2019 is the year that Korean director Bong Joon-ho took home the Palme d’Or for best film during the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival. One year after Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Shoplifters (2018), Bong is the second consecutive East Asian director that takes home this prestigious award. Leading up to the Dutch release of Parasite (November 28th) and together with the milestone of 100 years of Korean cinema, we’d like to celebrate Bong’s accomplishments. We’ve asked director Bong to select three Korean films that influenced him in making his critically acclaimed box office hit Parasite. CinemAsia is proud to present his top three films that were used as source of inspiration and that are considered absolute classics of Korean cinema. To conclude the screenings of Bong Joon-ho’s handpicked classics, we are hosting a preview screening of Parasite!
12 Nov | 21:30u | Studio/K TICKETS
Stories about a certain Myung Ja are spreading among hospital patients suffering from mental illnesses like schizophrenia as a result of long term adultery. Myung Ja killed her lover after she supposedly had to cure him of his impotency through a long and tumultuous affair. Their affair turns out to be the start of a disturbing family drama with a lot more unforeseen consequences.
Director Kim Ki-young constructed with The Housemaid in 1960 a timeless suspense film about sexual urges and economic insecurity of the new middle class. A theme he continued to explore throughout his career including Insect Woman, a film in which deep-rooted, suppressed sexual insecurities become visible in a melodramatic thriller full of twists. Insect Woman is one of the direct influences for Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite.
Renowned director Hong Sang-soo’s (Hotel by the River, Right Now, Wrong Then, Our Sunhi) debut feature phenomenally intertwines four stories of four lonely, misunderstood individuals who coincidentally appear in each other’s lives. Adultery, misunderstandings and suspicions rapidly follow one another in this tragic but at times funny drama by virtuoso Hong.
This debut film was awarded a prestigious Tiger Award during the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in 1996. Together with its successful premier at the Venice Film Festival The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well kick started Hong’s directorial career. He would continue receiving awards at Locarno (Best Director for Our Sunhi), Rotterdam (Tiger Award for Oki’s Movie) and Gijon (Best Film for Hotel by the River). The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well also marked the debut for world famous actor Song Kang-ho. Bong Joon-ho selected this film as being one of his sources of inspiration for his critically acclaimed and award winning film Parasite.
De penniless family of Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) gets an unexpected chance to climb out of their money troubling situation when his son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) pretends to be a private English tutor in an extremely wealthy family. It doesn’t take long for him to deviously seize the opportunity to involve the rest of his family into the comfortable household. When they finally think they can reap the benefits of their new existence, one big rain shower changes their life forever.
Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner Parasite is a modern day masterpiece in which social criticism go hand in hand with Bong Joon-ho’s sensational film style.
After piano teacher Kim Dong-sik (Kim Jin-kyu), his pregnant wife, and their two kids move into a new and bigger home the family decides to bring in a maid to help with their household chores. It doesn’t take long for young maid Myung-sook (Lee Eun-shim) to fall head over heels for the charming musician. The determined and feisty Myung-sook stops at nothing to win over Dong-sik, which consequently causes razor sharp tension in the Kim residence.
The housemaid is a disturbing, dark social satire that never fails to surprise. Director Kim Ki-young combines Alfred Hitchcock-like suspense with harsh criticism concerning the rapidly growing South Korean middle class in the 1960s, in which by many justly regarded as one of the best Korean films of all time. Bong Joon-ho went back and forth to The Housemaid to get inspiration for his own class conflict thriller Parasite.
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