Bong Joon Ho on Why He’s Seen Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ Over a Hundred Times

     February 10, 2020

With Parasite winning four Oscars last night including Best Picture, we’re reposting the interview we did with director Bong Joon Ho prior to Parasite being released in North American theaters.

Let’s start with the most important thing first: Parasite is one of the best films of the year and Bong Joon Ho has cemented his status as one of the best directors working in the business. While I’d love to go into detail about why I loved Parasite, when I caught the film before the Toronto International Film Festival I walked into the theater not knowing anything about the film and it definitely enhanced the experience.

While this is not the norm for an interview intro, I’d strongly suggest not reading any reviews. Don’t watch the trailers. Don’t read what Parasite is about. Just buy your tickets for a show this weekend and see it. I promise you, it’s an incredible movie that is absolutely worth your hard-earned money.

parasite-us-posterSince I wanted to give away as little about Parasite as possible, when I sat down with Bong Joon Ho a few days ago at the Los Angeles press day I mostly focused on his filmmaking techniques and also mixed in a few fun questions. As you can see in the video, we talked about what TV show he’d like to guest direct, what he collects, why he’s seen Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro over a hundred times, why he doesn’t shoot a lot of coverage on set, why he edits while shooting, the importance of storyboarding, how he still writes in coffee shops, and a lot more.

Check out what he had to say and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis. If you want to know more about Parasite, you can read Greg Ellwood’s glowing review here.

Bong Joon Ho:

  • What TV show would he like to guest write and direct?
  • What movie has he seen the most?
  • What does he collect?
  • Has he watched any TV shows all the way through more than once?
  • How did he manage to get 77 days of shooting with the budget he had?
  • parasite-movie-image

    Image via CJ Entertainment

    How did the film change in the editing room?

  • How he doesn’t shoot a lot of coverage.
  • How long does he usually take when writing a screenplay?
  • Does he usually have a lot of deleted scenes?
  • Does he still write in coffee shops?
  • What’s coming up next?

Image via Cannes Film Festival

Here’s the official synopsis for Parasite:

Bong Joon Ho brings his singular mastery home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale.

Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks. By turns darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching, PARASITE showcases a modern master at the top of his game.

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