“Minari” director Lee Isaac Chung talks during a press conference held via Zoom Friday as part of the Busan International Film Festival held in October (BIFF)
Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho on Friday praised “Minari” in his talk with the film’s director Lee Isaac Chung, held during Variety’s inaugural FYC Fest.
“I think it takes a lot of courage to shoot a film about yourself or your family, since it’s autobiographical,” Bong was quoted as saying in Variety. “But what I appreciated more about this film is that it doesn’t wallow in nostalgia. It follows the perspective of multiple characters, and it doesn’t feature any voiceovers or narration. I think that level of distance makes the film more beautiful and universal.”
Set in the 1980s, “Minari” depicts a first-generation South Korean immigrant family of four. The film is inspired by Chung’s own story. The family moves to a farm in rural Arkansas in the US in pursuit of the American dream. Steven Yeun plays dad Jacob Yi and Han Ye-ri plays mom Monica Yi in the movie, while veteran actor Youn Yuh-jung plays Monica’s mother, who comes to America to live with the Yi family and take care of the kids.
Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho (Yonhap)
The film won both the audience and US dramatic competition prizes at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and it is seen as a strong contender for the Oscars.
During the talk, the two directors also discussed Yeun, with whom they have both worked.
“I love what he does in that film and his whole character. And he kind of has that lovable aspect in unity. I feel that he could do something very bad in bringing his family to this farm in Arkansas, but still, you love him,” Chung said, adding that he is also curious about Bong’s experience of working with Yeun in the film “Okja.”
Bong responded that he also had a similar impression about Yeun, who pulled off a character that lies in “Okja,” but is still impossible to hate.
“But his performance in ‘Minari’ was on another level. You see the heavy burden on this young father’s shoulders and his obsession over this farm. You really get to see a new side of Steven — a truly father-like father,” Bong added.
Meanwhile, the highly anticipated “Minari” will be released in Korean theaters in early 2021.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)