Bong Joon Ho took the mainstream filmmaking world by storm when he won an unprecedented 4 Oscars in one night, for the same film – the masterpiece which is Parasite. But, he’s certainly not a newcomer when it comes to making quality films. I’m personally in the process of watching all the feature films he’s made along the years, and so I decided to educate you about this as well. So, let’s go through his works in chronological order:
This comedy was Bong Joon Ho’s first feature debut, exactly two decades ago. The story revolves around a college lecturer, who is consistently disturbed by the barking sound of a neighbour’s dog, to the point where he decides to take action. It’s not regarded as Bong’s best, but it’s a solid film to start the marathon with.
This is Bong Joon Ho’s most appreciated film after Parasite, currently sitting on spot #184 on IMDb’s top rated movies of all time list, with a user score of 8.1. It’s a detective story that takes place in a small Korean province in 1986, with two detectives trying to track down a serial killer who has raped and murdered several young women.
This was the South Korean director’s first actual foray into the horror genre, with the protagonist of the film being a sea monster that emerges from Seoul’s Han River and starts attacking people. It was very warmly received by critics, and there’s talk about a sequel being under works, although Bong’s involvement is at this point not known.
Not to be confused with Darren Arronofsky’s film baring the same name, Mother is the second highest rated film of the bunch. It revolves around a mother who takes it upon herself to find a killer who has unjustly framed her son for the murder of a woman. This was Bong Joon Ho’s last Korean film until Parasite.
Snowpiercer was Bong Joon Ho’s first English language film, and featured a couple of well-known actors such as Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future which only a handful of people survive, who find themselves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe. Like Parasite, the film also deals with class, using horizontal rather than vertical metaphors.
Finally, we have Okja, a film about a little girl who befriends a strange creature, and does her best to prevent it from falling in the wrong hands. It’s a tale with plenty of environmental messages, and its twists and turns serve as worthy precursors of those found in Parasite. It stars a mixture of South Korean actors and a few Hollywood faces, such as Tilda Swinton (again), Paul Dano and Jake Gyllenhaal.