Bong Joon-ho

Bong Joon-ho

One of South Korea's most acclaimed 21st century film-makers, writer, producer and director Bong Joon-ho broke box-office records in his homeland with crime drama "Memories of Murder" (2003) and monster movie "The Host" (2006) before making his mark on English-language cinema with the spectacular sci-fi fantasy "Snowpiercer" (2013). Born in Daegu, South Korea, Bong grew up in an artistic family where he immersed himself in the films of Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Shohei Imamura and after studying for a sociology degree at Yonsei University, attended a two-year course at the Korean Academy of Film Arts. Following his graduation, he received a screenplay credit on the omnibus film "Seven Reasons Why Beer Is Better Than A Lover" (1996), served as assistant director on the intimate four-part drama "Motel Cactus" (1997) and co-wrote action thriller "Phantom: The Submarine" (1999). Having previously honed his craft on short films "White Man" (1994), "Memories In My Frame" (1994) and "Ji-ri-myeol-lyeol" (1994), Bong eventually made his feature-length directorial debut with the self-penned "Barking Dogs Never Bite" (2000), a dark comedy about a university lecturer who abducts a neighbor's pet, which became a slow-burning word-of-mouth success. Adapted from Kim Kwang-rim's stage play about a real-life elusive serial killer who terrorised a rural town in the 1980s, "Memories of Murder" (2003) saw Bong write and direct the biggest Korean box-office draw of the year, with its success later credited as saving one of its production companies, Sidus Pictures, from bankruptcy. Bong then contributed to the 20-part omnibus film "Twentidentity" (2003) with "Sink and Rise," a precursor to his next feature-length effort set alongside the Han River, and the "Digital Short Films By Three Directors" (2004) series with "Influenza," a half-hour tale of a desperate man's descent into violent crime shot entirely on CCTV. After adding to his list of screenwriting credits with "Antarctic Journal" (2005), a psychological thriller about an expedition to reach the pole of inaccessibility, Bong achieved his international breakthrough with "The Host" (2006), a relatively big-budget blockbuster about a monster which wreaks havoc on a dysfunctional family that also became the highest-grossing film in South Korean history. Bong then added actor to his list of many talents with a small part as a teacher in socially-awkward comedy "Crush and Blush" (2008) and joined Michel Gondry and Leos Carax as director in the "Tokyo!" (2008) triptych with "Shaking Tokyo," the heartwarming story of a recluse who falls in love with a pizza delivery girl. Bong's next full-length effort, "Mother" (2009), a gripping forensic-procedural drama based on a doting mother's struggle to prove her murder suspect son's innocence, was in a different style from its predecessors but still attracted Korean audiences in droves. Following a cameo in sci-fi anthology "Doomsday Book" (2012), Bong embraced English-language cinema for the first time with the post-apocalyptic fantasy "Snowpiercer" (2013), an adaptation of French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, for which he garnered near universal acclaim for his typically boundary-pushing style.