Bong Joon-ho Lists 20 Filmmakers Shaping the Future of Cinema

The ‘Parasite’ director envisions what auteur film will look like over the next two decades.

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The past year for South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho has been one of immense victory. The director, who’s been at the forefront of his home nation’s film industry for nearly two decades, took home Cannes’ prestigious Palme d’Or award last year, and most recently took home four Oscars for his highly-acclaimed film Parasite, becoming the first Korean film to take home awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film.

While many were flabbergasted by the film’s Best Picture win due to Bong being unknown by many in the Western hemisphere, the director is no newcomer to the realm of auteur cinema, becoming known for his sociocritical amalgamation of everything from black comedy to drama, thriller, and horror over the past two decades. Though Bong’s early works like Memories of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), and Mother (2009) have become cult favorites — with Quentin Tarantino even comparing Bong to Steven Spielberg “in his prime” for these films — it wasn’t until 2013’s Snowpierecer and later 2017’s Okja alongside Netflix that brought him into the international spotlight. Bong, knowing very well the challenges of recognition that lay in front of international filmmakers, remarked during his Golden Globes acceptance speech for Parasite that “once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

In supporting international auteurs and in celebration of his 20-year filmmaking milestone in the coincidental year of 2020, the director recently took up a role as Guest Editor at Sight & Sound magazine to share a list of 20 filmmakers from around the globe that he believes will mandate the future of cinema over the next two decades.

“The year is 2020, a number that belongs to a sci-fi film in itself,” Bong writes. “I do not wish to summon these 20 directors for the sake of discussing the future of cinema. I simply wish to discuss the films they have already created. But in the end, this inevitably concerns the future of cinema. Because, when we watched Wong Kar Wai’s second film Days of Being Wild (1990), we might have already dreamed of In the Mood for Love (2000) in our minds. Or when we watched Blood Simple (1985) by the Coen Brothers, we might have already been experiencing No Country for Old Men (2007), which would come two decades later.”

On Bong’s list, contemporary horror masters like Jordan Peele, Jennifer Kent, Robert Eggers and Ari Aster, documentarians like Kirsten Johnson, and breakthrough feature filmmakers Alma Har’el and Mati Diop can be found. Piecing together what film will look like over the next two decades, Bong envisions “the compulsive visuals of Midsommar, the pitch-black ocean that meets the quiet gaze of Asako I & II, the beauty of The Lighthouse emitting black-and-white light beyond that ocean, the children’s endless chatter in Yoon Gaeun’s films, the astonishing cinematic miracle that is Happy as Lazzaro.”

You can check out the entire list below, and head over to Sight & Sound for more insight into Bong’s choices.

1. Ali Abbasi
2. Ari Aster
3. Bi Gan
4. Jayro Bustamante
5. Mati Diop
6. Robert Eggers
7. Rose Glass
8. Hamaguchi Ryusuke
9. Alma Har’el
10. Kirsten Johnson
11. Jennifer Kent
12. Oliver Laxe
13. Francis Lee
14. Pietro Marcello
15. David Robert Mitchell
16. Jordan Peele
17. Jennifer Reeder
18. Alice Rohrwacher
19. Yoon Gaeun
20. Chloé Zhao

For more related news, Parasite is set to stream exclusively on Hulu.

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