Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Parasite – South Korea
Show Times: 6:30 & 8:50 pm
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong
Running Time: 131 minutes
Language: Korean with English subtitles
Rating: 14A (scenes of violence)
Six Oscar nominations including Best Picture; Cannes International Film Festival: Palm d’Or; Best Foreign Language Film: Golden Globes; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Kang-ho Song); New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Foreign Language Film; Toronto Film Critics Association Awards: Best Picture, Director, Foreign Language Film. 97 other wins, 165 nominations.
“Gloriously amoral tale of an unscrupulous poor family that connives its way into the mansion of a rich, gullible clan is very funny and very dark. Sure-handed and sly, with a moral compass that wavers as the tables turn.”—Jim Slotek, Original.Cin
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite is an overwhelming experience, taking viewers by surprise with how original and unusual it is. What begins as a clever social satire about the haves and have-nots in the world morphs into an ingenious (and violent) thriller with endless story twists.
At the outset, we meet the Kim family, who are barely scraping by, living in a crowded cellar on a filthy street and stealing a Wi-fi signal from their neighbour. They are accustomed to making do but aren’t happy about their situation. However, things start to brighten when the teenage son lucks into a tutoring job with the well-off Park family, teaching the spoiled oldest daughter and impressing the shallow mom.
The gullible mother is taken with her new tutor and asks if he knows someone who can help her indulged little son with art lessons. He just so happens to have such a candidate, but he simply chooses not to reveal that the new “art teacher” is his sister. Bit by bit, the Kim family insinuates itself into the Park household. This ultimately involves Dad as chauffeur betraying a strange odor that plays for easy laughs but there’s a price to be paid for such wrinkle-nosed condescension.
Parasite moves quickly from tone to another, mixing pathos and satire with thrills and drama, in a perfectly controlled blend of different genres. A vertical story of class struggle—literally punctuated by staircase scenes going from mouldy basements to glistening, ultra-contemporary ground floors—Parasite observes and dissects mostly with satirical surgical precision the life of two families of different social backgrounds, leavened by comedic moments. Simply beware of the rather startling, dark climax.
It’s funny, inventive, relevant, and full of surprises. One never knows what’s coming next.
Parasite has been enjoying box office success and effusive accolades and dozens of awards including the Cannes Palm d’Or and Golden Globe. Step into the entwined lives of the Kims and Parks to find out why.