Bong Joon Ho Spotlight

Bong Joon Ho be lookin' like he has bed head.

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Bong Joon Ho be lookin' like he has bed head.

On February 9, 2020, Bong Joon Ho stood on a stage in the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, being watched by 30 million people. He clutched a golden trophy in his left hand while he delivered a speech, thanking the people for their support in his film-making career. Bong Joon Ho had just been proclaimed best director for his movie Parasite and the film went on to win Best Picture later that night. 32 years earlier, however, Bong Joon Ho’s parents forced him to pursue a major in Sociology rather than allow him to become a director as he wanted to. While at the prestigious Yonsei University studying Sociology, Bong Joon Ho participated in a two-year film-making program at the Korea University of Fine Arts. This. Changed. The. World.

Bong Joon Ho was born the youngest of four children on September 14, 1969 in Daegu, South Korea. His father was a graphic designer and his mother stayed at home to take care of Bong and his three siblings. Park Taewon, Bong’s grandfather, was a writer, famous because of his move to North Korea in 1950. Bong’s family moved to Seoul when he was still in elementary school. Soon after, when Bong was 12 years old, he decided he wanted to become a director. However, Bong’s parents disapproved of his dream and forced him to major in Sociology after Bong made it into the esteemed Yonsei University. There, Bong often participated in student demonstrations as a part of the June Struggles, a nation-wide movement for South Korean Democracy. In 1990, he left Yonsei for the mandatory South Korean military service. When he returned in 1992, he enrolled in a film-making class and founded the Yellow Door film club where he made a collection of short films. Bong graduated from Yonsei in 1995.

Bong proceeded to work on many films under the supervision of other directors. In February 2000, he released his first full feature film that he had directed and written, Barking Dogs Don’t Bite. Although the film won several awards in film festivals, it did not do well with the public and it just barely broke even. However, Bong’s next film that he wrote and directed, Memories of Murder did much better, especially overseas. Later hits like The Host and Mother made Bong famous, allowing him to continue with more ambitious and expensive projects. Snowpiercer and won Bong many awards for the Best Film Director. Parasite, Bong’s latest movie, addressed the growing social gap between the wealthy and poor and won an Oscar for best film, the first foreign-language film to do so. 

Bong Joon Ho shows genius in his stunning directing and the riveting plots that he writes. Bong is truly the future of film-making. Despite the language barrier, Bong himself said: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”