It’s officially Oscars season and one director that a lot of people are rooting for is Bong Joon-ho.
His film “Parasite” has six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Original Screenplay. Critics say that it’s one of the best films of 2019 and they’re not wrong. “Parasite” has a 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, won the Palm d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, and also bagged major awards at the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards.
If you’re not familiar with Bong’s movies, he always incorporates social commentary in them. “Parasite,” for example, is a commentary on class struggle between the impoverished Kims and the wealthy Parks. Bong said in a Cult Montreal interview that he wanted to portray the situation of poor citizens in Korea and how it’s a problem that anyone in the world can resonate with.
If you loved “Parasite” and you’re intrigued about Bong’s other films, here’s a quick list:
“The Host” (2006)
“The Host” is a film about a family trying to find their youngest member Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung) after a mutant fish attacked their city and took her to its lair in the sewers. It’s a pretty intense movie, especially with scenes where the monster appears out of nowhere and chases after people.
Bong said in a KPBS interview that this is basically a drama where the family fights against two evils: the monster and the corrupt state. You could also say that “The Host” is a commentary on pollution and a satire of how a government takes advantage of its people, especially the poor, by starting mass panic.
This crime drama revolves around a mother searching for the killer who framed her mentally handicapped son. The Culture Trip noted that the political commentary is more subtle in this film, but it still shows the flaws in criminal authorities. These include their unresponsive attitude and compacency in blaming the son for a murder he didn’t commit.
“Snowpiercer” is a post-apocalyptic drama where survivors of a failed global warming experiment try to survive in a train. Throughout the film, Curtis Everett (Chris Evans), who’s staying in the tail end of the train, leads an operation to take over the Snowpiercer. The journey from the tail end to the driver’s seat shows us the levels in which people live in the train—those near the front are pampered and those in the tail end live in cramped room and are fed garbage.
Aside from the obvious caste system, “Snowpiercer” takes on climate change, showing it might affect the people who are left behind.
If you want to watch a tearjerker, put on “Okja.” It’s about a super pig named Okja who has been selected as the “best,” only to be sent to America to get slaughtered. Her owner Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) then chases after her pet and becomes an unexpected hero as Mirando Corporation CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) looks to profit off of the relationship.
“Okja” is a dark comedy that tackles animal cruelty and capitalism. The super pigs were created by a wealthy corporation to address world hunger, but the animals are treated inhumanely. It’s a direct jab at companies who capitalize on the “cruelty-free” tagline but would still test on animals and condone child labor.
Screengrab from YouTube
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