio DJ and a reporter for entertainment television programs. On the other hand, Mr. Park has always devoted his energies to film. He has built his solid reputation on several foundations, as director, scriptwriter and film critic.

Mr. Lee said he never considered movie direction until he met Mr. Park by chance.

"If it were not for Park, I would not have become a filmmaker. Seeing Park's amazingly strong passion for movies, I wanted to find out why he was so infatuated with them. And that curiosity, in the end, led me to pursue a career in the same field," he said.

It was 1991 when this now famed pair of collaborators first met. At that time, Mr. Park was shooting his debut film, "The Moon is a Dream of the Sun." One of the actors in the movie, Song Seung-hwan, introduced him to Mr. Lee.

At that time, Mr. Lee was a radio DJ, having returned from the United States where he had studied business administration and drama. From then on, Mr. Park made regular guest appearances on Mr. Lee's evening show. After each program was over, they cemented their friendship by drinking together into the wee hours of the night.

Mr. Park puts their relationship in a rather interesting way - as a meeting of different traditions and times. He is Roman Catholic and Mr. Lee is Protestant. Mr. Park loves classical music, and Mr. Lee prefers rock.

Their characters are quite different as well, according to Mr. Park: "Where I am staid and composed, Lee is spirited and rather hot tempered. This difference results in a perfect harmony between us, particularly when I get lost in indecision - Lee resolutely carries forward the plan."

But the strongest bond between the two is their shared attitude to movie making. They are in full accord that they should tell the stories of the poor, uneducated and lost.

As Mr. Lee said, "Many other filmmakers already deal with the bright and enjoyable side of the world. But for me, it would be totally satisfying if I could contribute to improve the world for the poor by focusing on the dark side."

by Park Jeong-ho

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