Bong Joon-ho Reveals Favorite Movies of 2021, Including ‘Don’t Look Up’ and ‘Drive My Car’

The "Parasite" director continues to have eclectic tastes in global cinema.
Photo by: John Rasimus/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 7/7/21 Bong Joon-Ho at the opening premiere of 'Annette' during the 74th Cannes Film Festival held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France. Photo by John Rasimus.
John Rasimus/STAR MAX/IPx

Bong Joon-ho is a true cinephile’s cinephile. After years as a darling of America’s indie film scene, the South Korean writer-director enjoyed massive mainstream success with 2019’s “Parasite,” which swept the Oscars and made him one of the most talked about filmmakers in the world. His projects are famous for combining aspects of multiple genres and the director’s favorite films are similarly eclectic. His all time favorites run the gamut from Bergman and Truffaut to Tarantino and Spike Jonze, and now movie lovers can hear his thoughts on 2021’s crop of movies.

In the latest print issue of South Korean film magazine FILO (via World of Reel), the auteur said his favorite films of 2021 were (in no order): “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car,” “Flee,” “Sundown,” “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” “Happening (L’événement),” and “Sewing Sisters.” He also said he enjoyed watching 2019’s “Sorry We Missed You” and Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s 2015 film “Happy Hour” last year.

Unsurprisingly, his list covers a wide range of films, ranging from esoteric arthouse movies to big budget Netflix animation. Films from the 2021 Venice Film Festival, where Bong presided over the jury, are well-represented. That jury awarded Audrey Diwan’s “Happening” the coveted Golden Lion award, so it’s hardly a shock to see that it remained one of Bong’s favorite movies of last year. And rather than limit himself to winner’s bias, the director also included the existential drama “Sundown” from director Michael Franco on his list.

However, the most surprising film on his list might be “The Mitchells vs. The Machines.” The animated family film was produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller for Netflix but did not appear on many other year-end lists. But the filmmaker, who never shies away from social commentary in his art, clearly found something to love in the technology-skeptical film.

That said, Bong Joon-ho may find himself with less time to watch movies this year, as he is currently gearing up to direct Robert Pattinson in a film adaptation of Edward Ashton’s upcoming novel “Mickey7” for Warner Bros. He is also executive producing an American television series set in the “Parasite” universe for HBO.

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