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Bong Joon Ho Makes History Again as 2021 Venice Jury President, the First from South Korea

Bong Joon Ho will be the first person from South Korean to head the Venice Film Festival jury.

Bong Joon Ho - Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

Filmmaker Bong Joon Ho is making history again after being named jury president of the 2021 Venice Film Festival, which will run for 10 days in September later this year. The “Snowpiercer” and “Parasite” Oscar winner will be the first person from South Korea to serve as the president of the film festival’s seven-person jury. Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera hailed Bong as “one of the most authentic and original voices in worldwide cinema.”

“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.”

Barbera said in an additional statement, “The first item of good news regarding the 78th Venice Film Festival is that Bong Joon Ho has enthusiastically agreed to preside over the jury. … 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. It is a pleasure and an honor to be able to share the joy of this moment with the countless admirers, throughout the world, of his extraordinary movies.”

Bong’s Venice duty makes it three years in a row in terms of making history on the international film circuit. When “Parasite” won the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Bong became the first person from South Korea to receive the French festival’s top honor. “Parasite” would go on to dominate the Academy Awards in 2020, taking home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature. It was the first South Korean movie to win in all four categories, and it was also the first foreign-language movie to take home the Best Picture trophy.

As jury president of the Venice Film Festival, Bong is succeeding actress Cate Blanchett. The Venice Film Festival was the only major festival to hold an in-person event in 2020 amid the pandemic. Last year’s winnings included “Nomadland” for the Golden Lion and “Pieces of a Woman” star Vanessa Kirby for Best Actress.

The 78th Venice International Film Festival is scheduled to run September 1-11.


By Zack Shar for IndieWire


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