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Bong Joon Ho Selects 20 Directors Who Are Pivotal to the Future of Cinema

From horror favorites Ari Aster and Robert Eggers to Chloé Zhao and Alma Har’el, these are the directors Bong Joon Ho is loving right now.

Bong Joon-Ho'Parasite' film press conference, Tokyo, Japan - 23 Feb 2020

Bong Joon-Ho

Aflo/Shutterstock

Bong Joon Ho started his 20th year as a feature filmmaker on a high note with a history-making evening at the 92nd Academy Awards. Bong’s beloved social thriller “Parasite” won South Korea its first Oscars (the film took home prizes for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film) and became the first foreign-language movie to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture. But the Oscar wins aren’t the only way Bong kicked off a milestone year in his career. For Sight and Sound magazine’s February edition, Bong served as guest editor and curated a list of 20 filmmakers he believes will continue to shape the look and voice of cinema over the next decade.

“The year is 2020, a number that belongs to a sci-fi film in itself,” Bong writes in his introduction. “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.”

Included on Bong’s list are contemporary horror masters like Jordan Peele, Jennifer Kent, Robert Eggers, and Ari Aster, documentarians such as Kirsten Johnson, and breakthrough first-time feature filmmakers Alma Har’el and Mati Diop. Women filmmakers make up 45 percent of Bong’s list as well.

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What does Bong expect to unfold in cinema over the next decade? He answers, “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.'”

Check out Bong’s list of directors below, and head over to the Sight and Sound website for more insight into the list.

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

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