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Bong Joon-ho

Bong Joon-ho: “The fear is hard to get rid of”

February 12, 2020

Director Bong, although your films are well-loved for their dark humor, they can also be cynical in their outlook. Would you describe yourself as a pessimist?

I don’t think I’m pessimistic at every point, but I want to be honest in the face of the reality that stands in front of us. With Parasite, my thinking was that mankind’s achieved such great development — like the mobile devices we see in front of us but if we think about the past 30 years, has the gap between rich and poor dissipated? Not really. I have a son myself, do I think things are going to improve in his generation? I don’t really think that either. That is the source of a lot of fear, actually. So I wanted to be honest with that fear and sadness and really deliver that.

Is that fear more prominent today, or is this something you’ve been thinking about for a while?

Well, I began developing this idea in 2013 which is already six years ago but of course the issue of gap between rich and poor, of economic polarization was not that different back then. I was working then on the post-production of Snowpiercer, which is also about class difference and class struggle, where the rich and poor inhabit different carriages on a train — so you could say I was already pretty much in the grip of this idea of class difference already. But with Parasite, I wanted the story to be more about my own surroundings, my own day-to-day surroundings.

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Last week’s Interview
Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi: “No idea is final”

February 10, 2020
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Mr. Waititi, did you have a big imagination as a kid?

I definitely did! I had many friends but I did often spend a lot of time in my own head, by myself, using my imagination to kind of… Maybe sometimes to cope, but also just to entertain myself. In New Zealand, in the small towns where I grew up in, you can get pretty bored so you’re spending a lot of time just imagining things and trying to entertain yourself. I think that’s probably where a lot of our comedy comes from in New Zealand — it’s observational, we’re looking at things from the outside. But I feel like kids today aren’t encouraged to be bored as much as they should be. Kids say, “Oh, I’m bored,” and people freak out and try and stimulate them with other things.

Or they’ve all got constant entertainment from their iPads.

Exactly, now they’ve all got iPads and it’s done for them! I think it’s really important for a kid to be left alone and left to figure it out for themselves how to pass the time. As a kid, I spent so much time bored and coming up with ideas of how to do things, so I’d write stories or I’d draw pictures or invent worlds through drawing or just in my head, just thinking about things. I think that a lot of my creativity has really come from being bored.