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Bong Joon-ho: South Korea's boundary-pushing satirist

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By Claire LEE

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Great movie. Snowpiercer is on Netflix Japan, for those who have it and have not seen any of his work. Dialogue flirts with camp at times, but there's a great cast, and a final scene where he drops a bomb of a symbol.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

You can watch Parasite free. There will be a 10 second ad.

https://www1.watchasian.to/parasite-episode-1.html

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Now that they (both director and exec producer) have the world's attention, they better watch their back because the last person to attack the chaebol and highlighting the rich poor divide is now in custody (I'm referring to the last president of SK, not just any common person).

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Now that they (both director and exec producer) have the world's attention, they better watch their back because the last person to attack the chaebol and highlighting the rich poor divide is now in custody (I'm referring to the last president of SK, not just any common person).

@Sh1mon - Ex-president Park attacked the chaebol and highlighted the rich-poor divide? You could not have said anything further from the truth. She was found guilty of corruption by the courts, but not before an estimated 10 million South Koreans (about 20% of the population) took to the streets in months-long protest.

Plus that middle aged lady who gave the acceptance speech in English was the executive producer for the film, and happens to be the vice-president of the chaebol CJ Group, and is also a cousin to Lee Jae Yong, the acting CEO of Samsung Group. I think they'll be just fine.

So that comment is best described as a swing and a miss. I see the news of a South Korean film winning Best Picture is causing much soul searching in Japan...

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I see the news of a South Korean film winning Best Picture is causing much soul searching in Japan..

Please tell me what leads you to believe that.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

 I see the news of a South Korean film winning Best Picture is causing much soul searching in Japan...

I have no idea at all what this means. Anyone care to explain?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Good movie. Can’t get over how big this guy’s head is

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Anyone care to explain?

Maybe, the Japanese, who have a neurotic penchant for comparing themselves to other peoples, will begin to wonder about themselves, ask questions about their own society: their capitalist values, the disparities in wealth, the socially-structured injustices and their feckless, responsibility-averse politicians who preside over the worsening standards of living of the majority. My teaching Korean films to Japanese students has produced precisely this effect.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

[ u_s__reamerToday  09:42 am JST

Anyone care to explain?

Maybe, the Japanese, who have a neurotic penchant for comparing themselves to other peoples, will begin to wonder about themselves, ask questions about their own society: their capitalist values, the disparities in wealth, the socially-structured injustices and their feckless, responsibility-averse politicians who preside over the worsening standards of living of the majority. My teaching Korean films to Japanese students has produced precisely this effect. ]

Great that your university allows you the freedom to do this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The most Japanese audience will get out of this film is that the class divide is very real and serious social issue IN SOUTH KOREA. I'm glad Japan is such a wonderful country that they have no such issue lol

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Great that your university allows you the freedom to do this.

Yes, I've been very lucky, but in the end my pedagogic methods made too many enemies among Japanese colleagues who have zero understanding of what real education entails and was consequently terminated with extreme prejudice.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Later, as he accepted the prize for best international feature, he said in English, eliciting laughs from the audience: "Yeah, I'm ready to drink tonight."

Ah, he missed the easiest joke about bongs, lol

He studied sociology at the South's prestigious Yonsei University and reportedly took part in street protests while enrolled there during the country's pro-democracy movement in the 1980s.

A social activist

Don't see too many of those

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You could not have said anything further from the truth. She was found guilty of corruption by the courts, but not before an estimated 10 million South Koreans (about 20% of the population) took to the streets in months-long protest.

South Korea and protests is a daily occurrence. When next in Seoul, walk towards the Royal Palace, past the statue of king Sejong and count the number of protests. Bong, Lee (grand daughter of Samsung founder), Park are all from the upper crust of SK society, there is nothing to support the notion that any of them would be spared from attack should they dare to try to change the status quo. Park did it to Bong.

Park campaigned on reducing social and economic disparity. When in power, her 474 vision whilst promoted as cutting red tape actually involved giving a leg up to those who struggled., eg:

Reduced reliance on export - would severely affects conglomerates/chaebol.

Increase size of service sector - would helps small to medium service based businesses - nothing for chaebol.

4-7-4 = 4% growth, 70% employment, and $40,000 income per capital (up from $23,000)

How do you increase per capita income by $17,000 without stepping on chaebol toes?

IMHO, she betrayed her class, and got setup. Note, the current president (Moon) also spent time behind bars for similar indiscretion.

Don't believe SK media, trust your own memories. Bong and Lee has done the same (betrayed their class) and got world attention, they should grow eyes in the back of their head.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

LOL... "they should grow eyes in the back of their head." Yea that would true in Japan, not Korea. Korea has a long and dynamic history and culture of self-criticism. Movies, TV shows that criticize the government and ruling class was and is a national past-time even when it would get the creators jailed. It's one of the things that is very different between Korea and Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Heckleberry

I see the news of a South Korean film winning Best Picture is causing much soul searching in Japan...

Lmao nah.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Movies, TV shows that criticize the government and ruling class was and is a national past-time even when it would get the creators jailed.

Sure, but it doesn't equate to no repercussion. Bong and Lee has been 'done in' before. Probably just a warning shot.

https://www.insider.com/parasite-director-bong-joon-ho-blacklisted-south-korea-2020-2

Yea that would true in Japan

hmmm, Japan doesn't have chaebols...as a matter of facts Japan's corporations were the pioneer of cushy lifetime employment and other 'leftie' ideas, whereas SK chaebol were just there to enrich themselves at the expensive of the rest of the country.

You can say stuff, but without any example or backing of real events, it's as good as usual SK media narrating a chaebol approved 'drama'.

https://www.aei.org/foreign-and-defense-policy/asia/south-koreas-troubling-history-of-jailing-ex-presidents/

...why ^ are so many jailed, are they all that dumb they can't stay out of jail? I doubt it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sh1mon M4sadaToday 06:35 am JST

hmmm, Japan doesn't have chaebols...as a matter of facts Japan's corporations were the pioneer of cushy lifetime employment and other 'leftie' ideas, whereas SK chaebol were just there to enrich themselves at the expensive of the rest of the country.

Well Sh1mon M4sada I think you need to learn a little more about Japan-

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/japans-political-thugs-exposed-1553629.html

[ JAPANESE citizens have long suspected it, but for the first time it has come out in court: the nation's notoriously bribeable politicians are in hock even to the underworld syndicates, or yakuza, which perform much of their dirty work for them. And, appropriately, the politician at the centre of the bribery and gangster scandal is Shin Kanemaru, whose family name translates as 'circle of gold'.

The link between the political world and the yakuza came out this week in a court statement by the public prosecutor at the beginning of a long-awaited case over the Sagawa Kyubin trucking company. The case involves about 500bn yen ( pounds 2.3bn) in fraudulent loan guarantees and bribes made by the company to other firms and to politicians.

This kind of corruption has become standard fare and on its own would have raised few eyebrows among the cynical electorate. But during their investigations the prosecutor's office also dug up evidence that executives from Sagawa were acting as go-betweens for Mr Kanemaru, the most powerful politician within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and the Inagawa-kai, the main yakuza gang in Tokyo.

The revelation of this 'circle of gold' linking politicians to crime syndicates is highly embarrassing to Mr Kanemaru and the LDP. 'Our country has been made to look ridiculous,' editorialised the Mainichi newspaper in Tokyo. ]

https://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/09/world/cia-spent-millions-to-support-japanese-right-in-50-s-and-60-s.html

[ "This story reveals the intimate role that Americans at official and private levels played in promoting structured corruption and one-party conservative democracy in post-war Japan, and that's new," said John Dower, a leading Japan scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We look at the L.D.P. and say it's corrupt and it's unfortunate to have a one-party democracy. But we have played a role in creating that misshapen structure."

The American occupation forces freed accused war criminals like Nobusuke Kishi, later Japan's Prime Minister. Some of the rehabilitated politicians had close contacts with organized crime groups, known as yakuza. So did Yoshio Kodama, a political fixer and later a major C.I.A. contact in Japan who worked behind the scenes to finance the conservatives.

A United States Senate subcommittee discovered that Lockheed Corp., seeking lucrative aircraft contracts, had paid $12 million in bribes to Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and the Liberal Democrats. The conduit was Mr. Kodama -- political fixer, tungsten smuggler and C.I.A. contact. ]

Of course you want to say this is all in the past, right? Well, everyone knows how eager Abe was to shred his hanami party guest list. And everyone knows Abe is the grandson of class A war criminal Kishi Nobusuke, who worked closely with yakuza.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

moonbloom, you're rambling...I was going to go to your links until...

Your narrative is about the links between organized crime and politicians, no argument from me.

My post was to clarify the difference between Japanese corporates vs SK family conglomerates, chaebols. It's night and day in terms of the way the two approach jobs and remuneration. Sure, the gap is closing but not because the chaebols initiated closing the gap, it's because of public forces like that of Bong, Lee, and Park.

Park is in jail, Bong and Lee has been blacklisted before...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sh1mon M4sada,

I agree that the politicians here have been cleverer in understanding that they can enrich themselves better if they create a more stable work force.

However, your statement that ch'aebols only think about enriching themselves while the Japanese corporations were "the pioneers of leftie ideas" is completely false. In fact the corporations worked closely with Japanese bureaucrats in using yakuza to break strikes and any opposition. It is the workers and opposition parties (yes, EXACTLY like the public forces in South Korea) who lifted their voices and forced Japan Inc. to provide better working conditions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In fact the corporations worked closely with Japanese bureaucrats in using yakuza to break strikes and any opposition

You can't rely on 'illegal' means to mount an argument over 'structural' differences in employer/employee relationship.

On the other hand, Japan = good jobs security and extremely high income (but is waning with time). SK on the other hand had very poor jobs security together with lower income. But yes, the gap is closing.

The best measure is the OECD net adjusted disposable income, where despite 2 decades of closing the gap, Japanese still earns 1/3 more than South Koreans. Wealth distribution is no better in SK despite concentration in very few families. Still a long way to go, and why even conservative politician like Park thinks there's votes in closing the gap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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