Bong Joon-ho Was Once Blacklisted in South Korea for His ‘Liberal’ Films

Bong Joon-ho Blacklist

Bong Joon-ho, the Academy Award-winning director of “Parasite,” was reportedly blacklisted by the South Korean government four years ago for being too liberal.

Bong, along with his two other “Parasite” collaborators, actor Song Kang-ho and producer Miky Lee, were included on the list of 9,000 artists the South Korean government blacklisted in 2016, according to an op-ed by Korea expert S. Nathan Park in The Washington Post via Insider.

The blacklist, created by then-South Korean President Lee Myung-bak who was succeeded by Park Geun-hye, was expanded and aimed to cut the funding of left-leaning artists for their projects.

Bong landed on the blacklist as his work typically focuses on themes such as inequality, the military-industrial complex and the failure to address global warming.

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Regardless of the budget restriction, Bong continued his work and used his prominence to fund his films, including “Snowpiercer” and “Okja”, he told AFP via Straits Times in 2017.

“If the blacklist continued, there was a good chance that ‘Parasite’ would never have been made,” Park wrote in the op-ed.

Song and Lee did not have the same luck as Bong. Song had problems finding work after he was cast in “The Attorney”, a biopic about former liberal South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun. Lee, on the other hand, produced that film and was subsequently forced to resign from his company over the movie as well as other films the South Korean government deemed too liberal.

The reveal of the 2016 blacklist was reportedly one factor that led to Park’s impeachment and subsequent removal from office later that year.

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Feature Image via Dick Thomas Johnson (CC BY 2.0)

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