Director Bong Joon-Ho: Popular Films and What’s Next
The South Korean writer, producer, and director Bong Joon-Ho should be on everyone’s “to watch” list. With socially conscious films filled with lots of dark humor, he has made quite the name for himself worldwide. On the anniversary of the Oscars, it is fair to say that we should all be reminded of his great works, starting with his Oscar-winning film Parasite.
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Parasite (made in 2019) quickly became popular around the world. With its relevant rhetoric regarding classism and greed in Seoul, the film displays a tough reality through the dynamics between the poverty-stricken Kim family and the wealthy Park family. This kind of story is relatable in any country, which is probably why it became so popular. Understanding people and what it means to struggle through this dark satire is probably what won Bong Joon-Ho an Oscar.
In 2020, Parasite won an Oscar for the Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film categories. The film also received an 8.6/10 rating on IMDb and a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is well deserved. To stream this Oscar-winning film by Bong Joon-Ho, you can find it on Hulu.
Okja is another popular movie from 2017 by director Bong Joon-Ho. However, instead of classism, this movie focuses more on the environment and animal activism. The film follows Mija, a young girl, who is friends with the super pig Okja. Okja is separated from Mija in South Korea and taken to New York by the Mirando Corporation in preparation for slaughter. Mija searches for a way to bring Okja home alive with the help of the Animal Liberation Front. As the film sheds light on capitalism and animal cruelty, one can easily see the parallels between the film and reality.
Okja received seven awards and 21 nominations in 2017 and 2018 for a variety of categories. The film also received a 7.3/10 rating on IMDb, an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a score of 75 on Metacritic. All of these awards and ratings are befitting with Bong Joon-Ho’s style. To stream this award-winning film, you can find it on Netflix.
Snowpiercer (2013) is another well-known movie by Bong Joon-Ho. After a human-made climate disaster, all of humanity is forced to live on the train called the Snowpiercer. As it circles the planet endlessly, the humans living on this train have to deal with their own classism and revolution. It is the lower class at the end of the train against the elite class near the front in this dark satire.
Snowpiercer is also an award-winning movie. It received 35 wins and 105 nominations in a variety of categories. The film also received a 7.1/10 on IMDb, a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 84 on Metacritic. To stream this socially conscious movie, you can also find it on Netflix.
What’s Next For Director Bong Joon-Ho?
After directing all of these great films, especially Parasite, you might wonder what’s next? Is Bong Joon-Ho going to make more films? Is he taking a break? Well, it was reported in 2020 by IndieWire that even though he was tired, he would continue working on two projects. Right now, it is still unknown what these projects are, but “one is in Korean and one is in English.” The Korean film looks like it will be an action/horror based in Seoul, South Korea, while the English film will be set in the United States and the UK about an historical event. I believe these will be great films to look out for in the next few years!
As for Bong Joon-Ho’s plans in 2021, it looks like he will be the Jury President for the 78th Venice International Film Festival. According to Chron., he will be the first South Korean citizen to hold this post. To keep up with this monumentous event, stay tuned for September 1-11 when the festival takes place!
Other Films by Director Bong Joon-Ho
There are plenty of great films by Bong Joon-Ho. He definitely has a unique style that addresses social and political issues through satire. If you enjoy his work or want to give him a chance, you can try any of the movies listed above. All are great, however, you should also check out his IMDb page listing his work. On this list are movies like The Host and Mother, which are also widely talked about movies. Both of these are dramas with elements of horror or mystery. Try out one of his movies for a thought-provoking movie night!
For more movie recommendations to break out of your routine binge-watching, also check out these award-winning Korean movies.