VIDEO: Bong Joon Ho named as Sight & Sound’s first ever guest editor


Sight & Sound, the BFI’s international film magazine, has announced Oscar-nominated director Bong Joon Ho as its first ever guest editor.

Palme d’Or-winning Bong will oversee the magazine’s March 2020 issue, available digitally on 3 February and on newsstands 6 February.

This coincides with the UK release of his latest film, Parasite, in cinemas from Friday 7 February. Earlier this week the film received six Academy Award nominations.

Bong Joon Ho reveals

The issue will include a reveal of storyboards from Parasite, and a career profile. There’s also a personal tribute from Bong Joon Ho to South Korean director Kim Kiyoung.

The issue also includes his selection of the 20 most exciting up-and-coming directors to watch from around the world.

“I’m very happy to work with Sight & Sound, it’s a strange feeling because when I studied cinema around 30 years ago, I used to read Sight & Sound magazine a lot.

“I read it with my Film Society members. Sometimes, we even got illegally copied issues and read them.

“So, it’s very meaningful for me and I’m greatly honoured to work on this issue as a guest editor.”

Creative minds 

Sight & Sound editor in chief Mike Williams said: “Working with Bong Joon Ho on the upcoming issue of Sight & Sound has been a great way of seeing one of cinema’s most creative minds at work.

“The global success of his latest film Parasite is well deserved – as are all his awards and nominations – and I’m excited to welcome him as the first ever guest editor of Sight & Sound.

“We’ve been great champions of Director Bong’s films and vision throughout his career, so to collaborate with him on this issue that explores his inspirations and creative process is a proud moment that says as much about the history and legacy of Sight & Sound as it does about our exciting future. Gamsahamnida, Director Bong!”

Cannes premiere 

Bong wrote and directed Parasite, which has received critical acclaim since being unanimously voted to win the Palme d’Or. This followed its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

Bong is the first Korean filmmaker to be awarded the prestigious accolade.

The film received Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language at the 2020 Golden Globes. It has gone on to receive four BAFTA and six Academy Award nominations, including Best Director.

It made history by being the first South Korean film to be nominated for Best Film and Best International Film at the Academy Awards.

Bong profile 

Internationally-renowned Korean cinema expert Tony Rayns profiles Bong in the March issue and takes a retrospective look at the filmmaker’s career.

Bong’s second feature, Memories of Murder (2003), received international critical acclaim and was featured in the December 2003 issue of Sight & Sound.

The magazine has continued a long association with Bong. It first interviewed him in September 2004 and covered his subsequent work including The Host (2006) and Snowpiercer (2013). Both films are among the highest-grossing films of all time in South Korea.

Upcoming filmmakers 

Also in the issue, Bong handpicks 20 upcoming filmmakers to watch, who have each directed two features or fewer. These include Mati Diop, whose feature directorial debut Atlantics (2019) competed in the Cannes Film Festival official competition. It lost to Parasite, but received the Grand Prix.

Bong also selects fellow South Korean director Yoon Ga-eun whose films explore stories of young children and youth. Bong also championed Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) as a director to watch.

Similarly to Bong, Peele’s work explores current social themes with an undercurrent of both humour and horror.

Korean spotlight 

Bong puts a spotlight on Korean director Kim Kiyoung, whose films have had a huge influence on his work and who he considers to be the true auteur of Korean cinema.

Kiyoung is best known for his intensely psychosexual and melodramatic horror films such as The Housemaid (1960) the first of the “Housemaid trilogy”. This was followed by Woman of Fire (1971) and Woman of Oman ’82 (1982).

Sight & Sound’s March cover features exclusive portraits of the director taken by British photographer Dean Chalkley, who has produced iconic images of significant cultural figures at the intersection of music, art and fashion over the past two decades.

Parasite was previewed at BFI Southbank on 11 December 2019 and will be on extended run at BFI Southbank from 14 February 2020.

In 2009, the BFI Southbank held a retrospective of Bong’s work in partnership with the London Korean Film Festival.

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