Loved Parasite? Don’t forget to watch these 6 movies by Bong Joon Ho
Bong Joon Ho has quickly gone from being a niche director to a popular name in the world of cinema. If you loved Parasite and are curious about his past work, here are six movies you must add to your watch list.
After his unprecedented wins at the Golden Globes and Oscars 2020, Korean director Bong Joon Ho has anchored his position as one of the most exciting filmmakers of our times. If you’ve finally decided to pay heed to the artist’s now-viral quote, “Once you’ve overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” you might want to check out the director’s filmography over the last two decades, which has been just as unpredictable and genre-defying as the Oscar-winning, Parasite.
Ahead, we list six movies by Bong Joon Ho that you can't miss out on:
Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000)
Marking Joon Ho’s directorial debut, this character-driven comedy-thriller is a satirical take on the renowned English novel, A Dog of Flanders. The film centres around an unemployed college lecturer and his battle with the barking dogs at his apartment complex, who he takes drastic measures to silence.
Memories of Murder (2003)
Bong Joon Ho’s crime drama centres around the investigation for one of the first serial killers in Korean history –– a man who raped and murdered 10 women in a rural backwater in 1986. The film follows two detectives with very different dispositions and working styles, as they attempt to solve the mystery. Joon Ho has drawn parallels to David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007), where the focus is as much on the crime itself as it is on the granular working of the detectives.
The Host (2006)
The 2006 South Korean blockbuster features a mutated sea monster — born as a result of the illegal disposal of chemicals by an American military officer in the Han river — that unleashes itself on the city of Seoul. Serving as a critique of American imperialism, the film holds the record as Joon Ho’s highest-grossing hit. The movie is known for defying genre –– as is the director’s signature style –– and switches between the categories of thriller, horror, and slapstick humour easily.
Arguably Joon Ho’s most dramatic feature, Mother is a murder mystery about a small-town widow whose life revolves around her intellectually disabled son, Won Bin. When Won is accused of the murder of a local high school, the mother –– played by Kim Hye-Ja, the maternal archetype in Korea renowned for her work in family-centric films –– turns her life upside down in order to defend her son.
Joon Ho’s first English-language picture is a mix of a dystopian sci-fi thriller and political satire that simultaneously touches upon the issues of climate change and economic inequality. Set in 2031, the film presents a world where global climate change has rendered the planet uninhabitable, and the last of the human race is aboard a train set for doom. The director’s international cast for the film includes Chris Evans, of Captain America fame, and Tilda Swinton, whose character is the official responsible for enforcing a brutal class system on the train.
In a similar vein as The Host, this Netflix original tells the story of a genetically-engineered creature, a massive super pig, named Okja, who was developed by a multinational conglomerate to serve as a food source. When Mija, a young girl who has served as Okja’s caretaker and raised it in the mountains of South Korea, learns about the company’s plans, she sets out on a fierce rescue mission.