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American genre movies are in my blood, says Bong Joon-ho

American genre movies are in my blood, says Bong Joon-ho

Posted February. 15, 2020 08:41,   

Updated February. 15, 2020 08:41


South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s first appearance after winning four Academy Awards for his most recent movie “Parasite” was an interview in front of an audience in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to local media in Minneapolis, the director reflected on his work and the Academy Awards at the Walker Art Center's film dialogue held at 8 p.m. on Wednesday (local time).

The Walker Art Center hosted an event titled “Bong Joon Ho: Beyond Boundaries” by playing his movies – "Parasite," "Mother," "Okja," and "Snowpiercer" – from January 31 through February 11. Bong was invited to a dialogue with Amazon Studios executive and a well-known film critic Scott Foundas to celebrate the closing of the event.

“It surely is amazing but still hard to understand,” said the South Korean director on sweeping four wins at the Academy Awards. “After ‘Parasite’ was named as the winner of the Best International Feature Film, I didn’t expect to win in other categories,” Bong added. “When I stepped onto the stage to accept the Best Director award, I had no planned speech.”

American genre movies are “the blood flowing through my veins,” Bong explained. “I first watched the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Brian DePalma and Sam Peckinpah through the U.S. military’s American Forces Korean Network and his college film club. Then, I set a goal to merge the joys of genre with the realities of Korea.” He also introduced South Korean directors, such as Park Chan-wook, Kim Jee-woon, Lee Chang-dong, and himself, as the “the first generation of Korean cinephiles.” As Foundas tried to mention what’s great about Bong’s first yet commercially-unsuccessful feature film, “The Dog of Flanders,” which was excluded from the event, Bong responded, “I am so glad that the movie is not included in the program. Please do not watch it!” with a big laugh.

“Parasite” has been ranked No. 4 in the U.S. box office since Monday. The South Korean movie’s accumulated sales in North America stands at 37.17 million dollars as of Wednesday, closely chasing the No. 5 foreign film record held by “Pan's Labyrinth.” The Criterion Collection, which distributes important classic and contemporary films in DVDs and Blu-ray discs plans to launch a collection composed of “Parasite” and “Memories of Murder.” In South Korea, the storyboard of “Parasite” in English will be published as a graphic novel in May.

Seo-Hyun Lee baltika7@donga.com