Bong Joon-ho (born September 14, 1969) is a South Korean film director and screenwriter.
He was born in Seoul and decided to become a filmmaker while in middle school, perhaps influenced by an artistic family (his father was a designer and his grandfather was a noted author.) He majored in sociology in Yonsei University in the late 1980s and was a member of the film club there. He liked Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Imamura Shohei at the time. In the early 1990s, he completed a two-year program at the Korean Academy of Film Arts. While there, he made many 16mm short films and his graduation work Memory in the Frame and Incoherence was invited to screen at the Vancouver and Hong Kong international film festivals.
In 1994 he directed the short film White People. His first feature film Barking Dogs Never Bite, part comedy and part cruel social satire, in 2000 had a low box office record but he became widely known in his home country for the next film Memories of Murder, based on the true story of the country's first known serial murders, in 2003. He attained both commercial success and critical acclaim through this film. The Host in 2006 was seen by a record ten million people in the country and was well received by the Cannes Festival. An amusing anecdote is told of him about The Host. In high school, he saw an unusual creature hanging down from a Han River bridge in Seoul and decided to make a monster film.
In 2008, he participated in the omnibus movie Tokyo ! (segment "Shaking Tokyo") with Michel Gondry and Leos Carax. His most recent film is Mother, the story of a mother who struggles to save her son from a murder accusation, which premiered at Cannes in 2009. He is planning to direct Le Transperceneige, an adaption of Jean-Marc Rochette and Jacques Loeb's comic of the same name.
Hye-ja is a ginseng vendor and an unlicensed acupuncturist in a small town in southern South Korea. She dotes on her son, Do-joon, who is 27, unemployed, and mentally incapacitated on some level, which Hye-ja seems to ignore.
A high school girl is found dead on the roof of an abandoned building, and the local detectives arrest Do-joon based on circumstantial evidence. They coerce him to sign a confession and quickly imprison him. Hye-ja, distraught and convinced he is innocent, searches for the real killer, uncovering many secrets from the townspeople.