- New Films
Jun 04, 2019
- Writerby Pierce Conran
2019 l 131 min l Drama
DIRECTOR BONG Joon-ho
CAST SONG Kang-ho, LEE Sun-kyun, JO Yeo-jeong, CHOI Woo-shik, PARK So-dam, JANG Hye-jin
RELEASE DATE May 30, 2019
CONTACT CJ Entertainment
Tel +82 2 371 9297
Fax +82 2 371 6346
In the last few years, few films have ridden in on the wave of anticipation that PARASITE has, the latest work by filmmaker BONG Joon-ho, and yet, despite these sky-high expectations, his new work has somehow managed to exceed them, as the film has garnered the cineaste some of the best reviews of his career, a new personal best opening weekend at the box office, and, of course, Korea’s first ever Palme d’Or triumph at the Cannes Film Festival.
Director BONG has pleaded both with Cannes viewers and local critics to keep the lid on the film’s many surprises, so we won’t reveal too many plot details here. Suffice it to say that SONG Kang-ho, working with BONG for the fourth time, following Memories Of Murder (2003), The Host (2006) and Snowpiercer (2013), plays Ki-taek, the father of the unemployed Kim family, who lives in a semi-basement apartment. His son, played by CHOI Woo-shik of Okja (2017), gets an opportunity to be an English tutor for the daughter of the wealthy CEO Park (LEE Sun-kyun) and his wife (JO Yeo-jeong), who live in a designer home in the hills, and before long these two families from opposite sides of the tracks begin to converge in the most unusual of ways.
As critics in Cannes were quick to note, PARASITE is a film whose chief concern is social inequality, a theme that runs through almost every element of the story. From the two families, each of which features a husband, wife, daughter and son, to the homes they reside in and the windows they look out through, the film is teeming with mirror images which reinforce the stark social divides of society, seemingly with little in the way of a middle ground.
BONG’s sympathies may seem to lay with the Kim family, which in many ways resembles the close-knit family at the heart of The Host (2006), but his depiction of the Parks is also far from negative. They seem pleasant and kind, though the station afforded by their wealth has perhaps dulled their primal instinct for survival, a trait richly evident within the Kim family.
For cinematographer HONG Kyeong-pyo, PARASITE marks a second consecutive Cannes competition selection, following LEE Chang-dong’s BURNING (2018) last year. Always in aid of the story, HONG’s lensing is precise and evocative as it makes the most out of the extraordinary sets designed by LEE Ha-joon. Meanwhile JUNG Jae-il provides a score that nimbly veers from baroque strings to playful piano melodies.
Beyond the actors he’s already worked with, such as SONG, CHOI and LEE Jung-eun (Mother, 2009), who is sensational in a supporting role as the housekeeper of the Park abode, PARASITE benefits from stellar performances all around, as the various actors within each family share considerable chemistry.
Throughout his career, Director BONG has always maintained an ability to surprise, but with rich humor and relatable films, audiences have kept returning for his particularly blend of thrills and delight. PARASITE proves to be no exception and whenever he returns with an eighth film, one can scarcely imagine the fever pitch of anticipation that will accompany it.