Chances are you now know who Bong Joon-ho is. But long before his history-making Academy Award wins (including a Best Director, Best Picture and Best Foreign Feature award), he was already one of the most exciting, talented filmmakers on the planet. This isn’t hyperbole, either; getting to watch each one of his films felt like the act of uncovering some delicate treasure, one full of life, character, intricate detail, and style.
He’s only made a handful of films, but they’re all unforgettable (making a list of “best” to “worst” doesn’t quite work because they’re all pretty peerless), as he’s worked over a small set of thematic and narrative obsessions (the class divide, treatment of animals, sanctity of translation, and importance of family – in all of its forms), each time uncovering some elemental truth in the most dazzling, inventive way possible. And what’s worse, he always makes it look easy.
Most of the filmmaker’s movies are available, either digitally or on disc, and both Parasite and Memories of Murder will be getting the deluxe Criterion treatment later this year (considering their recent editions of Marriage Story and Roma, maybe Okja will be coming too?) Also, Antarctic Expedition and Sea Fog, two films that he co-wrote but didn’t direct (he also produced Sea Fog) are readily available and very much worth your time. Just do it