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Bong Joon Ho’s Favorite Movies: 35 Films the Director Wants You to See

The "Parasite" filmmaker's favorite movies include works from some of the best American, Japanese, and South Korean directors who ever lived.

Bong Joon Ho

Bong Joon Ho

AP/Everett Collection

[Editor’s note: This gallery was originally published in February 2020 timed to Bong’s historic Oscar wins for “Parasite.” It has since been updated with new selections.]

Bong Joon Ho has long been one of South Korea’s best filmmakers thanks to acclaimed movies such as “Memories of Murder,” “Mother,” and “The Host,” but it wasn’t until 2019 that Bong become a worldwide cinema superstar. With “Parasite,” Bong vaulted himself permanently into the topmost echelon of the world’s best directors working today. “Parasite” world premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it made history as the first South Korean film to win the prestigious Palme d’Or. The months that followed brought Bong to nearly all of awards season’s biggest festivals (Telluride, Toronto, NYFF) and ceremonies (Golden Globes, SAG Awards, DGA Awards, Critic’s Choice, etc.). Bong’s incredible journey with “Parasite” culminated in six Oscar nominations and historic wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature. The drama is the first foreign-language movie to win Best Picture, and Bong is the first South Korean filmmaker to win Best Director.

With Bong now a household name across the world, it might be of interest to watch some of the films the South Korean auteur considers to be his personal favorites. Bong is a great director, but he’s also an avid cinephile who loves talking about films and raising awareness for some of the best Asian filmmakers who came before him, including Kim Ki-young, Shohei Imamura, and Keisuke Kinoshita. Check out a handful of Bong’s favorite movies in the list below.

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