Genre Borrowing and Political Message in The Host
Released in July 2006, Bong Joon-ho’s The Host garnered both widespread popularity as the highest grossing South Korean film ever released in Korea. It was also screening at the Cannes, New York, and Toronto film festivals and seen by more than a quarter of the Korean population. The Host embodies political messages both political conditions inside Korea and its relationship with United States. Bong shows an ambivalent relationship between South Korea and United States by borrowing Hollywood genre in his films. The Host uses genre that strongly identified with Hollywood, which is blockbuster plot and monster movie. But Bong does not simply copy Hollywood. This movie is a rare combination
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I think we are clearly supposed to see this as a reversion to his former days as a student protesting against the government, which ended at least a decade ago. Bong Joon-ho puts this scene as a deliberate echo of the past. Nam-il winds up to throw a flaming a bottle of Molotov cocktail, then the bottle slips of his hand, smashes near his feet. At this moment his sister Nam-joo appears with her bow and shoots a flaming arrow directly into the creature’s mouth, and then finished with Gang-du takes the pipe and strikes the monster in the mouth. A young man throwing Molotov image has a deep meaning about Korean history. It contains about young Koreans’ violent street protests, from the pro-democracy protests in the 1980 through the anti-globalization and anti-free trade protests at the early 2000s (Klein 887). It also contains an undercurrent anti-American, because many of these protest are took aim to United States. The image of Nam-joo with bow and arrow also show the Koreanness, as archery is a traditional Korean famous sport (Klein 887). In this climax part Koreanness expressed via figures of social and economic marginality and failure, which are a homeless man, an unemployment drunk, and a second-tier athlete.
Bong not only centers on Korea’s relationship with the United States. The Host exposes the deep crime that suffuses contemporary