Fans of Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning Parasite can catch an earlier masterpiece from the director at HOME this September. For our money the director’s best film, 2003’s Memories of Murder is a brutal police procedural based upon an unsolved string of real life rapes and murders of women in the rural Gyeonggi province of South Korea between 1986 and 1991.
A film of grim mysteries, Bong leans into the depths of despair as he tracks three police detectives — two locals with blunt techniques and a modern minded technician imported from Seoul — as they interrogate suspects, butt heads and track down leads without luck.
The wider context is South Korea’s repressive government and the societal paranoia of the period. In its politically-anchored depiction of fruitless obsession, David Fincher’s Zodiac is the obvious reference point — but this is very much a Bong Joon-ho film. The director’s signature combination of deadpan black humour, moral perception and dark violence never hit so hard as it does here.