Mother + The Host at Melbourne Cinémathèque

Devoted mothers and deadly monsters in the strange cinema of Bong Joon-ho

This event has finished

There’s a quote attributed to Elizabeth Stone – and, oddly, sometimes to Steve Jobs – that says having a child is like having your heart walking outside your body. In November, Melbourne Cinémathèque’s screening a double feature from Korean director Bong Joon-ho that proves it.

In Jaws, Spielberg famously refused to show the shark until halfway through; in The Host (Gwoemul), Bong’s monster lopes out of the water to cause chaos almost immediately. It’s a fantastic monster, too: its skin has a little fake CGI sheen, but it moves like poetry. Once the monster takes his daughter, the buffoonish Park Gang-Doo and his family fight to get her back, no matter how hopeless it seems. The Host is a beguiling mix of melodrama and slapstick, social commentary and high tension.

In his next feature, Mother (Madeo), the title character is slavishly – maybe even psychotically – devoted to her simple-minded son. (One memorable moment: she feeds him as he urinates against a wall.) When he’s accused of a grisly murder it falls on her to prove his innocence, no matter what it takes. Mother is full of striking imagery and Hitchcockian twists, with moments of grim farce reminiscent of the Coen Brothers. Its first scene is already a mystery; it snaps satisfyingly shut in the last.

Even at his weirdest, demolishing generic conventions and audience expectations, Bong executes each scene with absolute precision. And his new film, the international sci-fi Snowpiercer, is already earning rave reviews. (Slicing it into a shorter cut for Western audiences? Not so much.) Together, The Host and Mother will leave you itching to see it.

First published on . Updated on .

By Martyn Pedler   |  

Mother + The Host at Melbourne Cinémathèque video

Mother + The Host at Melbourne Cinémathèque details

Australian Centre for the Moving Image - ACMI

Federation Square
Cnr Swanston & Flinders Sts

Melbourne 3000

Nearby Stations: Flinders Street

Telephone 03 8663 2200

Price from $21.00 to $26.00

Date Wed 20 Nov 2013

Open 7pm

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Australian Centre for the Moving Image - ACMI details

Melbourne area guide

Australian Centre for the Moving Image - ACMI map

Restaurants near Australian Centre for the Moving Image - ACMI

Time Out

51m - Time Out Melbourne - no we haven't opened a café, this place is nothing to...

MoVida Next Door

91m - Frank Camorra is the undisputed king of Spain in this town. His stable is...

Taxi Dining Room

97m - Go for the exquisite food, stay for the enviable views of Melbourne. Located...

Bars & pubs near Australian Centre for the Moving Image - ACMI

Transport Public Bar

55m - With multi entertainment venues, including a cocktail bar, a formal dining...

Riverland Bar

61m - It's pretty much all about Friday night sausages and mulled wine at...


63m - Located at the top floor of the Transport Hotel, Transit is a cocktail...

Other venues near Australian Centre for the Moving Image - ACMI

ACMI Store

36m - Negotiating the exit of the  Australian Centre for the Moving Image...


50m - Artplay is a civic space where children and families can get creative and...

The Famous Spiegeltent

81m - This awesomely atmospheric circus tent will appear in Federation Square for...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.