While Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 black comedy thriller film Parasite was a world-wide sensational hit at the box office, not many Americans have heard of Bong’s other films. If you enjoyed the gripping scenes, dark themes, and social commentary of Parasite, I highly recommend you check out the rest of Bong’s filmography, but today I would like to suggest two films in particular.
First up is Bong’s 2013 sci-fi action film Snowpiercer. The film itself is based on a French graphic novel and deals with themes of a dystopian world destroyed by a failed attempt to combat climate change and social inequality. Much like Parasite, Snowpiercer has a lot of dark humor that is interwoven with the even darker main themes. The film was Bong’s debut in the world of English language films with almost 85% of the film’s dialogue being entirely in English. The cast of Snowpiercer is also filled with well-known actors such as Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho (the poor family’s father from Parasite and the father from The Host), Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and many more great actors.
Next is Bong’s 2006 monster film The Host, which is still one of the highest grossing films in South Korea. The film features a monster’s rampage of Seoul after being created from chemicals being dumped into the Han River by the U.S. Army. The storyline itself follows one dysfunctional family’s attempts at rescuing the main character’s young daughter from the monster’s lair. I first watched this film on my flight back to America from Korea and was absolutely glued to the screen. Much like his other films, Bong addresses serious social issues through his films but the use of dark comedy makes the experience equally as entertaining as it is socially aware.