Parasite (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bong Joon-ho|
|Story by||Bong Joon-ho|
|Music by||Jung Jae-il|
|Edited by||Yang Jin-mo|
|Distributed by||CJ Entertainment|
|Box office||$264.3 million|
Parasite (Korean: 기생충; RR: Gisaengchung) is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. It stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin, and Lee Jung-eun and follows the members of a poor family who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family by infiltrating their household and posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.
Parasite premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2019, where it became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d'Or. It was then released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment on 30 May 2019. The film received nearly unanimous critical acclaim and is considered by many critics to be the best film of 2019 and one of the best of the 2010s. It is also the 42nd highest rated film of all time on Metacritic. It grossed over $264 million worldwide on a production budget of about $11 million, becoming the highest-grossing South Korean film.
Among its numerous accolades, Parasite won a leading four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film, becoming the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, the first South Korean film to be nominated, and the second film produced by an Asian country to be nominated since 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, produced by China.[note 1]
It was also the first South Korean film to receive Academy Award recognition, and the first film since 1955's Marty (and third film overall) to win both the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language, and became the first non-English film to win the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. At the 56th Grand Bell Awards, Parasite earned a leading 11 nominations with 5 awards (the most for the show) to its name.
The Kim family—father Ki-taek, mother Chung-sook, daughter Ki-jung and son Ki-woo—live in a small semi-basement apartment (banjiha), have low-paying temporary jobs as pizza box folders, and struggle to make ends meet. University student Min-hyuk, a friend of Ki-woo's, gives the family a scholar's rock meant to promise wealth. Leaving to study abroad, he suggests that Ki-woo take over his job as an English tutor for the daughter of the wealthy Park family, Da-hye. Ki-woo poses as a university student and is hired by the Parks.
The Kim family recommends one another as unrelated and highly qualified workers to take over as servants of the Parks. Ki-woo tutors and seduces Da-hye. Ki-jung poses as "Jessica", an art therapist to the Parks' young son, Da-song. Ki-jung frames Mr. Park's chauffeur for having sex in the car, by leaving her underwear there, and Ki-taek is hired to replace him. Finally, Chung-sook takes over as the Parks' housekeeper after the Kims exploit the peach allergy of the long-time housekeeper, Moon-gwang, to convince Mrs. Park that she has tuberculosis.
When the Parks leave on a camping trip, the Kims revel in the luxuries of the Park residence. Moon-gwang appears at the door, telling Chung-sook she has left something in the house's basement. She enters a hidden entrance to an underground bunker created by the house's architect and previous owner, where Moon-gwang's husband, Geun-sae, has been secretly living for over four years, hiding from loan sharks. Chung-sook refuses Moon-gwang's pleas to help Geun-sae remain in the bunker, but the eavesdropping Kims accidentally reveal themselves. Moon-gwang films them and threatens to send the video to the Parks.
A severe rainstorm brings the Parks home early, and the Kims scramble to clean up the home before the Parks return, while a brawl breaks out between Moon-gwang, Geun-sae, and the Kims. The Kims trap Geun-sae and a mortally wounded Moon-gwang in the bunker. Mrs. Park reveals to Chung-sook that Da-song had a seizure-inducing traumatic experience on a previous birthday, when he saw a "ghost" (Geun-sae) emerging from the basement. The Kims manage to sneak out of the Parks' house, but not before hearing Mr. Park's off-handed comments about how Ki-taek smells bad. They find their home flooded with sewer water and are forced to shelter in a gymnasium with other displaced people.
The next day, Mrs. Park hosts a house party for Da-song's birthday with the Kim family's help. Ki-woo enters the bunker with the scholar's rock to face Geun-sae. Finding Moon-gwang dead, he is attacked by Geun-sae, who bludgeons him in the head with the rock and escapes, leaving Ki-woo lying in a pool of blood outside the entrance to the bunker. Seeking to avenge Moon-gwang, Geun-sae stabs Ki-jung with a kitchen knife in front of the horrified guests. Da-song suffers another seizure upon seeing Geun-sae, and a struggle breaks out until Chung-sook fatally impales Geun-sae with a barbecue skewer. While Ki-taek tends to a severely bleeding Ki-jung, Mr. Park orders him to drive Da-song to the hospital. In the chaos, Ki-taek, upon seeing Mr. Park's disgusted reaction to Geun-sae's smell, takes the knife and kills Mr. Park. Ki-taek then flees the scene, leaving his dying daughter on the lawn.
Weeks later Ki-woo wakes up after brain surgery. He and Chung-sook are convicted of fraud and put on probation. Ki-jung died and Ki-taek, wanted by the police for Mr. Park's murder, has vanished. Geun-sae has been assumed to be a homeless man, and neither his nor Ki-taek's motive for the stabbings are known. Ki-woo spies on the Parks' home, sold to a German family unaware of its history, and sees a message in Morse code from a flickering light. It is from Ki-taek, who escaped into the bunker via the garage. He now raids the refrigerator at night, had buried Moon-gwang in the backyard, and has been flicking the light every day, hoping Ki-woo will see it. Still living in the basement apartment with his mother, Ki-woo writes a letter to Ki-taek, vowing to earn enough money to one day purchase the house, and reunite with his father.
- Song Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek (Mr. Kim; 김기택; Gim Gitaek), father of the Kim family
- Lee Sun-kyun as Park Dong-ik (Nathan; 박동익; Bak Dongik), father of the Park family
- Cho Yeo-jeong as Choi Yeon-gyo (Madame; 최연교; Choe Yeongyo), mother of the Park family
- Choi Woo-shik as Kim Ki-woo (Kevin; 김기우; Gim Giu), son of the Kim family
- Park So-dam as Kim Ki-jung (Jessica; 김기정; Gim Gijeong), daughter of the Kim family
- Lee Jung-eun as Gook Moon-gwang (국문광; Guk Mungwang), the housekeeper
- Jang Hye-jin as Chung-sook (박충숙; Bak Chungsuk), mother of the Kim family
- Park Myung-hoon as Oh Geun-sae (오근세; O Geunse), Moon-gwang's husband
- Jung Ji-so as Park Da-hye (박다혜; Bak Dahye), daughter of the Park family
- Jung Hyeon-jun as Park Da-song (박다송; Bak Dasong), son of the Park family
- Park Geun-rok as Yoon (윤; Yun), Kim Ki-taek's predecessor as Park Dong-ik's chauffeur
- Park Seo-joon as Min-hyuk (민혁; Minhyeok), Ki-woo's friend (cameo)
The idea for Parasite originated in 2013. While working on Snowpiercer, Bong was encouraged by a theatre actor friend to write a play. He had been a tutor for the son of a wealthy family in Seoul in his early 20s, and considered turning his experience into a stage production. The film's title, Parasite, was selected by Bong as it served a double meaning, which he had to convince the film's marketing group to use. Bong said "Because the story is about the poor family infiltrating and creeping into the rich house, it seems very obvious that Parasite refers to the poor family, and I think that's why the marketing team was a little hesitant. But if you look at it the other way, you can say that rich families, they're also parasites in terms of labor. They can't even wash dishes, they can't drive themselves, so they leech off the poor family's labor. So both are parasites."
After completing Snowpiercer, Bong wrote a 15-page film treatment for the first half of Parasite, which his production assistant on Snowpiercer, Han Jin-won, turned into three different drafts of the screenplay. After finishing Okja, Bong returned to the project and finished the script; Han received credit as a co-writer.
Bong said the film was influenced by the 1960 Korean "domestic Gothic" film The Housemaid in which a middle-class family's stability is threatened by the arrival of a disruptive interloper in the form of household help. The incident of Christine and Léa Papin—two live-in maids who murdered their employers in 1930s France—also served as a source of inspiration to Bong. Bong also considered his own past, where he had tutored for a rich family. Bong said "I got this feeling that I was infiltrating the private lives of complete strangers. Every week I would go into their house, and I thought how fun it would be if I could get all my friends to infiltrate the house one by one." Additionally, the element of Moon-gwang having an allergy to peaches was inspired by one of Bong's university friends having this allergy, as Bong confirmed in a Reddit AMA. Another notable character element comes from Ki-woo and his inability to perform well in university examinations. Choi Woo-shik, who plays Ki-woo, stated that the character is intelligent, yet he does not have the "vigor" needed to succeed in examinations. Ki-woo himself tells Da-hye that she needs that quality to pass examinations.
Darcy Paquet, an American residing in South Korea, served as translator for the English subtitles and worked directly with Bong. Paquet rendered Jjapaguri or Chapaguri (짜파구리), a dish cooked by a character in the film, as ram-don, meaning ramen-udon. It is a mix of Chapagetti and Neoguri produced by Nongshim. The English version of the film shows packages labelled in English "ramyeon" and "udon" to highlight to English speakers how the name was created. Paquet believed the word ram-don did not previously exist as he found no results on Google. On one occasion, Paquet used Oxford University as a reference instead of Yonsei University, and in another, used WhatsApp as the messaging application instead of KakaoTalk. Paquet chose Oxford over Harvard University because of Bong's affinity for the United Kingdom, and because Paquet believed using Harvard would be "too obvious a choice." Paquet wrote, "[I]n order for humor to work, people need to understand it immediately. With an unfamiliar word, the humor is lost."
Principal photography for Parasite began on 18 May 2018, and ended 124 days later on 19 September 2018. Filming took place around Seoul and in Jeonju. The director of photography for the film is Hong Kyung-pyo.
The Parks' house
The Parks' house was a specially constructed set. The first floor and the garden were constructed on an empty outdoor lot, while the basement and second floor were constructed on set. "We built the main floor of the house in a backlot and for the second floor it was all green screen outside," explained editor Yang Jin-mo. "When we shot toward the outside from inside, everything beyond the garden was all VFX."
Bong, as part of the scripting, had also designed the basic layout of this home. "It's like its own universe inside this film. Each character and each team has spaces that they take over that they can infiltrate, and also secret spaces that they don't know of." A fictional architect Namgoong Hyeonja had been introduced as the home's designer and the previous owner before the Parks, and production designer Lee Ha-jun considered the function and form of the house based on how Namgoong would have designed it. The Parks' house was designed and constructed to not only be a beautiful house, but also "a stage that served the precise needs of his camera, compositions, and characters, while embodying his film's rich themes."
Lee said, "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...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." For example, Ha-jun established that Namgoong would have used the first floor's living room to appreciate the garden, so it was built with a single wide window and only spartan seating options for this function. Some of the interior artwork in the house sets were by South Korea artist Seung-mo Park, including existing artwork of hers and some explicitly created for the film. Further, design of the home and of its interiors were aimed to make the set amenable for filming at the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, favouring wide and deeper rooms rather than height.
Lee said the sun was an important factor when 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 [director of photography 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 each time, and we decided on the set's location together."
The Kims' apartment
The Kims' semi-basement apartment and its street was also built on set, partially out of necessity for filming the flooding scenes. Lee Ha-jun visited and photographed several abandoned villages and towns in South Korea scheduled to be torn down to help inform the set design. He also created stories for the Kims' neighbours and added details of those residents along the street to improve the authenticity of the street's appearance.
According to editor Yang Jin-mo, Bong Joon-ho chose to shoot the film without traditional coverage. To give them more editing options with limited shots, they sometimes stitched together different takes of the same shot.
The principal release and editing of the film was done for release in color. A black and white version of the film was produced prior to the world premiere in Cannes and debuted on 26 January 2020 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and was re-screened from 29 to 31 January. It also received a limited release in some countries.
|Parasite: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||30 May 2019|
|Singles from Parasite: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
The film's score was written by South Korean composer Jung Jae-il, who also wrote the score for Bong Joon-ho's 2017 film Okja. Jung's music for Parasite consists of "minimalist piano pieces, punctuated with light percussion," which sets the film's "tense atmosphere." Excerpts from Handel's opera Rodelinda and the 1964 Italian song "In ginocchio da te" by Gianni Morandi also appear in the film.
The end credits song "Soju han jan" (Korean: 소주 한 잔, lit. 'A glass of soju'; not to be confused with an unrelated song with same Korean title by Im Chang-jung) was written by Bong and is performed by Choi Woo-shik, who also played the main character Ki-woo. It is displayed in English as "Soju One Glass" [sic] in the international digital releases of the soundtrack. When the song made it to the December 2019 shortlist for the 92nd Academy Awards in the Best Original Song category, it was listed under a grammatically correct English title, "A Glass of Soju".
The English titles of the scores listed below are as displayed in the back cover of the album and in the international digital releases of the soundtrack; the romanisation of names and nouns used are slightly different from those seen in the official English subtitles as translated by Darcy Paquet.
|1.||"Opening" (시작, 'Start')||2:07|
|2.||"Conciliation I" (첫번째 알선, 'First conciliation')||1:04|
|3.||"On the Way to Rich House" (부잣집 가는 길, 'On the way to the house of a wealthy family')||0:55|
|4.||"Conciliation II" (두번째 알선, 'Second conciliation')||1:10|
|5.||"Plum Juice" (매실청, Maesilcheong)||0:55|
|6.||"Mr. Yoon and Park" (윤기사와 박사장, 'Chauffeur Yoon and President Park')||1:51|
|7.||"Conciliation III" (세번째 알선, 'Third conciliation')||1:17|
|8.||"The Belt of Faith" (믿음의 벨트, 'Chain of trust')||7:13|
|9.||"Moon Gwang Left" (떠나는 문광, 'Moon-gwang leaving')||0:56|
|11.||"The Hellgate" (지옥의 문, 'Gate of Hell')||1:15|
|12.||"Heartrending Story of Bubu" (부부의 사연, 'Story of a married couple')||1:35|
|13.||"Zappaguri" (짜파구리, Jjapaguri[a])||1:47|
|15.||"The Family is Busy" (첫번째 동분서주, 'First busyness')||1:09|
|16.||"Busy to Survive" (두번째 동분서주, 'Second busyness')||1:53|
|17.||"The Frontal Lobe of Ki Taek" (기택의 전두엽)||2:42|
|18.||"Water, Ocean" (물바다, 'Flood')||4:41|
|19.||"Water, Ocean Again" (또 물바다, 'Flood again')||1:36|
|20.||"It Is Sunday Morning" (일요일 아침, 'Sunday morning')||4:03|
|21.||"Blood and Sword" (피와 칼, 'Blood and knife')||3:02|
|22.||"Yasan" (야산, 'Hillock')||1:15|
|24.||"Ending" (끝, 'End')||0:53|
|25.||"Soju One Glass" (소주 한 잔, 'A glass of soju'; performed by Choi Woo-shik)||3:20|
Themes and interpretations
The main themes of Parasite are class conflict, social inequality and wealth disparity. Film critics and Bong Joon-ho himself have considered the film as a reflection of late-stage capitalism, and some have associated it with the term "Hell Joseon" (Korean: 헬조선), a phrase which has become popular, especially with young people, in 2015 to describe the difficulties of life in South Korea. This term came out because of the youth-unemployment due to high education and the crisis of home affordability happening in South Korea. The film also analyses the use of "connections" to get ahead, for rich and poor families alike.
Critics have also considered the themes of colonialism and imperialism. According to Ju-Hyun Park, the film plays out within "the capitalist economic order inaugurated and upheld in Korea by colonial occupation," and the use of English language in the film denotes prestige within that economic system. The Park family's son, Da-song, is obsessed with "Indians" and owns Native American-themed toys and inauthentic replicas. Bong has noted that "the Native Americans have a very complicated and long, deep history. But in this family, that story is reduced to a young boy's hobby and decoration... That's what happens in our current time: The context and meaning behind these actual things only exists as a surface-level thing."
Bong has referred to Parasite as an upstairs/downstairs or "stairway movie", in which staircases are used as a motif to represent the positions of the Kim and Park families as well as those of Moon-gwang. The semi-basement apartment that the Kims live in are common for poorer Seoul residents due to their low rent prices, despite having several issues such as mold and increased risk of disease. Monsoon floods such as the one depicted in the film commonly damage these types of residences the most.
According to Bong, the ending implies that Ki-woo will not be able to earn the funds needed to buy the house as it shows Ki-woo while still in the basement; he described this shot as a "surefire kill" (확인사살), referring to a coup de grace to ensure death. The ending song, translating to "546 years", refers to Ki-woo working to make money to get the house. Its title is an allegory that is a calculation made by Bong that it will take approximately 546 years for Ki-woo to finally earn the amount of money to purchase the house; Choi Woo-shik stated that "I'm pretty sure Ki-woo is one of those bright kids. He'll come up with some idea, and he would just go into the German family's house, and I think he will rescue his father." According to many interpretations, this dream subscribes to a bootstrapping mentality and is unlikely to be achieved; furthermore, "it does not address the fundamental problem at hand. Even in this fantasy scenario, Ki-taek would still be contained in the house by a legal system that would seek his prosecution and imprisonment. The forces that created and upheld the Kim family's separation would not be undone, merely adapted to."
Neon acquired the North American rights to the film at the 2018 American Film Market. The film's rights were also pre-sold to German-speaking territories (Koch Films), French-speaking territories (The Jokers) and Japan (Bitters End). The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May. It was released in South Korea on 30 May 2019.
It was released in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Films on 27 June 2019 (becoming both the highest-ever-grossing Korean film in the region and the distributor's highest-ever-grossing non-English-language film in Australia), 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."
It was licensed for the United Kingdom and Ireland by Curzon Artificial Eye at Cannes, and had preview screenings in cinemas nationwide with an interview with Bong Joon-ho shared live by satellite on 3 February 2020, followed by the film's general release on 7 February.
Neon expanded the number of North American theaters showing the film from 1,060 to 2,001 starting the weekend of 14 February 2020, following the film's recognition at the Academy Awards, despite the film having already been released on home video in the region. A special IMAX remaster was shown at limited North American theaters during the week of 21 February 2020.
On 28 January 2020, Parasite was released on Blu-ray Disc in Region A and DVD in Region 1 by Neon, with distribution by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. On 13 February 2020, it was announced that the film will be released on home media by The Criterion Collection. On July 15, 2020, The Criterion Collection announced the release date of October 27, 2020, featuring the long-awaited black and white version. On 24 February 2020, the subscription-based streaming service Hulu announced that it had secured exclusive rights to stream the film in the United States, starting on 8 April 2020. Additionally, Amazon Prime Video began streaming the film outside of the United States on 28 March 2020.
A special monochrome version of the film, Parasite: Black-and-White Edition, has its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January 2020 and was released in cinemas in some cites in the United States beginning the same month.
It was released on July 24, 2020 in the United Kingdom and Ireland by Curzon Artificial Eye in cinemas and on demand simultaneously, and will be released on October 27, 2020 in the United States and Canada by the Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, as part of their special edition rerelease. The black and white transfer of the film was overseen by director Bong Joon-ho and cinematographer Hong Gyeong-pyo.
Parasite grossed $53.48 million in the United States and Canada, and $213.5 million in other territories (including $71.19 million from South Korea), for a worldwide total of $266.9 million. It set a new record for Bong, becoming the first of his films to gross over $100 million worldwide. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $46.2 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.
In the film's United States opening weekend, the film grossed $376,264 from three theatres. Its per-venue average of $125,421 was the best since La La Land's in 2016, and the best ever for an international film. It expanded to 33 theatres in its second weekend, making $1.24 million, and then made $1.8 million from 129 theatres in its third. The film made $2.5 million in its fourth weekend and $2.6 million in its fifth. The film's initial theatre count peaked in its sixth weekend at 620, when it made $1.9 million. It continued to hold well in the following weekends, making $1.3 million and $1 million.
In its tenth week of release the film crossed the $20 million mark (rare for an international film), making $632,500 from 306 theatres. During the weekend of the Oscars, the film made $1.5 million from 1,060 theatres for a running total of $35.5 million. After Neon's doubling of theatre showings in the week following the Academy Awards, the film made $5.5 million in North American revenue, making it one of the biggest Best Picture bumps since Slumdog Millionaire in 2009 and the biggest in ten years.
In its native South Korea, Parasite grossed US$20.7 million on its opening weekend, and would close its box office run with US$72.2 million and more than 10 million admissions, roughly one-fifth of the country's population and ranking among the year's top five films. On 5 February, Parasite became the first Korean film in nearly 15 years that surpassed one million moviegoers in Japan. In the UK, it broke the record for the opening weekend of a non-English-language film, making £1.4 million ($1.8 million) including previews over its debut weekend, from 135 screens, and in Australia it took in over $1.9 million. In the weekend following its Oscars wins, the film made $12.8 million from 43 countries, bringing its international total to $161 million, and its global running gross over the $200 million mark.
Following its Academy Awards success, Parasite received significant rescreening for both domestic and international audiences, generating significant further revenue. The Associated Press reported the biggest "Oscar effect" since 2001 after Gladiator won the Oscar for Best Picture. Parasite's box office revenue increased by more than 230% compared to the prior week, grossing $2.15 million in a single day. It also ranked No. 1 in Japan, the first Korean film to do so in 15 years. The Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia announced that $749K worth of cinema tickets were sold in a single weekend, with the film re-entering the top 10 at the local box office more than six months after it debuted in Australian cinemas. Parasite also surged back to fourth place in South Korea's box office by attracting more than 80,000 viewers.
Rotten Tomatoes reported that 99% of 447 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews, with an average rating of 9.37/10. 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 compiled 52 reviews from critics and identified all of them as positive. Based on the reviews, it assigned a weighted average score of 96 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim."
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 New York magazine 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 awarded the film an A− grade, praising the fun and surprising twists. Joshua Rivera from GQ gave a glowing review and declared Parasite to be "Maybe 2019's best film", further adding, "It's so top-to-bottom satisfying that even being completely spoiled couldn't ruin it – but if you can come to it cold, you'll be floored."
Michael Wood writing for the London Review of Books found the film to follow a theme of class consciousness to be consistent with the director's previous film Snowpiercer stating, "The theme of social ascent, or social difference as a landscape, could hardly be more obvious, but we are beginning to get the movie's idea: not to avoid stereotypes but to keep crashing into them". UK film website TheShiznit gave the film an A, noting "it makes you wonder what the inflection point for such behaviour is in a culture where manners and servitude are drilled into those who can't afford not to have them".
Parasite ranked 1st in a survey conducted by IndieWire of over 300 critics, in the Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Foreign Film categories. Parasite appeared on over 240 critics' year-end top-ten lists, including 77 who ranked the film first. On Metacritic, Parasite was rated as the best film of 2019 and ranked 7th among the films with the highest scores of the decade. As of 28 December 2019[update], it is the 40th highest-rated film of all time on the website.
Parasite won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It became the first South Korean film to do so, as well as the first film to win with a unanimous vote since Blue Is the Warmest Colour at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, the film was nominated for three awards, including Best Director and Best Screenplay, and won Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the first ever South Korean film to achieve that feat.
It became the second international film to ever be nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture since Life Is Beautiful (1997), and ultimately won the category, making it the first international film to win the prize. Parasite was also nominated for four awards at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards—Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Not in the English Language. It became the first South Korean film to receive nominations at the British Academy Film Awards (except for Best Film Not in the English Language), and went on to win Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Not in the English Language.
Parasite was submitted as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film for the 92nd Academy Awards, making the December shortlist. It went on to win four awards—Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. Parasite became the first non-English language film in Academy Awards history to win Best Picture. Parasite also became the first South Korean film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and the second East Asian film to receive a nomination for Best Picture since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), and Bong Joon-ho became the fourth Asian to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, becoming the second to win following Ang Lee. It also received nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Production Design. The film is also the second film to win both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Palme d'Or at Cannes under the latter's name in 65 years since Marty, being the third film to win both grand prizes after the former and The Lost Weekend.
At the 56th Grand Bell Awards, Parasite earned a leading 11 nominations with 5 awards (the most for the show) to its name. It won for Best Film, Best Director (for Bong Joon Ho), Best Supporting Actress (for Lee Jung-eun), Best Screenplay (for Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin-Won), and Best Music (for Jung Jae-il).
During Bong Joon-ho's acceptance speech at the Oscars, he paused to thank Martin Scorsese, a co-nominated director, whom Bong recognised as having historical importance to the history of filmmaking which resulted in spontaneous applause from the audience in recognition of Scorsese during his speech. The following day Scorsese sent the director a personal congratulatory letter which Bong reported while on a speaking engagement at the Lincoln Center Film Society where Bong stated that he could not share the full letter from Scorsese due to its personal nature. He did, however, share the conclusion of the letter by stating that Scorsese told him that "You've done well. Now rest. But don't rest for too long." Bong then added that Scorsese ended his letter by stating "how he and other directors were waiting for my (Bong's) next movie."
The Associated Press commented that although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) had previously failed to adequately recognise women filmmakers in the Academy Award nominations, this time it acknowledged diversity. The AP noted that the film's victory, because of its being an Oscar-winning foreign film in a regular Academy category, opens the door for Hollywood to undergo a radical change and a different kind of advancement. The Wall Street Journal also stated that the film seemed to promise a "more inclusive Oscars" demanded by those who have previously criticised AMPAS.
Spin-off television series
An HBO limited series based on the film, with Bong and Adam McKay as executive producers, is in early development. Bong has stated that the series, also titled Parasite, will explore stories "that happen in between the sequences in the film".
Plans for tourist set
A South Korean local government (Goyang City) plans to restore the Goyang Aqua Special Shooting Studio set, where the film Parasite was produced, and use it as a Parasite movie experience tourism facility. In addition, Goyang City has announced that it will invest $150 million in the development of the Goyang Film Culture Complex by 2026 to accommodate film experience tourism facilities, additional indoor studios, outdoor set production facilities, inter-Korean video content centres, and image research and development companies. However, criticisms have been raised about the commercialisation of areas known for poverty in South Korea as tourist destinations without concrete steps being taken to address the issues at hand.
Seoul Tourism Organization has been criticised by South Korea's opposition party and residents of Seoul for introducing a tour route featuring filming locations and stories from the movie. The Justice Party claims that the movie became famous due to the universal recognition of global inequality. However, it sees the development of a tourist attraction based on the film in Seoul as amounting to the further exploitation of poverty. Residents living in Parasite's filming locations have reportedly complained of a sense of embarrassment and discomfort due to an increase in tourists visiting their neighbourhoods and taking photos of their surroundings, making them feel like "monkeys in a zoo". In response, the local government of Seoul has announced that government funding will prioritise the estimated 1500 low-income families living in the semi-basement type accommodations featured in the film.
- List of submissions to the 92nd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film
- List of South Korean submissions for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film
- List of films considered the best
- Although Parasite was the first film with a non-English script to win Best Picture at the Oscars, it is not to be confused with the first foreign film (produced by a company of a country that does not have English as its primary language) to win Best Picture, which was achieved by The Artist in 2012. The French-produced film was largely silent with French intertitles and contained a few spoken lines in English. The Academy dictates foreign language as the main qualification for international film, hence The Artist did not qualify. Further, while prior winners The Last Emperor and Slumdog Millionaire include significant amounts of non-English dialogues, they were considered as domestic productions.
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- "고양시, '기생충' 촬영지 '고양아쿠아특수촬용스튜디오' 체험관광시설로 조성!" (in Korean). Tournews21.
- 지자체 〈기생충〉 관광코스 개발이 부른 "가난 포르노" 논란 : http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/society/society_general/928295.html Archived 17 February 2020 at the Wayback Machine
- '기생충' 관광 마케팅...빈곤 포르노, 빈곤 동물원인가 https://www.sisaweekly.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=30764
- 지자체 〈기생충〉 관광코스 개발이 부른 "가난 포르노" 논란 http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/society/society_general/928295.html Archived 17 February 2020 at the Wayback Machine
- 영화 '기생충', 관광 한류에도 기여(?)... 영화 '기생충' 투어 코스 등 조성 http://www.consumerwide.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=38071
- '돼지쌀슈퍼·자하문 터널 계단'...'기생충' 관광코스는? http://www.donga.com/news/article/all/20200210/99620253/1 Archived 24 February 2020 at the Wayback Machine
- 기생충 '관광지 개발' 경쟁에..."가난 보여주자고?" 주민 한숨도 http://news.jtbc.joins.com/article/article.aspx?news_id=NB11935412
- '기생충 촬영 돼지슈퍼 동네 "가난 구경났나요" https://www.hankookilbo.com/News/Read/202002152060093417 Archived 24 February 2020 at the Wayback Machine
- `기생충`숟가락 얹는 서울시...갑자기 반지하 지원: https://www.mk.co.kr/news/realestate/view/2020/02/168236/ Archived 24 February 2020 at the Wayback Machine
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- Australia and New Zealand official site Archived 19 July 2020 at Archive.today
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