Baking Dogs Never BiteKorea | 2000 | 110min | Color | Drama
The Worst Gift for the Best Director
Barking Dogs Never Bite remains for me the most memorable experience in my career as a music director. Earlier this year, director Bong Joon-ho won several Oscars including Best Picture. Exactly 20 years ago, he was just starting out as a director. For me, his debut feature Barking Dogs Never Bite is both the happiest and the most unfortunate memory. For the first time, I thoroughly enjoyed working on film music without the usual creative agony.
Back in 2000, I juggled several project at the same time. By the time I met Bong, I was already worn out. Plus, I wasn’t sure if my lyrical and unilinear style would suit the film’s unique sensibilities. Frankly, I was too tired to take on a new challenge. The film needed the kind of music that wouldn’t force it into uniform emotions—jazz (I’ve been a lifelong jazz enthusiast). I invited Jazz musicians to the studio and had them improvise music.
Jazz deviates from the center, and so it didn’t interfere with Bong’s details. However, music was one of the reasons for the film’s box office failure. The jazz music distracted viewers from the story. Yet, it won me a special jury award at an international film festival. In short, that meant my music was not commercial but experimental. To this day, I feel I should thank and apologize to Bong Joon-ho. (CHO Sung-woo)
봉준호 감독은 <플란다스의 개>(2000), <살인의 추억>(2003), <괴물>(2006), <마더>(2009)에서부터 2013년작 <설국열차>, 아카데미 수상작 <기생충>(2020)에 이르기까지, 6편의 장편을 통해 한국영화를 대표하는 감독으로 자리 잡았다.