260 Great Directors: Bong Joon-ho

“We run into each other at the theater, and we’re like, “Aw, you know what? That’s enough of the movies! Stop watching!” Or we’ll borrow DVDs from each other, and not return them, so we’re fighting or bickering over that. Or we’ll show off, “I bought this; you don’t have this, do you?”-like juveniles.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Head of the class in the Korean New Wave.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A

What Did I Watch: Mother and Snowpiercer.

Where Does He Fit: “Why is this elderly woman dancing in a field?” is our opening question in Mother, and we never quite get that answer even when we return to it much later. The weird, poisonous slow boil of a small town where the titular character and her mentally handicapped son sleep together and may or may not be responsible for something terrible culminates in a story that never feels like anything else, perfectly sad even with all the jagged edges that punish any unsuspecting viewers. It’s the right kind of loopy nonsense thanks to a brilliant lead in Kim Hye-ja, wonderfully gonzo.

Snowpiercer’s modus operandi is not to make total sense, it is to be a blunt and furious parable for someone realizing that the system is even more corrupt than they first realized. Insane humor abounds, from Tilda’s singular take on Margaret Thatcher to the lunatics with tape measures, enormous fur coats, and hatchets sharp enough to slice open a fish. The train itself is a miracle of production design, horizontal at all times and filled with dazzling claustrophobia even when there’s a lot going on. I could have happily spent the whole movie just soaking up the sights in every car.


Most Valuable Asset: Hilariously over the top in a way that utilizes all the tools.
Most Excited For: Memories of Murder/The Host.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yep.

Coming Up Next: The man with more Best Director Oscars than all women: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.


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