Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho has been on a meteoric rise to success over the last few years. His first film was released in the year 2000 and lost money at the Box Office - but since then, he has made Hollywood films and is a three time Oscar winner, having directed the first foreign language film to secure a Best Picture win at the Academy Awards.
Commercially, Bong is unstoppable right now, but artistically he is on an even more impressive hot streak. A master of both comedy and dramatic tension, Bong will often elicit both as tools in his storytelling, creating a wonderful collaboration of the two genres.
He always has something to say during his films, and whether he's telling stories about a mutant sea monster, a sci-fi super train, or a straight detective story, Bong always has some worthwhile insight on class divisions and criticism of those in powerful positions.
He knows what will land well with audiences and what needs to be said and has a deft skill at weaving such observations into his narrative. Bong Joon-ho is one of the best filmmakers working today, and it looks like he's only just getting started.
7. Barking Dogs Never Bite
Bong Joon-ho's first feature was made on a modest budget and at the time was seen by very few people. It isn't terrible, and Bong is clearly trying a few artistic techniques he would later perfect, but Barking Dogs Never Bite struggles to find a tonal balance over the course of its runtime.
After an aspiring college professor is driven crazy by the sounds of a barking dog somewhere within his block of flats, he takes drastic action to deal with it. At the same time, an affable girl in the same block of flats is motivated by an injustice she witnesses and the two are drawn into each other's worlds.
Bong is a master at using both comedy and drama in his films but the shifts between the two are often so extreme in this film, it can be hard to know exactly how to feel. Animal abuse as a tool for humour is a brave choice but it is incredibly hard to sell.
No dogs were harmed during filming, but it doesn't make certain scenes any less undesirable to watch.