American Cinematheque is proud to present A Genre of One: The Cinema of Bong Joon Ho, a complete feature retrospective of Bong Joon Ho’s work two decades in the making. The series will take place at both the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2019. Co-presented with the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, as it celebrates 100 years of Korean cinema, the internationally renowned writer/director will showcase his work and participate in an in-person Q&A at both venues.
Films to be featured include The Host, Okja, Snowpiercer, Barking Dogs Never Bite, Memories of Murder, Mother, and the critically acclaimed Parasite (99% on Rotten Tomatoes).
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite has pushed boundaries, becoming the first Korean film to win the Palme D’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival. It set several box office records in the U.S. since its opening just this past Friday, including the highest per-screen average of 2019 and ranking as the 17th highest per-screen average of all time (8th highest among all live-action films). Parasite earned the title highest per-screen average for a foreign language film of all-time. The film has already amassed over $90mm worldwide.
“PARASITE is the perfect hallmark to celebrate 100 years of Korean filmmaking and we are thrilled to host a full retrospective of BONG JOON HO’s masterful 20 years of cinema,” said Grant Moninger, American Cinematheque Film Programmer.
“Director BONG is a cinematic mastermind who has amazed audiences around the world for nearly two decades with his innovative stories and singular vision,” said Wijin Park, Head of the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles. “It is an honor to present his latest revelation, PARASITE, and his astonishing body of work to mark the 100thanniversary of Korean film history.”
Known for his cutting, socially incisive wit and twisting of genre conventions, Korean-born filmmaker Bong Joon Ho has continually raised questions about modern institutions and the inequities of society with his unique blend of humor, emotion, and suspense. In this sense, Parasite is both highly characteristic of Bong Joon Ho’s work, while at the same time evolving to a new level. The Palme D’Or-winning tragicomedy implants an unemployed family of four, one by one, into a wealthy household and the sparks fly from there. “For people of different circumstances to live together in the same space is not easy,” notes the director. “I think that this film depicts the inevitable cracks that appear when two classes brush up against each other in today’s increasingly polarized society.”
The seventh feature film from Bong Joon Ho, Parasite provides thought-provoking social commentary in pulpier genre trappings that range from horror and sci-fi to crime thrillers. Among other titles that thread that needle – Snowpiercer also concerns itself with class struggle, though it’s set on a post-apocalyptic train ride across a frozen Earth. The havoc-wreaking river beast of The Host makes it nominally a monster movie, but the heart of the film is the human family that races to save one of its own. The strange creature OKJA similarly provides a platform to look at bioengineering and our relationship to the rest of the food chain.
Bong Joon Ho doesn’t need fantastical elements to upend audience expectations; his films combine dark comedy, empathy, and tension in wholly unpredictable combinations, making for a particularly dynamic viewing experience even when the setting is mundane. Feature debut Barking Dogs Never Bite takes place in an apartment complex and centers on an out-of-work teacher – whose aversion to dogs reaches epic proportions. The title character in Mother is quite ordinary until the murder charge against her son pushes her to extreme measures. At first glance, the serial killer tropes of Memories of Murder look familiar until the unorthodox methods of the detectives on the case take the story into uncharted territory. While the work of Bong Joon Ho resembles contemporary films, it is really a genre of its own.
In conjunction with the complete retrospective of Bong Joon Ho’s feature films, the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles and the American Cinematheque are proud to present a twelve-piece exhibit in the Shield’s Gallery of the Egyptian Theatre featuring the works of South Korean artist Jung Jae Hoon (aka Zibezi), whose original painting “Parasite” is featured prominently in Bong’s latest masterpiece. In recent years, Zibezi, a self-proclaimed “outside artist,” has made a major splash in the intersecting worlds of art and fashion, and has created over 100 artworks that attempt to “draw a new world out of existing forms and frameworks.” His online gallery and store can be found on his website at https://zibezi.com/
To purchase tickets, please visit AmericanCinematheque.Com.