Los Angeles Times

'Parasite' director Bong Joon Ho on his Cannes winner, a thriller rooted in class conflict

LOS ANGELES - Filmmaker Bong Joon Ho was back in Los Angeles on a recent morning in September, on the dizzying stateside tour for his critically acclaimed thriller "Parasite," when I asked if he'd heard the day's news out of his native South Korea. He answered with an exclamation 16 years in the making.

"HE CONFESSED," said director Bong, wide-eyed with astonishment.

Weeks earlier, Korean authorities had announced the identification of a suspect in the infamous Hwaseong serial killings that inspired Bong's second film, "Memories of Murder," the searing 2003 true-crime drama he directed at age 34. The slayings had shocked and terrified the country three decades ago, the trail long gone cold.

On this morning in 2019, Korean media were reporting that the suspect had confessed. Bong, now 50, with seven feature films and the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or for "Parasite" under his belt, was floored by the news.

It had taken so long to glimpse the face of the monster he'd chased onscreen years ago in "Memories of Murder," a film as much about a killer's real reign of terror as the failure of justice to find him. The resolution was bittersweet, and Bong admitted he felt conflicted.

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