* Excluding “OKJA” – that’s a Netflix exclusive.

*****

If you haven’t already guessed, this little article is essentially about 2 different items – well, lots of digital film “items” but 2 main pieces of information.

Different they may be but they do have the connection of film director, BONG JOON-HO.

They’re also different in the fact that one of them relates to films at the London Korean Film Festival 2020 which, seeing as the festival has ‘mostly’ finished [read on;)] such movies will probably have to LIVE ONLY IN THE VIEWERS MEMORY – Whereas the other half of the article suggests such films which can LIVE ON FOREVER IN YOUR DIGITAL COLLECTION (HARD-DRIVE / DATA STORAGE / MEMORY).

The BONG JOON-HO shorts (at LKFF2020)

Nobody is more aware than yours truly perhaps, that this year’s London Korean Film Festival is over.

[I’m speaking of online screenings, as 2 of the cinema screenings, “THE HAPPY LIFE” and “ASHFALL” (our review here) are scheduled to go ahead at the start of December:  https://www.koreanfilm.co.uk/page/programme-news/]

You see, I was pretty dedicated to this year’s LKFF and every day I was either witnessing one of the films, writing about a film or watching one of their special talks/Q&As… many of which are still online to watch. Of course, in these crazy times I would still take a break and get some air, and even pop to a cafe – that was before this so-called second ‘lockdown’ – and you could say that any such walking would be the nearest to simulating the frantic cinema hopping of previous year’s LKFFs.

Four things I was not going to miss were the Bong Joon-ho related events, namely three short films in the LKFF “Bong Joon Ho Shorts” strand, but also the “Bong Joon Ho: Korea and Beyond” online talk. Catch all these I did and it made me a very happy individual. Incidentally, for anyone who missed that online talk – and for me, as I was only half paying attention when it happened – I’m hoping they will make it available eventually, and perhaps on the KCCUK / Korean Culture Centre, London’s YouTube channel.

One of the three shorts was a film with Bong Joon-ho STARRING in it as opposed to directing, “SOME LIGHT?” (불좀 주소) and it was an interesting yet swift watch.

The other two, “INCOHERENCE” (지리멸렬) and “INFLUENZA” (인플루엔자) were both, approximately 30 minute films. These two, even though neither of them have been reviewed by MMM [perhaps sometime in the future] were very worthwhile viewings. The latter of the two I found very intriguing, not least because it’s made up of ‘CCTV’ footage and tells a story through that, but also due to the fact that I too am currently producing my own film, which similarly features ‘CCTV’ scenes.

I found these films integral parts to this year’s London Korean Film Festival 2020.

Like any year of the LKFF, and I’ve been to many of them (MMM has attended and/or covered it for about a decade), you had to be eagle-eyed to make sure you didn’t miss something you wanted to – Or rather, this only applies if there are a few films you’re intending to see. I mean, if you only have your eye on one film that you ‘must see’, and ‘can not miss’ then it’s not difficult.

However, I often, and indeed did this year want to see as much as possible. I succeeded and perhaps more than a ‘normal’ LKFF – when cinema screenings are happening and full on, as opposed to many or all being online. The LKFF2020’s 3-page schedule / planner also helped!

It’s MMM’s eagle-eyes which lead us to the next section of this article…

ALL* Bong’s Features NOW on iTunes

I’m not sure if it’s the times we are in, but rarely does a week go by when I haven’t had a good look on iTunes maybe once, twice or more… and almost certainly on the day when iTunes gets updated and new promotions are put on their ‘front page’.

Now, I’m not even talking solely about Korean or Asian films – no, I love a good bargain of various genres or languages, for starters. In addition to this, purchasing a film has always been more satisfying for me… it’s actually something I’m trying to reduce or stamp out, that compulsion to buy.

After all, this is the guy who was around when VHS videos were, and I certainly had a big collection of those. Then came DVDs and the same happened but to MORE of an extent – what with double-discers, so-named Special Editions, Collector sets and all those extras it was hard to resist. Maybe this lowly reviewer has not learned this lesson, and… errr… lessened!

It is not just special offers, even these days on iTunes [other online outlets or platforms are available] I semi-scout for. It’s films from all over the world, all over the spectrum… but before that sounds a tad of a terrible addiction, I have favourites which I look for – classics, recent films, Indies and yes, ‘sigh’ even a couple of guilty pleasure Hollywood films.

Sometimes worlds collide, and a bargain, a beauty of a film or two and Asian ones come together. Take this offer from Arrow / Third Window Films which recently fell upon us and iTunes: https://miniminimovie.com/2020/07/17/sale-an-arrow-a-window-an-offer-a-little-nostalgia-last-few-days-2-99-titles/

I wouldn’t worry too much if you missed that deal as often there is a similar offer which comes around.

However, in this instance and the reason for this segment of the article, I was focusing, searching for and a little obsessed by Bong Joon-ho (Mr MMM is not the only one, I know that) and this wasn’t due to the fact that I’ve met him a couple of times [once in the U.K. and once in South Korea (a.k.a. S.K) – the same year as a Press Screening of “SNOWPIERCER” at Busan International Film Festival] nor was it solely his massive “PARASITE” success. This said, I’m sure they played part of a role – you only have to see this YouTube playlist of mine to see my admiration:

Or, perhaps on a lesser scale, this:

https://miniminimovie.com/2020/02/26/parasite-기생충-black-white-uk-premiere-colourful-news/

You see, there was news that Bong’s “MEMORIES OF MURDER” and his feature debut “BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE” would be released or streamed online, by Curzon. Not only this, there was an announcement that both films would be released on DVD and/or Blu-Ray.

As a side-note, “MEMORIES OF MURDER” was also granted a limited UK cinema release, albeit I can not recall how much of that went ahead, what with this pandemic occurring! Either way, there was no news I’d seen or emergence of any digital version of either of these films.

Around the same time, there was “PARASITE” (Black & White version), a version I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a Press Screening of – not long before “Lockdown 1” – and subsequently attended, which seemed to be available to stream (Amazon PRIME, at least).

Well, upon that realisation I simply thought ‘well, that’s good’ but didn’t think it would be for sale, in any format.

Why?

Well, seeing as it’s a kind of ‘Limited Edition’ type of film, surely that’s how it would stay. After all, Bong released a Black & White version of “MOTHER” some years ago, and you can not buy that, as a digital version… It WAS released though in certain territories and on certain physical format/s – i.e. Blu-Ray.

A little shameful self-promotion but here’s our review of that film – be gentle, as the review is almost a decade old! https://miniminimovie.com/2011/09/24/mother-madeo-마더-two-venues-one-mother/

I was wrong. There it was… The B & W version of “PARASITE” there to see [literally, in exchange for about a tenner] and to keep, on iTunes.

Back to those 2 first films directed by Bong Joon-ho, “BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE” and “MEMORIES OF MURDER”. Every now and again I would check iTunes, especially on a Monday afternoon or evening (that’s generally when ‘things change’, or at least on their main page) and at some point, when searching for either of those titles, IT HAPPENED… yes, one of them was there, and then not long after the other one was too! I can’t recall if I found “BDNB” on one day and then “MOM” on another but there they were and indeed now ARE there.

So, what does all this rambling result in? What does this mean?

It means that NOW you can buy All* of Bong Joon-ho’s feature films [those he’s directed anyway] on iTunes! Well, I was one happy bunny indeed!

*As MMM stated at the top of this article, “OKJA” is excluded from the list and therefore not available on iTunes – that’s currently a Netflix exclusive, a Netflix Original.

That still means that you can get A LOT OF BONG FOR YOUR BUCK [or POUND]… or to CHOOSE from:

“Barking Dogs Never Bite”

“Memories Of Murder”

“The Host”

“Mother”

“Snowpiercer”

“Parasite”

“Parasite (b & w)”

You’ll note that, as I write this both “BDNB” and “MOM” are Pre-Orders – but there’s not long to wait:

“Expected: 23 Nov, 2020″… and, it seems reasonably priced.

One last thing to say, as some of you may be thinking this, or have heard stories about iTunes… and that is concerning whether you really DO get to keep films you buy. Well, you do. As long as you download your purchased film at some point and keep it somewhere, it’s yours to keep – I’d always recommend ultimately storing on a separate hard-drive, just in case something happens and iTunes manages to delete it from you computer or laptop, but even that is unlikley. I tend to do that, but I can usually access the film via iTunes from my devices.

So, forget what they say about iTunes and digital downloads – the only things you can’t keep are the iTunes Extras. This can be a little annoying, especially if you were to purchase Park Chan-wook’s “THE HANDMAIDEN”, because the Extras are/is the “THE HANDMAIDEN: Extended Edition”, which is 20+ minutes longer.

That still didn’t stop me buying it, and when it was at a bargain price!