Parasite (2019 film)
South Korean theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bong Joon-ho|
|Story by||Bong Joon-ho|
|Music by||Jeong Jae-il|
|Edited by||Yang Jin-mo|
Barunson E&A Corp
|Box office||$119.5 million|
Parasite (Korean: 기생충; Hanja: 寄生蟲; RR: Gisaengchung) is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho, who also wrote the film's story and co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. The film stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam, and follows a young man from a poor household who begins to tutor a rich family's daughter. Alongside his parents and sister, he slowly starts to infiltrate their personal lives.
Parasite had its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2019, where it won the Palme d'Or, becoming the first Korean film to receive the award and the first film to do so with a unanimous vote since 2013's Blue Is the Warmest Colour. It was selected as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.
The film was released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment on 30 May 2019, and in the rest of the world by Neon in late-2019. It received widespread critical acclaim and earned $119 million worldwide, becoming Bong's highest-grossing release.
Kim Ki-taek, his wife Chung-sook, son Ki-woo, and daughter Ki-jeong live in a small semi-basement apartment, working low-paying jobs and struggling to make ends meet. Ki-woo's friend Min-hyuk, who is preparing to study abroad, gifts the Kim family with a scholar's rock which is supposed to bring them wealth. He suggests Ki-woo pose as a university student to take over Min-hyuk's job as an English tutor for the daughter of the wealthy Park family, Da-hye. Once Ki-woo is hired, the Kims all pose as sophisticated skilled workers, unrelated to each other, and integrate themselves into the lives of the Parks: Ki-woo begins a romantic relationship with Da-hye; Ki-jeong poses as an art therapist and is hired to teach youngest son Da-song; Ki-taek is hired as a chauffeur after Mr. Park's driver is fired when Ki-jeong frames him for having sex in the car; and Chung-sook is hired to replace the current housekeeper, Moon-gwang, after the Kims exploit her allergy to peaches, claiming that she has tuberculosis.
When the Parks leave on a camping trip, the Kims occupy the mansion, revelling in its luxuries. That night, Moon-gwang returns, claiming that she left something in the basement. She opens a secret bunker, revealing that her husband, Geun-sae, has lived there for years to hide from loan sharks. As she begs Chung-sook to keep their secret, the eavesdropping Kims accidentally stumble into view. Moon-gwang threatens to expose their scam after realizing they are a family, leading to a fight.
The Parks suddenly call, informing Chung-sook that heavy rain has ruined the trip and that they are arriving home shortly. The Kims force Geun-sae and Moon-gwang into the bunker; Moon-gwang attempts to escape, but is kicked down the stairs by Chung-sook and suffers a fatal head injury. When the Parks return, Mrs. Park tells Chung-sook that her son was traumatized years earlier by seeing a "ghost" emerge from the basement: Geun-sae. With the other three Kims hiding nearby, Mr. Park complains to his wife that while Ki-taek is a competent driver, he smells poor. The three Kims leave the mansion undetected, but find their apartment flooded by the rain.
The following day, Mrs. Park throws a birthday party for Da-song and invites the staff. Ki-woo returns to the bunker to pass the scholar's rock along, but is ambushed by Geun-sae, who hits him over the head with the rock. Geun-sae escapes and rushes into the party, where he stabs Ki-jeong in the chest. Geun-sae's sudden appearance triggers Da-song's traumatic memory, causing a seizure. As Ki-taek rushes to help Ki-jeong, Mr. Park yells at him to drive Da-song to the hospital. Ki-taek throws him the car keys, which land under the struggling Chung-sook and Geun-sae. Chung-sook manages to kill Geun-sae with a meat skewer. As Mr. Park retrieves the keys, he recoils from Geun-sae's smell. Ki-taek, witnessing Mr. Park's reaction to the smell, fatally stabs him before fleeing.
Weeks later, Ki-woo awakens from a coma and is sentenced along with Chung-sook to probation for fraud; Ki-jeong died from her stab wound, while the whereabouts of Ki-taek, who is wanted for Mr. Park's murder, are unknown. While watching the Parks' recently sold mansion, Ki-woo notices a light flickering in Morse code – a SKATS message from Ki-taek, who now lives in the bunker. Ki-woo vows to one day earn enough money to purchase the mansion and free his father.
- Song Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek
- Jang Hye-jin as Kim Chung-sook, Ki-taek's wife
- Choi Woo-shik as Kim Ki-woo, Ki-taek's son
- Park So-dam as Kim Ki-jeong, Ki-taek's daughter
- Lee Sun-kyun as Park Dong-ik, CEO of an IT company
- Cho Yeo-jeong as Choi Yeon-gyo, Dong-ik's wife
- Jung Ji-so as Park Da-hye, Dong-ik's daughter
- Jung Hyun-joon as Park Da-song, Dong-ik's son
- Lee Jung-eun as Gook Moon-gwang
- Park Myung-hoon as Geun-sae
- Park Geun-Rok as Chauffeur Yoon
- Jung Yi-seo as Pizzeria manager
- Park Seo-joon as Min-hyuk
The Parks' house, said in the film to be designed by a fictional architect named Namgoong Hyeonja, was an entirely newly-built set. Production designer Lee Ha-joon said the sun was an important factor with building the outdoor set. "The sun's direction was a crucial point of consideration while we were searching for outdoor lots," explained Lee. "We had to remember the sun’s position during our desired time frame and determine the positions and sizes of the windows accordingly. In terms of practical lighting, the DP [Hong Kyung Pyo] had specific requests regarding the color. He wanted sophisticated indirect lighting and the warmth from tungsten light sources. Before building the set, the DP and I visited the lot several times to check the sun’s movement at each time, and we decided on the set’s location together."
"Since Mr. Park's house is built by an architect in the story, it wasn't easy finding the right approach to designing the house," he added. "I'm not an architect, and I think there's a difference in how an architect envisions a space and how a production designer does. We prioritize blocking and camera angles while architects build spaces for people to actually live in and thus design around people. So I think the approach is very different."
Neon acquired the North American rights to the film at the 2018 American Film Market (AFM). The film's rights were also pre-sold to German-speaking territories (Koch Films), French-speaking territories (The Jokers Films) and Japan (Bitters End). It was released in Russia on 4 July 2019, and in the United States and Canada on 11 October 2019.
The film was originally scheduled to be screened as a closing film at FIRST International Film Festival Xining in China on 28 July 2019, but on 27 July, the film festival organizers announced that the screening was cancelled for "technical reasons."
As of 19 November 2019[update], Parasite has grossed $14.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $105.1 million in other territories (including $70 million from South Korea), for a worldwide total of $119.5 million.
In the film's United States opening weekend, the film grossed $376,264 from three theaters. Its per-venue average of $125,421 was the best since La La Land's in 2016, and the best-ever for a foreign-language film. It expanded to 33 theaters in its second weekend, October 18–20, making $1.24 million, and then made $1.8 million from 129 theaters in its third.
The film grossed US$20.7 million in its opening weekend in South Korea.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 99% based on 281 reviews, with an average rating of 9.4/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 95 out of 100 based on 47 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." As of the 17th of November, 2019 it's also the highest rated film on Letterboxd, a position previously held by The Godfather.
Writing for the New York Times, A.O. Scott described the film as "wildly entertaining, the kind of smart, generous, aesthetically energized movie that obliterates the tired distinctions between art films and popcorn movies." Bilge Ebiri of NY Mag wrote that Parasite is "a work that is itself in a state of constant, agitated transformation—a nerve-racking masterpiece whose spell lingers long after its haunting final image."  In his five-star review of the film, Dave Calhoun of Time Out praised the social commentary and stated that "This is a dazzling work, surprising and fully gripping from beginning to end, full of big bangs and small wonders." Variety's Jessica Kiang described the film as "a wild, wild ride," writing that "Bong is back and on brilliant form, but he is unmistakably, roaringly furious, and it registers because the target is so deserving, so enormous, so 2019: Parasite is a tick fat with the bitter blood of class rage." The A.V. Club's A. A. Dowd gave the film an A−, praising the fun and surprising twists.
Parasite won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It was the first South Korean film to do so as well as the first film to do so with a unanimous vote since 2013's Blue Is the Warmest Colour. It was selected as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|AACTA Awards||4 December 2019||Best Asian Film||Bong Joon-ho, Young-Hwan Jang, Yang-kwon Moon, Kwak Sin-ae||Pending|||
|Asia Pacific Screen Awards||21 November 2019||Best Feature Film||Pending|||
|Cannes Film Festival||25 May 2019||Palme d'Or||Bong Joon-ho||Won|||
|Blue Dragon Film Awards||21 November 2019||Best Film||Parasite||Pending|||
|Best Director||Bong Joon-ho||Pending|
|Best Actor||Song Kang-ho||Pending|
|Best Actress||Cho Yeo-jeong||Pending|
|Best Supporting Actor||Park Myung-hoon||Pending|
|Best Supporting Actress||Lee Jung-eun||Pending|
|Best Screenplay||Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won||Pending|
|Best Cinematography and Lighting||Hong Kyung-pyo, Kim Chang-ho||Pending|
|Best Editing||Yang Jin-mo||Pending|
|Best Music||Jung Jae-il||Pending|
|Best Art Direction||Lee Ha-joon||Pending|
|British Independent Film Awards||1 December 2019||Best International Independent Film||Bong Joon-ho, Young-Hwan Jang, Yang-kwon Moon, Kwak Sin-ae||Pending|||
|Buil Film Awards||4 October 2019||Best Film||Parasite||Won|||
|Best Director||Bong Joon-ho||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Choi Woo-shik||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Cho Yeo-jeong||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Park Myung-hoon||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Lee Jung-eun||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Hong Kyung-pyo||Won|
|Best Music||Jung Jae-il||Won|
|Best Art Direction||Lee Ha-joon||Nominated|
|Chunsa Film Art Awards||18 July 2019||Best Director||Bong Joon-ho||Won|||
|Best Actor||Choi Woo-shik||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Cho Yeo-jeong||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Park Myung-hoon||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Lee Jung-eun||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won||Won|
|Crested Butte Film Festival||29 September 2019||Best Narrative Film||Parasite||Won|||
|Fantastic Fest||26 September 2019||Audience Award||Won|
|Hollywood Film Awards||3 November 2019||Hollywood Filmmaker Award||Won|||
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||20 November 2019||Best Original Score in a Feature Film||Jung Jae-il||Pending|||
|Korean Association of Film Critics Awards||13 November 2019||Best Film||Parasite||Won|||
|Best Director||Bong Joon-ho||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Hong Kyung-pyo||Won|
|Top 10 Films of the Year||Parasite||Won|
|International Cinephile Society Cannes Awards||25 May 2019||Best Director||Bong Joon-ho||Won|||
|Munich International Film Festival||6 July 2019||Best International Film||Parasite||Nominated|
|San Sebastián International Film Festival||28 September 2019||FIPRESCI Film of the Year||Nominated|
|Sydney Film Festival||16 June 2019||Best Film||Won|||
|Tallgrass Film Festival||20 October 2019||Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking||Bong Joon-ho||Won|
|Toronto International Film Festival||15 September 2019||Grolsch People's Choice Award||Parasite||3rd Place|||
|International Film Festival Cinematik||15 September 2019||Audience Award||Won|||
|Vancouver International Film Festival||11 October 2019||Super Channel People's Choice Award||Won|||
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