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Part of SFFILM Festival

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Novikoff Award + “Mother”

Onstage Conversation & Screening

Wednesday, April 15, 7:00 pm · Alamo Drafthouse New Mission

Award Presentation

Join us for a very special onstage tribute and conversation.


The conversation will be followed by a screening of Bong Joon Ho’s Mother.


Named in honor of the legendary San Francisco film exhibitor Mel Novikoff (1922-1987), this award is given annually to an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the filmgoing public’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema. The award recipient is determined by the Mel Novikoff Award committee: Marice Kanbar, Philip Kaufman, Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer, Anita Monga, Janis Plotkin, Francis J. Rigney (emeritus), Rachel Rosen (ex officio), and Peter Scarlet.

The Alamo Drafthouse was founded in Austin, TX, in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League. “We love great movies, cold beer, and delicious snacks and built Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to celebrate all three,” CEO Tim League writes. From Alamo’s beginning as a one-screen, second-run discount theater built out of a one-time parking garage, Alamo has expanded to programming a dynamic blend of indie fare, Hollywood movies, retro screenings, and special events. Top-notch audio and visual presentation and film-inspired food-and-drink menus are hallmarks of the now coast-to-coast chain. In our own backyard, Alamo Drafthouse gave new life to the New Mission Theater (built in 1916) in 2015, renovating it into a five-screen multiplex where this week’s new releases mix it up with retro screenings, Terror Tuesdays, Weird Wednesdays, and other specialty programming. Join us for a conversation with Tim League and a screening of Mother.

Read more about Alamo Drafthouse in Cory Sklar’s essay Alamo Drafthouse: Community through Curation.

Bong Joon Ho, South Korea, 2009, 129 min
In the follow-up to his hugely successful creature feature The Host, Bong Joon Ho explores the limits of maternal love within the framework of a very entertaining whodunit. Lead actress Kim Hye-ja, for whom the character was conceived and written, embodied the ideal of motherhood in Korean television and cinema for over two decades, but her character in Bong’s hands takes on new and rather dark facets of the maternal instinct that hadn’t been explored in her other roles.

“I first fell in love with Bong Joon Ho’s films after watching The Host.  But with Mother, his auteur status was forever cemented.  Bong Joon Ho has now directed seven features; all are brilliant. But the titular ‘mother’ (she’s unnamed in the film) is my all-time favorite of his rich cavalcade of characters. Warm, troubling, hilarious, unpredictable, terrifying yet still so comforting, Mother will steal your heart, trample on it a bit, and then lovingly return it to you full circle with one of the most glorious and unforgettable ending sequences in any film.” –Tim League, founder, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

“The film is labyrinthine and deceptive, and not in a way we anticipate. It becomes a pleasure for the mind. Long after a conventional thriller would have its destination in plain sight, “Mother” is still penetrating our assumptions.” –Roger Ebert, RogerEbert.com

Director Bong Joon Ho

After making a number of shorts, Bong Joon Ho made his feature debut in 2000 with Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000). His subsequent films include Memories of Murder (Festival 2004), The Host (2006), Snowpiercer (2013), and Okja (2017). His latest film, Parasite (2019), won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and was the first South Korean film to receive Oscar nominations. In addition to becoming the first non-English language film to win Best Picture, it also took home the Best International Feature Film prize, while Bong won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.

Film Details

Language Korean

Original Language Title Madeo

Year 2009

Runtime 129

Country South Korea

Director Bong Joon Ho

Producer Park Tae-joon, Seo Woo-sik

Writer Bong Joon Ho, Park Eun-kyo

Editor Moon Sae-kyoung

Cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo

Music Lee Byung-woo

Cast Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Jin Ku