Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s stock skyrocketed like a space-bound rocketship following the release of his 2019 film, “Parasite.”
The film won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, snatched up four Oscars (Writing, Director, Picture, International Feature), and brought home an Ensemble Performance Award at the Screen Actor’s Guild.
An extremely versatile director with experience in multiple genres, Bong returned to his native Korean land to set the scene for this film which ran up the racks for everyone involved. Even his interpreter, Sharon Choi, is getting to the bag!
“I have a complex feeling about genre. I love it. But I hate it at the same time. I have the urge to make audiences thrill with the excitement of a genre, but I also try to betray and destroy the expectations placed on that genre.” (Bong Joon-Ho)
Bong Joon-Ho uses duality to let his films shine brighter
It is not lost upon Bong Joon-Ho that his most critically-acclaimed film to date took place in his old stomping grounds. That is so raw, especially given the fact that this story is lightly based upon his own experience of tutoring a rich kid.
Throughout the film, Bong Joon-Ho sprinkles in Korean details and specificity that displays nuanced intelligence and nods to local connoisseurs.
Most importantly, it deals with the fact that Korea appears glamorous on the surface, but the income inequality gap continues to widen.
And this is the duality on display. The sheer divide between the upper and lower classes in Korea (that rings true in much of the world, surely America included).
Upon significant interest, Bong Joon-Ho insists that this film does not pit the rich against the poor. Rather, it is a neutral lens interrogation of the current system.
The beauty of Parasite
The South Korean film depicts a society where there is minimal respect. In a world where mutual respect should be the standard.
It also highlights the fact that forms of warfare and familial separation are not abstract ideas: rather they are very real and known.
Parasite is a vertical class stratification. Meaning, the Bong Joon-Ho film straddles the line between wealth and poverty in an excellent manner.
It touches upon the societal blind spots that are often overlooked and it illuminates them in such an intricate manner.
The way that Bong Joon-Ho, director extraordinaire, is able to zoom in so closely all the while creating a universal experience is what makes this film so captivating and prestigious.
Bong Joon-Ho’s career story is one of overcoming, so it is only right that his films are the same
Bong Joon-Ho loves to toe the line when it comes to social division. And he normally gives a slight nod to the underdogs.
He is revered by American creatives (and worldwide alike) for his ability to tap into different genres and transcend cinematic themes effortlessly. You can tell it is a Bong Joon production because he splashes in signature slo-mo scenes that exhibit extreme mayhem in nearly every piece he concocts.
“The multilevel, the conscious and the unconscious, is natural when I write scripts, when I come up with ideas and stories.” (Bong Joon Ho)
South Korean film is in a good place in large part due to director Bong Joon-Ho
Bong Joon-Ho remains hungry and insists that level-headed ambivalence is key. He remains humble by living in a 9th-floor apartment and carefully crafting the elements of what is to come.
The duality in his work and his artistic integrity play a pivotal role within every aspect of his output. Remaining balanced, straddling the lines, and always asking questions to delve deeper serve him so well.
Also, Bong Joon-Ho is pushing to the forefront the conversation of seeing foreign films not as a chore, but as a delightful treat! There are so many films out there for us to see, South Korean or otherwise. And something as small as subtitles should not be a deterrent.
What makes Bong Joon-Ho an iconic filmmaker might you ask? His exclusive aura.
His productions weigh heavily on the minds of consumers due to their tendencies to tap deep into viewers’ psyches. Also, they are so well-packaged, and utilize nuances such as cultural capital, aesthetics, and perception.
There is a duality to every process, and the way that Bong Joon-Ho is able to balance and put out a polished final product is simply magnificent. Many would liken him to a Korean mineral which represents an “opportune metaphorical gift.” (Think the beginning of Parasite)