Bong Joon-Ho Before PARASITE: An ongoing series from Philadelphia Film Society

Announcing a string of new and updated programming, the Philadelphia Film Society has begun a presentation of Parasite director’s work. The programming has been going on since January 15, but there is still one more week! 

I got a chance to to ask Programming Manager, Travis Trew some questions about the series and other upcoming programming at PFS. 

Josh Herren: What themes do you hope viewers to pick up on in these films? Are there ties from these earlier works to this year’s Oscar-nominated Parasite?

Travis Trew: It’s been really fun to revisit his earlier works and see the themes and stylistic traits that have popped up consistently throughout Bong’s career, regardless of genre or production budget. Viewing his body of work as a whole gives you a better appreciation of how fluidly he’s moved between established genres and seemingly disparate tones, sometimes within the same film. He also has this unparalleled ability to blend of popular entertainment with sharp social critique without being didactic. Parasite and a movie like Snowpiercer are very different on some levels, but you can feel the same class consciousness animating them both. And of course he’s an absolute master of the cinematic form, so it’s fascinating to watch his craft develop from film to film. 

Scene from Bong Joon-Ho’s SNOWPIERCER.

JH: Is there a double feature you are particularly excited about?

TT: I’m really excited about the final double feature of Okja and Barking Dogs Never Bite. Okja is exciting since it’s this big spectacle yet very few people had the chance to see it in theaters when it was released. And Barking Dogs Never Bite is probably his least-seen film, so I’m excited for people to experience it. They’re both films that foreground our relationships with animals, though to very different ends, so the pairing should be fun.

JH: This program is alongside a bunch of new or revitalized film programs? Is there anything else coming up that you think our readers shouldn’t miss?

TT: Yes! We’ve added several new series and shifted some of our existing programs slightly, so between screenings of the best new films from the festival circuit and screenings of tried-and-true classics there’s something for everyone. We’re also in the planning stages for the third annual SpringFest, our weekend festival in April. And we have another director retrospective coming up in spring that I think people will be very excited about.

Below you will find a description of the series from PFS: 

“Bong Joon-Ho: Before PARASITE: Get lost in the films of South Korean auteur and Palme d’Or winner with three enthralling double features, ranging from his early work to his recent sci-fi masterpieces, over three Wednesdays. You won’t want to leave his world.”

  • SNOWPIERCER | January 15 | 6:45 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
  • MOTHER | January 15 | 9:30 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
  • MEMORIES OF MURDER | January 22 | 6:45 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
  • THE HOST | January 22 | 9:30 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
  • OKJA | January 29 | 6:45 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
  • BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE | January 29 | 9:30 PM | Philadelphia Film Center
Features, Film, Interviews - Tags: , , , , , , , - no comments

About the author

Joshua Herren

Josh Herren is a writer and third-grade teacher living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Josh has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated summa cum laude in history (American concentration) and art history, with a minor in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. His thesis "Furious Acts: AIDS and the Art(s) of Activism, 1985–1993" won the Rose Award for Outstanding Thesis. Josh is passionate about education, theater, and convincing others that Philadelphia is the greatest city on earth.