Titled “Yellow Door: Looking for Director Bong’s Unreleased Short Film,” the doc is being directed by Lee Hyuk-rae and produced through Broccoli Pictures.
The film will trace the quest for Bong’s unreleased first short film “Looking for Paradise,” made during his university days. Besides shedding light on the creative origins of a great artist, the documentary will also illuminate an era when young cinephiles emerged in South Korea.
The mid-1990s was a time of febrile change in the arts in South Korea. There was a surge of creativity that followed decades of repressive military rule. Rule breakers and innovators at the time included the Busan International Film Festival, which defiantly started showing banned Japanese movies; CJ Entertainment, which kicked off the industrialization of the Korean film industry through investments in Dreamworks and multiplex cinemas; and new music acts and talent agencies which imported foreign sounds and established the foundations of today’s K-Pop phenomenon.
“While many believe director Bong’s first film to be the 1994 short ‘White Man,’ his real first film is actually the short filmed with stop-motion techniques, ‘Looking for Paradise.’ This 22-minute film was screened for some 10 members of cinephile club Yellow Door at Christmas 1992, and has never been seen since,” Netflix said in a statement. The company says that the documentary gets to the bottom of Bong’s mysterious film-making debut, pieces together the memories of the only witnesses to the film and recreates an era of avid movie lovers.
The new film features meetings with the viewers of “Looking for Paradise,” who look back on the activities of Yellow Door and reminisce about young Bong, who obsessively took care of Yellow Door’s greatest asset — its video library.
Bong has an important place in Korean film history. Not only has he made groundbreaking films such as “Memories of Murder,” “Snowpiercer” and “Parasite,” he was also the first high-profile Korean auteur to embrace the streaming platform. Bong completed creature feature “Okja” in 2017 and publicly praised the company for the film’s generous production budget and for the creative freedom it afforded him.