‘Parasite’ director Bong Joon Ho makes history, yet again, at Venice Film Festival

Director Bong Joon Ho holding two Oscar trophies
Director Bong Joon Ho at the 2020 Academy Awards.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Glory to the Venice International Film Festival!

Visionary “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho has been appointed jury president of the 2021 edition of the festival, organizers announced Friday. The 2020 Oscar winner will become the first Korean filmmaker to serve in the prestigious role when the annual event launches in September.

“The Venice International Film Festival carries with it a long and varied history, and I’m honored to be woven into its beautiful cinematic tradition,” Bong said in a statement. “As president of the jury — and more importantly as a perpetual cinephile — I’m ready to admire and applaud all the great films selected by the festival. I’m filled with genuine hope and excitement.”

“Parasite” won the Oscar for best picture, becoming the first non-English language movie to do so. How did it win?


As chair of the 78th Venice Film Festival international jury, Bong will help select winners of the Golden Lion for best film, the Silver Lion or Grand Jury Prize, the Coppa Volpi for best actor, the Coppa Volpi for best actress, the Special Jury Prize, best screenplay and the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best new young actor or actress. Last year’s Golden Lion prize went to Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland.”

“Today, this great Korean director is one of the most authentic and original voices in worldwide cinema,” said VIFF director Alberto Barbera in a statement. “We are immensely grateful to him for having agreed to put his passion as a cinephile attentive, inquisitive, and unprejudiced, at the service of our festival.”

In 2019, Bong similarly became the first Korean artist to receive the Palme d’Or — the coveted top prize at the Cannes Film Festival — for “Parasite” upon the film’s buzzy debut.

Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” made Oscars history tonight by becoming the first Korean film win the international feature prize.

Bong also made history last year at the 92nd Academy Awards, where his acclaimed South Korean thriller became the first non-English-language film to win best picture. The twisty movie also took home Oscars for director, screenplay and international feature.

Additionally, “Parasite” scored the award for foreign film at the 2020 Golden Globes, where Bong famously mused, “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

“The decision to entrust the jury to a Korean filmmaker, for the first time in the festival’s history, is also confirmation that the Venetian event embraces the cinema of the entire world, and that directors from every country know they can consider Venice their second home,” Barbera’s statement added.