It is with the help of the international sensation Parasite that Bong Joon-ho has been elevated to the status of being one of the most important filmmakers of the 21st century, with his movie taking home both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Strikingly original, Parasite helped to popularise the past filmography of the filmmaker, who has long been impressing in the industry for all those paying attention. Experimenting with genre, humour and surreal opinions on social issues, Bong Joon-ho is a wonderful creative with a meticulous eye for detail and an innate love for the art form. In fact, his love for cinema reaches such lengths that whilst he picked up his coveted award at the 2020 Oscar ceremony, he couldn’t help but doff his cap to his fellow contemporaries.
“After winning best international feature, I thought I was done for the day and was ready to relax,” Bong said after winning Best Director. “Thank you so much. When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart, which is that, ‘The most personal is the most creative,’” he concluded.
As well as a seasoned filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho is a purveyor of the craft, previously citing the likes of Orson Welles, Robert Altman, Nicolas Roeg, John Carpenter and Mike Leigh as some of his favourite filmmakers of all time.
There is one modern action movie, however, that the South Korean filmmaker has cited as a favourite, even admitting to have cried watching the flick. So, was it the emotional Fast and Furious 7 or the heart-wrenching John Wick? No, surprisingly the movie in question is Mad Max: Fury Road, with the director shedding a tear during one particular moment of utter movie magic.
“Fury Road is also amazing,” Joon-ho told Variety in 2019, exclaiming, “I cried watching that movie when the cars are swept up into the sandstorm and the music escalates, I felt like my soul was escalating too and tears just came out of my eyes”.
“What a day, what a lovely day!” Nicolas Hoult’s manic Warboy shouts with frenetic energy, putting a bold punctuation mark during the sequence Joon-ho gushes over. “It’s a film you just watch without saying anything. It’s a master at work,” the filmmaker expresses, praising the expertise of the Australian director George Miller.
At its core, Miller’s film is an extended chase sequence, with Tom Hardy’s titular character joining hopeful fugitives Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Toast (Zoë Kravitz) and the rebellious Warboy, Nux (Hoult) in their pursuit of a new life away from the rabid pack of fantastical tribes out to hunt them down. Though, with help from the industrial heavy metal soundtrack of Junkie XL, who forces the sands of Mad Max: Fury Road to shimmer and shake with furious tension, the film becomes a frenetic exhibition of haywire action and luscious ingenuity.