Pros: characters; the structure of the film with plot twists that you don’t expect; inability to predict the ending Cons: it may be difficult for some to withstand more than two hours of screen time “Parasite” / Gisaengchung
Genre Drama, Comedy, Thriller
Directed by Bong Joon Ho
Cast: Song Kang Ho (Kim Ki Taek), Song Kyung Lee (Park Dong Yi), Cho Ye Jeong (Park Young Kyo), Woo Shik Choi (Ki Woo), Seo Dam Park (Ki Jeong), Park Seo Joon (Min Heck) and others.
Компании CJ E&M Film Financing & Investment Entertainment & Comics, CJ Entertainment, TMS Comics
Year of release 2019
Bong Joon Ho has been in cinema for about twenty years. His detective film “Memories of Murder” and the drama “Mother” are recognized even outside of Korea. Thanks to this material, which attracted attention with its dark and at the same time deep stories, the director later managed to attract famous Western actors to the filming. Thus, Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans starred in the post-apocalyptic thriller Snowpiercer. A few years later, Tilda again expressed a desire to work with Bong Joon Ho – she appeared in the science fiction film Okja, which was released on Netflix. What’s noteworthy is that Jake Gyllenhaal also wanted to work with the director, so he even agreed to a minor role.
But you won’t find anything in Parasite that reminds you of Okja. There is not a single Hollywood actor, no streaming service support and no computer graphics. In the new film, Bong Joon Ho returned to his native Korean realities. Nevertheless, the film was understood and accepted in Cannes. And this is not surprising, given how Asian cinema is confidently spreading around the world and finding great acceptance (by the way, the winner of the Cannes Film Festival last year was the film “Shoplifters” from the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda).
Undoubtedly, you will be able to appreciate all the subtleties of “Parasite” if you are already familiar with films from South Korea. There is something in the Korean communication culture that is missing, say, in Europe. However, you can understand the essence of the picture without preparation, because we are talking about human essence, which, as we know, is the same everywhere.
The film “Parasite” shows a family of four. This is a father named Kim Ki-taek, his wife and two adult children. They live in the basement and are looking for temporary income. The lack of prospects confirms the difficult economic situation in Korea, where, as a result of the lack of jobs, the unemployment rate is getting worse every year. However, there are those who feel confident in the future – this is Mr. Park’s wealthy family, which owns a huge house. One day, two different worlds of rich and poor intersect when Kim Ki Taek’s son gets the opportunity to get a job as a tutor for Park’s daughter. He forges educational documents and successfully passes the interview. Having gained access to the house, the guy quickly adapts and realizes that his loved ones could easily settle there too. To do this, he comes up with a deception scenario that should work on the weaknesses of the rich.
With such a simple premise, the film “Parasite” turns out to be a film whose ending is simply impossible to predict. If we talk about genre boundaries, then, oddly enough, they are not here. Bong Joon Ho directed a social tragicomedy, the mood of which changes along with the plot twists. The employment intrigue of Kim Ki-taek’s family is portrayed with a light-hearted humor that lies in the detailed actions of the characters. When they seem to achieve success, the atmosphere takes on the outlines of a thriller.
Director Bong Joon Ho juggles fun, tension and tragedy. It’s as if he gives time to decide on his attitude towards the main characters, and when everything becomes clear enough, he changes the rules of the game. Bong Joon Ho, in his own special way, talks about class inequality and the psychology of perception of those who do not have the most enviable economic status. He manages to revive a long-worn topic, and even do it in such a way that the film will be spinning in your head for a long time.
Bong Joon Ho pays special attention to the space in which his characters are located. With the help of cinematographer Khun Po Hong (who worked on the film “Burning”), he gives an opportunity to feel the cramped basement dwelling of a poor family. And then he plays with the contrast of a large house, where the cameraman takes close-ups that were simply impossible in a small apartment located underground.
At some point, the spacious house, which looks like a work of architectural art, begins to resemble a theater stage for dramatic action. This is facilitated by open areas and floor-to-ceiling windows, which deliberately do not hide what is happening behind the monumental walls. And the more space comes into view, the less we know about it.
The film’s curious ambivalence doesn’t just come from its plot or location. This is also the result of the excellent work of the cast (the most famous of the artists is Song Kang Ho – this is not the first time he has worked with director Bong Joon Ho). There is not a single character in the film whose role is not fully revealed. Each of them carries its own social connotation, and especially memorable is the son of Kim Ki-taek, who several times simply throws out the phrase “this is so metaphorical.” Everything is exactly like that.
Seeing the winner of the Cannes Film Festival in the cinema is worth it for those who are open not only to Hollywood films. It should be taken into account that “Parasite” is a film that will evoke completely different feelings among the audience in the audience. And this is very good. The film unconventionally raises the problem of class inequality and leads to an unexpected ending that you want to rethink after watching.
Parasite is one of Bong Joon Ho’s best films. There is no single genre; the film balances on the brink of comedy, drama and thriller, so it is extremely interesting to watch.