The Films Of The Director Of ‘Parasites’ That You Must See (and Those That Will Come)

As we all know by now, the great surprise of the Oscar night was the victory of Parasites – the South Korean film starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So -dam, and directed by Bong Joon-ho. But undoubtedly it is the latter who undoubtedly has benefited most from the unusual triumph of the film, because the four very important awards that the film has garnered point to him more or less directly: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film and Best Film – being, remember, the first time in history that a non-English-speaking film wins this last prize. After winning four of the most important Oscar of 2020, Bong Joon-ho has become the fashion filmmaker. (Images: Chris Pizzello, AP Photo – Gtres / Kimberly French – Netflix) More And we say it was a surprise because, although many moviegoers around the world know at least part of the filmography of this 50-year-old filmmaker (as without his “teachers” doubt Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, whom he wanted to remember in his thank-you speech), it is no less true that the bulk of the international public is unfamiliar with him – and that for many he has been and will be parasites , with its strange and original mix of black comedy and social thriller, the first approach to Bong’s peculiar cinema. Therefore, today more than ever, we should review what the director has been offering us since the beginning of the 21st century, a scene from Memories of Murder, the second feature of the Korean director. (Image: © CJ Entertainment) MoreWho wants to take a thorough tour of the history as director of Bong must start with his 2000 debut, Flandersui gae / Barking Dogs Never Bite – a comedy about the kidnapping of a dog that the filmmaker filmed a few years after graduating from the Korean Academy of Film Arts and that went mostly unnoticed. That said, we advise you to jump directly to your second movie: Memories of Murder. This magnificent 2003 thriller, based on a true story about two detectives struggling to find a rapist and murderer of women in rural South Korea in the 1980s, had a much larger scale than its predecessor (both in production and in distribution) and was responsible for putting Bong on the world cinematography map. His international premiere was at the Festival of San Sebastián (where he won Best Director) and had a huge success of criticism and audience – becoming one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films. Memories of Murder was also the first time that Bong worked with his usual collaborator Song Kang-ho – the actor who plays Kim Ki-taek in Parasites.The Host, a show of (good) genre mixing. (Image: © Showbox Entertainment) More After spending some time contributing to collective projects with some pieces and short films, Bong returned in 2006 with The Host, a new and mastodonic leap in his career, both for his budget – which was around 10, 9 million euros (12 million dollars) – as per his unclassifiable genre – an intimate drama wrapped in a giant monster movie … or just the opposite. His story introduces us to a family from Seoul who is immersed in chaos when a huge amphibious monster emerges from the Han River and kidnaps the daughter of the character who plays Song Kang-ho. The film participated in the Cannes Festival and was an even greater success for Bong – becoming the highest grossing Korean film of all time (although today he is content to be in the Top 20). Read moreBong launched to direct his first English-speaking film with Snowpiercer. (Image: © The Weinstein Company / RADiUS-TWC) MoreBong’s fourth feature film would be the drama Mother (not to be confused with the Aronofsky movie), about a mature woman looking for the criminal who framed her son for the horrible murder of a school. Again, this heartbreaking 2009 tape would unleash the applause in Cannes and featured on many lists of the best of the year. But for many, Bong’s discovery would not come until he had his English-speaking debut with Snowpiercer (2013), the adaptation of the graphic novel Le Transperceneige about a post-apocalyptic and dystopian future in which train passengers (who constitute the world population) live separately according to their social status … until a man decides to lead the revolution against the elite. With a luxury cast that included Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Jamie Bell and Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer burst the ticket office in South Korea, was applauded at some of the biggest festivals in the world and definitely turned Bong into a filmmaker international to follow.Okja was very applauded but also criticized for opting for the Palme d’Or being a Netflix production. (Image: © Netflix) MoreAfter writing and producing the acclaimed drama Mist (2014), in 2017 Bong premiered Okja – another strange film about a young woman who raises and protects a kind of genetically modified super-pig. Co-written by Jon Ronson (Frank, The Men Who Stare at Goats) and by Bong himself, the film once again featured an international luxury cast – with names like Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal or Paul Dano – despite that Bong returned to South Korea to shoot her. He had his premiere in the Official Section of the Cannes Festival in 2017, where he generated a lot of controversy when competing for the Palme d’Or despite having been produced by Netflix. At this point, it was already more than clear that the provocative line to be followed by this peculiar filmmaker was that of eclecticism, the mixture of genres and the constant technical and narrative experimentation … Parasites supposes the definitive consecration of Bong as director-star to follow. (Image: © The Audiovisual Adventure) More Consolidated as the South Korean filmmaker of the decade, Bong decided to stay in his country and shoot his next film entirely in his mother tongue. This would finally be Parasites, a strange and very black comedy mixed with psychological thriller and social drama, about a poor family that slowly infiltrates into a rich family … and discovers that their hosts also hide dark secrets. Parasites debuted at the 2019 Cannes Festival and there won the Golden Palm – Bong being the first Korean director to win this award (and the tape, the first Korean national to obtain it). In addition, it was the first time since Adèle’s life that the jury awarded the coveted unanimous award. Again, Bong received critical acclaim and his film swept through the international box office, receiving other important awards (including the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film) until he opted for four of the main 2020 Oscars – winning them all, as we have seen Now let’s look to the future. Thanks to IndieWire, we have learned that the next thing about this filmmaker turned into a superstar will be to take charge of the executive production of the Snowpiercer series that will broadcast the TNT chain from next May 31, as well as the development and production of the adaptation to Parasites TV series for HBO – in which Bong says he will be able to develop the “six-hour movie” he imagined at first. At the moment it is unknown if he will also take over the direction and if the series will be set in South Korea as well as the film, or he will move his action to the US with a local cast. In a more distant future – and such and As Vanity Fair collects–, Bong claims to have several personal projects in mind, including “an atmospheric black film tape in the style of Sed de mal, Orson Welles” – which would be set on the US-Mexico border – as well as a great action movie similar to The Great Evasion, the movie with Steve McQueen. As for the seductive possibility of taking over a Marvel movie, Bong confesses to feeling little affection for both superheroes – despite admiring films like Logan or the Guardians of the Galaxy saga – and for franchises and adaptations in general. So we can hope that for the next few years the Korean will remain faithful to his promise to follow the trail of his admired Quentin Tarantino and give top priority to directing original stories. 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