The Gruelling Stories of Bong Joon-ho

Parasite will not be the last outstanding story from contemporary director Bong Joon-ho. Since his first onscreen job, Bong Joon-ho has been mastering the professional skills, philosophical signature and authorial performance in social themes.

The Movie Bong Joon-ho 

Of course, the whole world learned about this director only after the phenomenal success of Parasite. By the way, of all the existing screens, this one came out to the world fully Korean. Each film is a separate story. What also has something in common – the author’s style, which unites on a particular, invisible thread.


Poignant Themes

To get attention, we have to shout above the crowd.

The director’s shout is the same – comical attitude to weighty topics, distorted acceptance of the characters. He seems to overstep the line of normality, thereby combining the genres of comedy with thriller, drama and action, science fiction and comedy.

Moreover, most inappropriate genres are in a completely coherent story.

The film Mother from 2009 collected most of the positive reviews from more than 100 existing ones. That is the mix of drama, horror and comedy. It is about a 28-year-old boy, who is convicted of murdering a schoolgirl, and his adoring mother, a nurse, does not believe it.

She will decide to commit an independent investigation of the killer.

The mother is presented as naive and desperate – she is ready to lay her life on the love altar for her son.

Bong Joon-ho gives space for our own film experience. Whether it’s Kim Ki Taek from Parasite, fallen zoologist Joni Wilcox (Okja), whose social role has sunk to the bottom of the bottle, none of them are excluded from the mainstream of the narrative.

The most disgusting heroes can become a supporting link of the entire plot.


Managing Social Issues

Environmental disaster film, Snowpiercer, focusing on modified products and animal trials, showcasing giant corporations, environmental activists in the film Okja, fanatical love in the detective classic, Mother, and of course, social inequality in the plot of Parasite – all this combined in the director’s excellent ability to see the root of internal conflicts in life, both in the films and in real situations.

Also, Bong Joon-ho was still that rebel during his student years. He studied sociology at university, which may also have influenced the acuteness of the topics he chooses to direct. Relevant cinema is the goal of many directors, but not many can tell stories.

Eternal values ​​- the history of the universe, religion and symbols

Interpretation of the images of Moses, Prometheus, the pseudo-divine Egyptian king, and the thirst for the power of the oligarchy is the plot of the dystopian action film Snowpiercer with Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris as protagonists, which is a subtle presentation of the post-apocalypse history and the creation of the world anew.

Who knows how long the world has been going on? Who knows if we are the first on this planet? And how many of the same human’s generations were and how many will be?

We can safely assume that Bong Joon-ho, as it were, refutes the existing Bible canon, and suggests what was `the first step on earth`.

The film is saturated with symbols and archaic signs – a fish, as one of them, a symbol of Christianity and Jesus Christ himself.

For instance, an army in dark masks ripped the belly of a fish with an axe, showing disregard for the greatness of the Messiah.

Snowpiercer is a vivid picture of how quickly life flies by, year after year, without stopping.

The division between classes, non-stop progress, suicide in pursuit of goals – a fatal story that will remain relevant for a very long time.


Giving Freedom to Actors

Bong Joon Ho Photo Shutterstock taniavolobueva
Bong Joon Ho / Photo: Shutterstock taniavolobueva

Bong Joon-ho creates a comfortable environment on the set, to allow the actors to interpret in the process, not to impose his style and plot. Bong Joon-ho lets the story to flow through the heroes: protagonists and minor characters. This tactic allows experimenting with genres, actors, images. Even the most ridiculous characters look like an absolute element of comedy, even if in the plot is a tragedy.

All of this combined has allowed Bong Joon-ho become an outstanding director, pushing boundaries and creating fresh films whenever he gets the opportunity.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

Check out some more South Korean movie magic here:

Shades of a Masterpiece: The Man From Nowhere

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