Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho of Parasite fame began his film career while he was still a university student in the early 1990s. Netflix has announced the production of a documentary about the search for famed South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s unreleased first short film, Looking For Paradise. The project will follow young cinephiles as they uncover clues and shed light on an era in South Korea through the lens of Bong’s creative origins.
Bong’s first film is often thought to be the 1994 short White Man, but his debut film is actually Looking for Paradise, a stop-motion 22-minute long film. This was screened for only 10 people at the cinephile club Yellow Door on Christmas 1992 and has not been seen since then. To uncover more about Bong’s mysterious start in filmmaking, Yellow Door (working title) interviews the only living witnesses of the film and recreates an era full of passionate movie fans.
The documentary explores the thoughts of viewers of Looking for Paradise, who remember and discuss the activities of Yellow Door. These same film club members also talk about young Bong’s dedication to taking care of what Yellow Door considered its most valuable treasure – its video library. Through these fleeting moments, we get a sense of the cinephiles during that era and learn more about Bong Joon-Ho and how he became a director.
In search of an answer to the question, “will looking for paradise ever resurface?”, director Lee Hyuk-rae will take viewers back 30 years. Yellow Door (working title) will release on Netflix in 2023.