Since the South Korean film Parasite made waves at last year's Cannes Film Festival, and subsequently garnered the covetable Palme d'Or, director Bong Joon-ho has been the director to watch—and his recent grand slam sweep at this year's Oscars seals the deal.
During his acceptance speech for the Best Director award, Bong Joon-ho quoted Martin Scorsese. Little did we know that he is also influenced by a director closer to home. In an interview with Inquirer.net back in October 2019, he cited the legendary Filipino director Lino Brocka as one of his major inspirations.
"When I was in university, I was a huge fan of Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien, the great Taiwanese directors. And also Lino Brocka—he was a strong master. He made such powerful films. I was in a cinema club when I was in university, so I studied so many wonderful Asian films at the time."
In line with that, he mentions that he not only enjoyed Lino Brocka's films but thoroughly studied them, too. "The Asian masters I mentioned, I watched their films when I was in the study club in university. They are great, beautiful films. I analyzed them to figure out how those films were, rather than just purely enjoying them."
He even admits to acquiring "illegal copies" of Lino Brocka's masterpieces.
Lino Brocka is a celebrated director in Philippine cinema and was a prominent figure in the '70s throughout the '80s. Some of his famous titles include Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974), Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975), Insiang (1976), Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1984), and Orapronobis (1989). His body of work continues to inspire local cinema to this day. He passed away in 1991.
Bong Joon-ho graduated with a degree in sociology from Yonsei University in 1995. During his stay, he co-founded a film club and produced short movies. He also took up a two-year program at the Korean Academy of Film Arts.
Parasite won four awards at this year's Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature Film, and Best Original Screenplay. Bong Joon-ho is the first person to win four awards for one film.