Welcome back, Park Chan-wook. The South Korean auteur returned to Cannes six years after “The Handmaiden” with his new detective thriller “Decision to Leave” and earned a five-minute standing ovation.
Although the ovation matched the amount of time celebrating “The Handmaiden,” the reception was notably more muted. While the camera the festival uses that normally shows on the creative team’s gracious reaction after the movie, and helps to keep the applause rolling, wasn’t working, the response was quiet even before the technical snafu.
“Decision to Leave” centers around a detective who falls in love with a mysterious widow who just happens to be the prime suspect in his latest murder investigation. The synopsis has led many to refer to the film has as Park’s “Basic Instinct.” The cast is led by Park Hae-il and “Lust, Caution” breakout Tang Wei. Supporting roles are played by Lee Jung-hyun, Go Kyung-pyo and Park Yong-woo.
Park’s last film, the erotic lesbian thriller “The Handmaiden,” debuted at Cannes in 2016 and earned a five-minute standing ovation. The movie competed for the Palme d’Or but went home empty handed. Park’s other films include “Oldboy,” “Stoker,” and “Snowpiercer.” Along with “Shoplifters” Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda and his new film “Broker,” “Decision to Leave” is one of two-high profile South Korean films competing at the Cannes 2022.
Ahead of this year’s festival, Mubi announced it had picked up distribution rights to “Decision to Leave” in multiple territories such as North America, UK, Ireland, Turkey and India. The film will be released theatrically in the US and the UK with fall 2022 dates planned, followed by an exclusive Mubi streaming release.
Park was previously in Cannes with “Oldboy” in 2003, “Thirst” in 2009 and “The Handmaiden” in 2016. In between “The Handmaiden” and “Decision to Leave,” he pivoted to television with the limited series “The Little Drummer” Girl.”