Bong Joon-ho made his feature film debut in 2000 with the film “Barking Dogs Never Bite.” Of a crowd of talented new Korean directors emerging at the time, Bong appeared to attract the least attention and achieve the least commercial success. Despite earlier strong support for his short film “Incoherence” in 1994, Bong appeared headed for failure.
Three years later, however, the tables turned again for Bong. His thriller “Memories of Murder.” based on a real-life unsolved serial killer case from recent Korean history, proved a hit. Already noted from its earlier stages as having an outstanding script and being a potentially excellent genre film, “Memories of Murder” drew six million viewers to theaters in Korea alone, received awards at various film festivals, and introduced Bong’s name to countries such as the United States, France and Japan. Another three years later, Bong sent ripples through society once again with the sci-fi/monster/disaster film “The Host,” setting a Korean box office record of 13 million viewers and achieving the broadest overseas distribution for any Korean film.