Before winning the Oscar for Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film for ‘Parasite’, Bong joon-ho already had an excellent filmography that, thanks to the award, has aroused the interest of the general public.

The Korean filmmaker just turned 52, and we’re celebrating by taking a look at his filmmaking style in six must-watch films. Because the director has his own life and idiosyncrasy. The landscape, the mood and the people are very South Korean; he is one of the best mixologists of genres (as much or more than Tarantino), and a true master when it comes to filming scenes with a lot of people in which a lot of things happen. A pity that, in a 17-year career, he only has six lengths to his credit.

With a degree in Sociology and after graduating from the Korean Academy of Film Arts, Bong directed his first short film, ‘White People’, in 1994. Six years later, he made his feature film debut with ‘Barking Dogs Never Bite’, a film that, although it did not get great box office results, it did lay the foundations of his unmistakable cinematic style. In 2003 came ‘Memoirs of a murderer’, a film that was his great international accolade both at the public and critical level. In fact, he won the Best New Director Award at the San Sebastian Festival. This production, moreover, was his passport to enter the circuit of the most prestigious film competitions. In 2006, he stepped on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival for the first time with ‘The Host’, where he participated out of competition but definitely won. the favor of critics. The filmmaker would return to the Croisette again with ‘Ojka’, ‘Parasites’ and, furthermore, as a member of the jury.

There is no doubt that his definitive consecration came with the unbeatable ‘Parasites’ (it would be the perfect icing on the cake for this selection of titles, obviously), which made history at the Oscars by winning four statuettes, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay Original and Best Direction. A magnificent example of the evolution of a filmmaker who has managed to grow while maintaining his author’s hallmarks and bringing non-commercial cinema to viewers from all over the world.Here are the best movies:

‘Barking Dogs Never Bite’ (2000)


Its coming-out and calling card at major international festivals, beginning with San Sebasti├ín, its official discoverer, was this canine comedy that, in reality, is a true blender of genres, with elements of slapstick, horror, rom- as pure surrealism as ingredients to describe in a crazy way the lives of the inhabitants of one of those gigantic and dehumanized apartment blocks. Doona Bae, who would repeat with Bong in ‘The Host’, and Lee Sung-jae make up the leading couple in a film that already transmits enthusiasm for the show and an acid look, capable of hitting the system.

‘Memories of Murder’ (2003)

The case of a murderer who, like ‘Zodiac’, was never caught. Police inefficiency is laid bare in this new mix of genres that combines the darkest thriller with the craziest comedy, with plenty of scatological jokes. Starring the iconic Song Kang-ho, one of the biggest stars in Korean cinema and a recurring feature in Bong’s cinema, the film definitely put the filmmaker on the map. He returned to the San Sebastian Festival, and there he was crowned, very deservedly, as Best (New) Director. One of the most light-hearted noirs of the many noirs of the prolific and powerful Korean cinema.

Possibly the most human monster movie in movie history. Song Kang-ho leads the family that lives happily on the slums of society until the monster emerges from the waters, and takes the little girl. Faced with the incapacity, once again, of the forces of order and the authorities, the ragged family will pluck up their courage to rescue the girl from the clutches of the mutant beast. Hilarious, fast-paced, and very exciting. An all-round classic.

Mother there is only one, perhaps that is why this is Bong’s most serious film. Although traces of black comedy persist, as well as Bong’s authorial marks (sympathy for the marginalized, ineffectiveness of the authorities, the monster that we all carry inside…), the merciless fight of a mother (no courage, the following) to demonstrate the innocence of her disabled son is rather dark and dramatic, and they contain truly unforgettable scenes, like that of the immense Kim Hye-ja dancing alone in the middle of a field, like tai chi, as if to cast out all her demons.

Bong Jon-hoo was already one of the essentials of world cinema, and stars such as Chris Evans, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell or the ill-fated John Hurt came on board, in one of his last roles. ‘Snowpiercer’ is a train thrown at full speed in a frozen post-apocalyptic world. Adaptation of the comic of the same name, it is the staging of the eternal class struggle with videogame screensaver logic. The Korean once again shows that he is a social director with an enormous sense of the show.

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