According to Martin Scorsese, in Hong's films 'everything kind of starts unassumingly - but then things unpeel like an orange'.
Received his BA from California College of Arts and Crafts, and his MA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The artist he admires the most is Cezanne.
Frequently defined as The Woody Allen of Korea.
Personal Quotes (4)
When I finish a film, I feel like I have overcome a certain hurdle. It's really good for me as a human being, and I hope that for some people, my films will do the same thing.
[on how he works] Before shooting I try to observe as much as I can. I don't want to work with my strong intention, because if you work with a strong intention I think what you do is you repeat what you've heard and what you've seen in the past. It's not new. It's not interesting. So what I try to do is observe and respond to what is given. What is given is more interesting than what I craft by my intentions. Intentions always dangerous for me, always stereotypical-not interesting at all. If I have to work in the line of intention, I will not work. It's so boring. It would be like I'd be a construction worker, your whole design would be just like a railroad. I need something new, really unexpected things happen every day. Every day something new has to happen, that way I feel alive and want to work.
[on why he uses zooms] I cannot explain to you why I use zooms, I really can't. I started using them on my sixth film. I just felt one day that I would like to get closer to the actors without cutting the shot. By doing it I discovered that I could create a special rhythm in continuity. And it's so easy. I just kept doing it ever since. I didn't want to make it my trademark.
[on why he's always returning to the same types of characters] It's convenient. It's not that important that they are directors of films, do you know what I mean? I just know more about them. I don't have this need to go to different professions, different types of characters. What I do with these simple elements-if I can call them elements-in each film is important. Not to look for new material, a new type of character, a new type of professional is against my temperament. My temperament is to work with the things I know already, and then find new things. So a filmmaker is just one of these important, simple elements that I know very well. I don't want to work with or make films about a plane pilot, if I try to describe him maybe I will be very stereotypical.