Parasite made history last night at the 92 Academy Awards when it became the first non-English-language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The South Korean film from acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho also took home three other Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film in addition to the Academy’s top prize. What a night!
Of course, for those new to international cinema, you may have been sleeping on one of the greatest directors of the 21st century, as Bong Joon-ho’s oeuvre is one of near-universal acclaim since his feature film debut in 2000.
Are you curious to see what all the fuss is about, but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Here’s where you can stream or rent Bong Joon-ho’s other movies:
Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000)
Bong Joon-ho’s directorial debut, Barking Dogs Never Bite is a dark comedy that follows an unemployed grad student driven mad by the distracting sound of his neighbors’ barking dogs in his large apartment complex. Driven to the edge, he takes matters into his own hands — which, of course, comes back to bite him.
Memories of a Murder (2003)
Considered one of the best South Korean films of all time, Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of a Murder is based on the true story of Korea’s first recorded serial killer, who murdered 10 people in the rural region of Hwaseong. A crime-thriller drama, the film follows two detectives desperate to stop the killer’s reign of terror. Quentin Tarantino named the movie, along with Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, as one of his Top 20 favorite movies since 1992 (the year he began directing).
Memories of a Murder is available to stream on PopcornFlix, though Neon, which distributed Parasite, has bought the rights and plans to do a re-release soon.
The Host (2006)
A monster of a genre mash-up, The Host is at once a horror thriller, a political commentary, a comedy and a riveting melodrama. Another one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films, The Host will take you through the full spectrum of human emotion. After careless and arrogant American military personnel pour rancid chemicals into the Han River, a monster emerges several years later to terrorize the local townspeople. When one man’s daughter is abducted by the creature, he teams up with the rest of his family to defy a government quarantine to rescue her from the ravenous monstrosity.
In this dramatic thriller, the titular mother will stop at nothing to protect her mentally disabled son from prison after he is accused of murdering a young woman. The mother is adamant that he’s innocent and takes up the trail of the crime to find the real killer to exonerate her son. Filled with twists and turns — a Bong Joon-ho hallmark — Mother received numerous accolades around the world.
Perhaps the film that a general English-speaking audience might be the most familiar with, Snowpiercer features an all-star cast. Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, John Hurt and more star in the post-apocalyptic thriller in which climate engineering has catapulted the globe into a catastrophic ice age in the year 2014. The survivors take to a train that circumnavigates the globe to escape the unlivable tundra outside, but by the year 2031, the passengers have all been segregated by class, with the elite in extravagant cars in the front, and the poor living in the squalid cars of the rear. Premiering to near universal acclaim, Snowpiercer follows an uprising as the poor seek to reclaim the resources denied them by the upper class.
Named by the New York Times as one of the ten most influential films of the decade, Okja shook up the film industry when the Netflix-original premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. In Okja, Bong continues his penchant for stories that defy normal conceptions of genre. The film follows a young girl who befriends a genetically-modified “superpig” — but a global company has big plans for the pig, which sets off a multi-national rescue adventure. Okja stars AMC alums Steven Yeun and Giancarlo Esposito, as well as Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins and Choi Woo-shik, who also stars in Parasite.
Okja is available to stream on Netflix.
And of course, the talk of the town:
Parasite made a big splash from the moment it debuted at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It took home the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, with a unanimous vote, the first to do so since 2013 (when Blue Is the Warmest Colour won). Since then, it has become the highest-grossing South Korean film, garnering universal praise from all over the world. And then there’s the Oscars. With its four wins, Bong tied the record for the most wins in a single night — with Walt Disney, no less, who took home four awards in 1953.
So what is the movie about? It’s best to go into the film knowing as little as possible, but it follows the lives of a poor family as they intertwine with a wealthy family by posing as unrelated professionals.
For more movies, see what’s streaming on AMC this month.
If you’re looking for more up-and-coming movies to keep an eye out for, check out the films that caused big buzz at the recent 2020 Sundance Film Festival here. Are you a fan of true crime? After watching Bong’s Memories of a Murder, take a look at these true crime films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.Read More