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Bong Joon-Ho Movies to Watch After ‘Parasite’

Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-Ho, became the first foreign-language film to ever win an Academy Award. Joon-Ho’s victory unified foreign films and Hollywood blockbusters, which also signified a big win for international filmmakers. As of 2022, Joon-Ho’s recent movie has been Parasite. However, he created many critically-acclaimed films in the past, which are also worth watching. 

Memories of Murder: Bad Cop, Bad Cop

The first movie I knew Joon-Ho by (and is personally one of my favorites) is Memories of Murder (2003). Loosely based on South Korea’s first serial murder, this crime thriller addresses systemic dysfunction and injustice in law enforcement. Two detectives try to figure out who’s targeting and murdering women in a South Korean province. However, they have to solve this case when forensic technology was non-existent. A year after its release, Bong Joon-Ho’s haunting masterpiece became a cult film. It’s incredibly chilling, frustrating, and depressing to watch. The ending will make you question police investigative methods, as well as want to solve the murder case with the characters. Luckily, in 2020 the case was solved, which is as equally interesting as this twisted thriller.

Okja: The Problems with Greenwashing

What I love about Bong Joon-Ho is that he uses real-world issues to create thrilling and suspenseful movies. Another one of my favorites is the Netflix film, Okja. This 2017 action-adventure movie centers around Mija, a young girl whose family raised a genetically-modified animal. A livestock company gave gifted 26 “super pigs” to farmers around the world. After a decade, whoever raised the “best pig” would be crowned the winner. This movie is breathtaking, eye-opening, and thought-provoking. It shows how greedy and secretive large corporations can be and how scientifically breeding animals can negatively impact society. 

Bong Joon-Ho Paved a Way for Asian Filmmakers

Bong Joon-Ho’s filmography tackles social issues and dark comedy, which also inspires other Western thrillers. However, the difference between him and Hollywood movies is that he’s bringing a newer outlook on suspense and plot-driven stories. We’ve been accustomed to learning about society through a Western lens. It sheltered us from learning about different cultures and achievements. But with movies made by Asian and Asian-American directors, we can get a glimpse of their society and how it’s not so different from ours. Bong Joon-Ho paved a way for Asian directors to finally get the credit they deserve.

Watch Parasite and Memories of Murder on Hulu and Okja on Netflix. 

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