Click here to listen to the interview.
When we talked on December 12, 2009, Bong Joon-ho was delighted to be able to explain to me why making a family drama like MOTHER isn’t that different for him as a filmmaker than making his last film, THE HOST, about a family dealing with a monster rampaging through Seoul. He focuses on what makes a story compelling, and if it takes big special effects, he throws them in, if it doesn’t, he doesn’t feel compelled to create a need for them. When dealing with a subject as universal as that of the relationship of a mother and son, the psychological turmoil is all the special effect needed as the eponymous mother tries to prove that her mentally disabled son is innocent of a murder to which he has already confessed.
Speaking through interpreter Jackie Noh, and sometimes breaking into English himself, Bong opined about why mothers and sons share such a special bond, the four-year process of writing the script with actress Kim Hye-ja’s face driving the story, and why cell phones loom large in Korean culture as well as the film’s plot.