How many filmmakers have their own hive? The South Korean master does: the devotee and ever-swelling, #BongHive. Aside from being so beloved that even his interpreter, Sharon Choi, has become a minor celebrity, Director Bong earns his place at the top of this list for his subversive and darkly funny parables like Mother, Memories of Murder and his anti-meat allegory Okja. And for making Parasite, a film so spectacularly great that it made the Academy do what it has never done in nearly 100 years and give a Best Picture Oscar to a film not in English – an experience he took in with the kind of bemused delight only the extremely cool could pull off. But it wasn’t so much about Bong gatecrashing a Hollywood party, as Hollywood finally waking up to what any of his peers, cinephiles or Korean moviegoers could hsve told it a decade ago: that he’s a towering talent whose films are cerebral, pointed and crowdpleasing all at once. Oh, and let’s not forget that he once ignored Harvey Weinstein’s Snowpiercer notes in magnificent fashion. Never mind the coolest filmmaker, Bong may be the planet’s coolest man. Phil de Semlyen
Where to start:
Head for 2003’s Memories of Murder, a gripping serial killer mystery that juggles pratfalls and horrors with the tonal assurance that has become Bong’s hallmark.