Monday, March 15, 2010
interview with bong joon-ho
Translator: I'm going to explain in two parts. The first [reason] is because of the actress - Kim Hye-ja - she was where I got the inspiration from and she was the starting point for the story. She's a very iconic mother as a national people's mother in Korea, but I wanted to flip that around, that image of her, and show this kind of mad, crazy side.
And the second part is I wanted to explore the relationship between a mother and her son. So out of the four parental relationships, father and son, father and daughter, mother and son, mother and daughter, I felt that the mother and son relationship is the most powerful. It's instinctual in an animalistic way. Especially, you carry the son in the womb for a long time and the fact that they're of a different sex, when the baby comes out, there's kind of a weird tension between a mother and a son and especially in Korea, that relationship between the way a mother takes care of a son…
So there is that one male and female relationship between the mom and son and especially in Korean culture when the son gets married. So his wife and the mom, they have kind of a strange love triangle, a weird tension between the mom and the son and the son's wife. [About] 70 to 80% of the Korean dramas that you see on Korean television, those are kind of based on that tension, that drama that happens between those three people.
I'd love to touch on a couple of things you said. First, how did you even find Kim Hye-ja and get her to star in the film? Did you convince her to come back, or did she feel this was her time to return to cinema, or how did that work?
Translator: She's been acting for 40 years, but mostly it's been in television and she's only done actually two features. But his previous film, Memories of Murder, she was a fan of that film, so she really liked that. In terms of approaching her, when he did, she said, 'Oh, you're the director of Memories of Murder.' So she was very open to the idea of being– In 2004, he first pitched the idea of the story and since then, they've developed it more. But the fact that the mother [spoiler removed]. The whole end part has remained since then and she really liked that idea of a mother turning into that kind of character. She wanted to try something where it's a little different from the past roles that she's done where she played more of like a warm, kind mother.
Bong Joon-ho: If she refused that story, I would've had to give up on the project because…