Bong Joon-ho (born September 14, 1969) is a South Korean film director, producer and screenwriter. His 2019 film Parasite became the first South Korean film to receive Academy Award nominations, with Bong winning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.
- Sci-fi gives you the advantage of being able to say what you want pretty directly. Like, in Snowpiercer, that scene where Ed Harris has a long monologue in the engine car. Parasite has the landscape stone. The movie has symbols, but I wanted to focus more on the mundane atmosphere, on the stories of our neighbors.
- A lot of people say it’s a universal story because it’s about the gap between rich and poor, but I don’t think that’s all the answer. I think this film has done so well because it appeals in a very cinematic way, as a film in itself. I really want to take time to look back at what that cinematic appeal was.
- On the worldwide reception of Parasite in "Parasite director Bong Joon-ho: 'Korea seems glamorous, but the young are in despair" in The Guardian (31 January 2020)
- I grew up in a middle-class family. Even in terms of real estate, the house that I grew up in is in the middle – between the semi-basement home and the rich house you see in the film. I was really close with friends and relatives from both classes.
- My main job is not promoting a film, it’s writing scripts, and, of course, I’m doing that right now, in hotel rooms and on flights, but it hasn’t been easy. So there’s a duality with this entire process. Of course, it’s great and exciting, but I’m also desperate to return to my main job as soon as possible.
- I don’t think I’m pessimistic at every point, but I want to be honest in the face of the reality that stands in front of us. With Parasite, my thinking was that mankind’s achieved such great development — like the mobile devices we see in front of us but if we think about the past 30 years, has the gap between rich and poor dissipated? Not really. I have a son myself, do I think things are going to improve in his generation? I don’t really think that either. That is the source of a lot of fear, actually. So I wanted to be honest with that fear and sadness and really deliver that.
- This is something that applies to all countries, yes. Of course, there can be understanding and sympathy and communication between different classes, but I do think that it is very plausible things could turn out the way they do in the film. We are all aware of this gap between rich and poor and this is very sad and frightening, but what is fundamentally even more frightening is the fear I mentioned earlier, that this won’t be resolved in the future, in our children’s generation. That’s something we all feel, and it’s very hard to get rid of.
- On the issue of class struggle in "Bong Joon-ho: “The Fear is Hard To Get Rid of”" in The Talks
- Are they? As I am one of the filmmakers creating genre films and not a critic with a general overview of the trend or what is coming out, I’m glad to hear it. I am a huge fan of genre films and although I like to destroy or twist genre conventions, generally I operate within the boundaries of genre. There is a very specific kind of cinematic excitement that genre films can bring. And that is what I love about it as well, so I am glad to see it.
- On the question of genre films being popular in recent years in "Bong Joon-ho: “The Fear is Hard To Get Rid of”" in The Talks
- Compared to Japanese or Hong Kong film, the history of Korean cinema is relatively lesser known to American and European audiences. I hope, due to the opportunities that have arisen from Parasite, people will realize that Korean cinema has also had a lot of masters
- In this film, it’s very difficult to separate the good ones from the bad ones. Even the rich characters are not your conventional, typical, greedy villains that you see onscreen. I was sympathetic to everyone. I identified with every character, to some degree, but at the same time I also maintained a sense of distance from all of them as well.
- Even the characters I create, they aren't clear-cut supervillains or superheroes, they're all residing in the grey area. Maybe that's why a certain amount of optimism or pessimism mixes into my films. I do feel, however, that's more realistic and more reflective of how society is, and how life is. If everything is clear-cut and residing in one direction, it might feel a bit forced.
- Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.
- As quoted from his Oscar acceptance speech, cited in many media even year later, e.g. in "Lost in translation? The one-inch truth about Netflix’s subtitle problem" in The Guardian (14 October 2021)