After making history at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival by becoming the first South Korean director to win the Palme d’Or, “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho encouraged cinephiles around the world to seek out more works of South Korean cinema. Thanks to the Korean Film Archive’s official YouTube page, Bong’s wish could not be easier for American moviegoers to fulfill. The KFA is streaming over 200 feature films for free right now on YouTube, many of which have been uploaded to the platform in restored versions.
The Guardian was the first to shine a spotlight on the massive list of Korean films now streaming for free. Major Korean filmmakers such as the New Korean Cinema icon Im Kwon-taek are represented with multiple films available for viewing. The archive goes back to films released in the 1960s, such as Hyun-mok Yoo’s postwar drama “Aimless Bullet,” and also spotlights early work from some of the country’s most popular filmmakers here in America. For instance, Hong Sang-soo’s 1996 debut “The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well” is streaming free of charge.
During his Cannes press conference, Bong teased that he would be more active moving forward in mounting South Korean film retrospectives around the world. “In 2006 I went to see a retrospective on Kim Ki-young. I went to the French cinema library to see that and was surprised to see French spectators really liked his films and that made a big impression on me,” Bong said. “I got the Palme today in Cannes but I’m not the only Korean director who could receive that award.”
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Bong continued, “There’s a lot of Korean talent that could win the Palme. I would like to do more retrospectives around the world featuring great Korean directors. Maybe today this will help me move forward in this direction. It’s an opportunity for people to learn more about Korean cinema around the world.”
Neon will be opening Bong’s Cannes winner “Parasite” in select U.S. theaters October 11. After making history at Cannes, the family thriller is looking to do the same at the Oscars by becoming the first South Korean title nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. In the meantime, stream over 200 Korean films on YouTube here.