Two Sundays ago, the Academy Awards saw history being made. The story has been told many times by now: “Parasite,” a South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho, not only won for Best International Feature Film, but also Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and the first non-English dialogue film to win Best Picture. While “Parasite” has won other accolades from various international award-giving bodies, it was the Oscars triumph that elevated the movie into a global masterpiece deserving of its reviews and box office returns. It should come to no surprise that Bong Joon-ho is the newest South Korean national hero now.
The Manila Bulletin has it that an epic hero’s welcome was indeed waiting for the director of “Parasite” when he returned to his native country this Sunday. Bong Joon-ho touched down at Incheon International Airport on February 16 to find an assembly of fans and local media waiting for him. Following arrival honors and a photo-op, the award-winning filmmaker was whisked away by airport security. Such an efficient detail served a dual purpose; not only were they to get Bong away from crowds of enthusiastic fans, it also reduced the likelihood that he might be exposed to COVIC-19, which already affects the country.
Bong actually touched on the subject during his welcome speech, where he expressed his gratitude to the well-wishers who waited for his arrival and also gave kudos for how his fellow South Koreans have managed to keep the wheels of the nation moving despite having close to 30 novel coronavirus cases already. “I will join the effort to overcome the corona by washing my hands diligently,” the director of South Korea’s most popular movie today remarked. “Happy to be home.” He would have also been pleased to know that the country’s cinemas have begun re-running not only “Parasite” but also some of his earlier films.
Even before Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” from CJ Entertainment became the media juggernaut that it is now, he has already established himself in the English-speaking movie-going audiences back in 2013, with his Korean-Czech co-produced sci-fi cult film “Snowpiercer” starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Song Kang-ho, who would work with Bong again on “Parasite.” Bong, Song and the rest of the film’s cast are expected to tell South Korea more about their Academy Awards experience in a major press conference to be given on Wednesday, February 19.
Image: GMA News