Tilda Swinton Pens Tribute to Bong Joon Ho, One of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020

"He is good for cinema from start to finish," Swinton writes of her "Okja" and "Snowpiercer" collaborator.
Director Bong Joon-ho, right, and actress Tilda Swinton arrive for the awards ceremony at the 39th American Film Festival, Saturday, Sept 7, 2013, in Deauville, Normandy, western France. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Tilda Swinton and Bong Joon Ho

Tilda Swinton has written a heartfelt tribute to her “Snowpiercer” and “Okja” director Bong Joon Ho for Time magazine, as the South Korean Oscar winner has been named one of the publication’s 100 most influential people of 2020. Bong started 2020 in historic fashion at the Academy Awards, where his Cannes winner “Parasite” made history as the first foreign-language movie to take home the Oscar for Best Picture. Bong also won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film.

“This is the filmmaker who, this year, has risen into the 2020 vision of the entire cine-­passionate planet like a new sun,” Swinton writes. “Whip-smart, highly skilled, supremely cine-­literate, exuberant, irreverent, self-determining, deeply romantic, with a voracious delight in the absurd, highly principled, precision-tuned, compassionate to the last: his films have always been all this. It just seems to be time for the world to catch up.”

Bong’s journey with “Parasite” started at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where the movie became the first South Korean title to take home the Palme d’Or. “Parasite” would go on to become a sensation at the worldwide box office, earning $264 million worldwide to become Bong’s biggest hit to date. With its $53.4 million gross in the U.S., “Parasite” is one of the five biggest foreign-language domestic releases in box office history.

Swinton continues in her tribute by writing: “He is the ultimate sophisticate cinematic fanboy whilst harboring not a drop of either snobbery or cynicism: he is good for cinema from start to finish. And the person? Sweet-hearted, loyal, amused, cozy, playful, sincere, especially hilarious when in his cups, fiercely familial, gloriously silly, unfailingly kind. Diamond.”

Bong has not announced a feature film follow-up to “Parasite,” although he’s working alongside Adam McKay to adapt his historic Oscar winner into an HBO limited series. Rumors have circulated that HBO’s “Parasite” will star Swinton and Mark Ruffalo in the lead roles. Swinton, meanwhile, is the star of Pedro Almodovar’s acclaimed new short film “The Human Voice,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is expected to factor into the short film Oscar race this year.

Head over to Time magazine’s website to read Swinton’s tribute to Bong in its entirety.

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