Bong Joon-ho’s 2003 crime drama Memories of Murder is getting a theatrical release in America as well as a Blu-ray release thanks to the success of Parasite.
Parasite has quickly become the talk of the nation, and by “nation” I mean movie fans. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, the film has a staggering 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and has a strong chance of taking home the 2019 Academy Award for Best International Film. There is also talk of Bong possibly getting additional nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
About a young man who tutors a rich family’s daughter and slowly begins to infiltrate himself into their lives, Parasite is a marvelous black comedy that shows off everything Bong is famous for including black humor and contemporary social topics laced with horror themes. After its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, it became the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or and has already grossed $119.5 million worldwide against an $11 million budget.
All this success has gotten people interested in Bong Joon-ho, a South Korea director that has been overlooked for way too long. Now, thanks to the positive response to Parasite, Bong’s critically acclaimed 2003 film Memories of Murder about Korea’s first serial murders will be re-released in theaters.
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Originally released in Korea on May 2, 2003, the film is largely considered to be Bong’s masterpiece. It already appeared in headlines earlier this year when it’s subject material made national news as the killer in which the film is based on was identified on September 18, 2019, through DNA evidence. He was identified as Lee Choon-jae, a man already serving life in prison for murdering his sister-in-law.
Unlike other crime dramas about unknown killers, Memories of Murder didn’t attempt to solve the mystery and ended the film with a question mark. Now that the man behind the Hwaseong serial murders has finally been caught, it’s made the film somewhat immortal. The story will forever hold up because it didn’t date itself by giving out presumed guesses.
Bong shared his thoughts on seeing the killer’s real face for the first time during Beyond Fest.
"“The Hwaseong serial killer case was an enormously shocking incident for Koreans. It inflicted a lot of trauma on Korean society. When I made the film Memories of Murder, I thought a lot about the criminal and what he would have looked like.Last week, I saw the killer’s face for the first time,” he said. “I will need a little more time before I can explain how I felt in that moment. But the most important thing right now is to applaud the police officers who worked tirelessly in order to bring the criminal to justice.”"
According to Variety, NEON has acquired the rights to Memories of Murder with plans to theatrically release it, followed by a special Blu-ray release that will hopefully feature an in-depth explanation of how Lee was caught. There’s no word yet on when either release will take place, but I’m hoping sometime during December so it can arrive in time for Christmas.
Other films directed by Bong Joon-ho include Snowpiercer, The Host, Mother, Barking Dogs Never Bite, and Netflix’s Okja.