Parasite (2019 film)

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Parasite (2019 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Revised Romanizationgisaengchung
Directed byBong Joon-ho
Produced byBong Joon-ho
Kwak Sin-ae
Jang Young-hwan
Written byBong Joon-ho
Han Jin-won
StarringSong Kang-ho
Lee Sun-kyun
Cho Yeo-jeong
Choi Woo-shik
Park So-dam
Music byJung Jae-il
CinematographyHong Kyung-pyo[1]
Edited byYang Jin-mo
Barunson E&A Corp
Distributed byCJ Entertainment
Release date
  • May 21, 2019 (2019-05-21) (Cannes)
  • May 30, 2019 (2019-05-30) (South Korea)
Running time
132 minutes[2]
CountrySouth Korea
Budget₩17.0 billion[3]
(roughly US$14.6 million)
Box officeUS$80.2 million[4][5]

Parasite (Korean기생충; Hanja寄生蟲; RRGisaengchung) is a 2019 South Korean dark comedy-drama film directed by Bong Joon-ho.[6] The film stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam. It received widespread critical acclaim and won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Korean film to receive the award.[7][8]


Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), an unemployed driver, lives with his wife Choong Sook (Jang Hye-jin) and two college-age children in a shabby semi-basement apartment. The family struggles to make ends meet by folding pizza boxes.

One day Ki-tae's son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) is having drinks with his friend Min (Park Seo-joon) who is currently employed as an English tutor for the sophomore daughter of a wealthy family. Min is leaving to study abroad and suggests that Ki-woo take his place since he has been studying for the university entrance exam unsuccessfully for the past four years, although he tells him that he plans to ask the daughter once she is of age.

Ki-woo is interviewed at the extremely luxurious and spacious mansion of the Park family. He’s received by Mrs Park (Jo Yeo-jeong), the simple-minded housewife of Mr Park (Lee Sun-gyun). He gets the job and as he’s leaving the house notices a painting by the Parks' younger son hung on the wall. Under the pretext that his artistic potential should be nurtured, he suggests to employ as an art tutor his friend named Jessica, who he says went to art school in the US, but in reality is his sister Ki-jeong (Park So-Dam).

After being accepted into the Park home as an art therapy tutor for their young son Da-song (Jung Hyun-joon), Ki-jeong designs a plot to get Mr Park’s driver fired and replaced with her dad Ki-taek. Once Ki-taek is employed, he manages to get the final Kim family member, his wife, Choong-sook, employed as a housekeeper after getting the current one fired by suggesting that her allergy to peaches is in fact active tuberculosis.

One day, the Parks leave to camp in the countryside. Ki-taek and his family take advantage of this opportunity to get drunk on the expensive liquor present in the house. Suddenly, the former housekeeper, Moon-kwang (Lee Jung Eun) visits claiming that she came to retrieve something she couldn’t take when she left the house. In fact the former housekeeper’s husband (Park Myung-hoon) has been living in the basement bunker of the house, hiding from the loan sharks he borrowed money from for a series of unsuccessful businesses. In a bizarre show of respect for his "benefactor" Mr. Park, he acts as a human motion sensor by turning on the lights above the staircase manually. A fight ensues as Moon-kwang and her husband learn the truth about the Kims. Ki-taek and his family manage to confine the couple in the basement bunker, seriously wounding Moon-kwang in the process.

Mrs Park calls Choong-sook to tell her to prepare a meal: the rain forced cancellation of the camping trip and they will be back in a few minutes. Ki-taek, Ki-jeong and Ki-woo quickly hide in the house, almost getting caught several times, but finally manage to escape undetected. The three run, in torrential rain, down several hills, back to their poor neighbourhood, where they discover waist-high water and sewage has enveloped blocks of apartments, including their own semi-basement home. Ki-woo wades through the apartment to retrieve a large rock gifted to him by his friend at the beginning of the film. The three, along with others made homeless, sleep in a gymnasium.

The next day, Mrs Park, ignorant of the family's homelessness, plans to throw a birthday party for her son and invites the whole Kim family to take part in the festivities. Ki-woo, who feels responsible for the turn of events, goes down to the bunker, carrying with him the large rock. It is unclear whether he intends to kill the former housekeeper and her husband, or to leave the rock as a good luck charm. Ki-woo discovers the former housekeeper has died from her wounds. Her husband attacks Ki-woo and manages to get out of the basement and knocks Ki-woo unconscious with the rock. He takes a knife, searches the small crowd for the Kims and attempts to stab them. He only slashes at the wealthy celebrants insofar as they impede his path to his targets. He mortally wounds Ki-jeong. Park's son faints as a result of seeing Moon-kwang's husband, who he had mistaken for a ghost several years prior. Moon-kwang's husband then attacks Choong-sook. As Ki-taek is by his dying daughter's side and preparing to help his wife against the attacker, Mr Park attempts to flee with his fainted son, yelling at Ki-taek to throw him the car keys. Choong-sook manages to kill Moon-kwang's husband. Turning over the corpse to retrieve the car keys thrown by Ki-taek, Park pinches his nose, recoiling from the smell of the man's body. Ki-taek previously overheard the Parks describing his own odour as vile. Observing Mr Park's recoil, Ki-taek stabs Park, killing him.

Ki-taek escapes and goes into hiding in the bunker, eventually taking the place of Moon-kwang’s husband for the next families settling in the manor. The film closes by narrated letters exchanged between Ki-taek and Ki-woo, using the lights of the manor at night as a Morse Code vehicle. Ki-woo promises that one day, he will make money and buy the house so his father can live with them. A hypothetical prolepsis shows Ki-woo touring the house with an estate agent. Yet, the film closes on Ki-woo, in the semi-basement. Ki-taek remains in the bunker and it is unclear whether Ki-woo is able to keep his promise.


Kim Ki-taek's family[edit]

Mr. Park's family[edit]


  • Lee Jung-eun as Gook Moon-gwang
  • Park Myung-hoon as Geun-se
  • Park Geun-Rok as Chauffeur Yoon
  • Jung Yi-seo as Pizzeria manager
  • Park Seo-joon as Min-hyuk (special appearance)[9]


Principal photography began on May 18, 2018[10][11] and ended 77 days later, on September 19, 2018.[12]


Director and stars at a press event.

The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on May 21.[13] It was released in South Korea on May 30, 2019.[2][12]

Neon acquired the North American rights to the film at the American Film Market (AFM) 2018.[14][15] The film's rights were also pre-sold to German-speaking territories (Koch Films), French-speaking territories (The Jokers Films) and Japan (Bitters End).[16] It is scheduled to be released in Russia on July 4, 2019 and in the United States on October 11, 2019.[17]


Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, in assessing 65 reviews, reported an approval rating of 100% and an average rating of 8.89/10. The site's critical 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."[18] Metacritic reported a score of 89 out of 100 from 16 critics' reviews, reflecting "universal acclaim".[19]


Parasite won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.[20][21]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Cannes Film Festival 25 May 2019 Palme d'Or Bong Joon-ho Won [20][21]
Chunsa Film Art Awards 18 July 2019 Best Director Pending [22]
Best Actor Choi Woo-shik Pending
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
International Cinephile Society Cannes Awards 25 May 2019 Best Director Bong Joon-ho Won [23]
Munich International Film festival 6 July 2019 Best International Film Parasite Nominated
Sydney Film Festival 16 June 2019 Best Film Won [24][25]


  1. ^ "BONG Joon-ho's PARASITE Claims Early Sales". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b "기생충". Naver Movie. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  3. ^ 영화 '기생충' 흥행 질주…손익분기점 400만명 눈앞. 3 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Parasite". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "Gisaengchung (2019)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "솔직한 '기생충'…봉준호 "무책임하기 싫었다"". 2019-06-14. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  7. ^ Mumford, Gwilym. "Cannes 2019: Bong Joon-ho's Parasite wins the Palme d'Or – live". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  8. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; D'Alessandro, Anthony (25 May 2019). "'Parasite' Palme d'Or Winner Bong Joon-Ho On Pic's North Korea Jokes – Cannes".
  9. ^ 박서준 측 “봉준호 ‘기생충’ 특별출연” 2019년 스크린 열일(공식입장). (in Korean). Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  10. ^ Kil, Sonia (30 May 2018). "Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Starts Shooting (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  11. ^ "BONG Joon-ho's PARASITE Enters Production". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  12. ^ a b "BONG Joon-ho's PARASITE Wraps Production". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  13. ^ "The Screenings Guide 2019". May 9, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  14. ^ McNary, Dave (31 October 2018). "Bong Joon-Ho's Drama 'Parasite' Bought by Neon". Variety. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  15. ^ "AFM: Neon Nabs Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' From CJ Entertainment". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  16. ^ Noh, Jean. "Bong Joon Ho thriller 'Parasite' sells to US, Japan, France". Screen. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  17. ^ Galuppo, Mia (May 30, 2019). "Bong Joon Ho's Palme d'Or Winner 'Parasite' Will Release in Time for Awards Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  18. ^ "Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "Parasite Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Mumford, Gwilym. "Cannes 2019: Bong Joon-ho's Parasite wins the Palme d'Or – live". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  21. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony; D'Alessandro, Anthony (25 May 2019). "'Parasite' Palme d'Or Winner Bong Joon-Ho On Pic's North Korea Jokes – Cannes".
  22. ^ "2019 춘사영화제, 7월 18일 개최..트로피 주인공 누구?". K Starnews (in Korean). July 3, 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  23. ^ "The ICS Cannes Awards 2019: Fire and Bong". International Cinephile Society. 25 May 2019.
  24. ^ "AWARDS". Sydney Film Festival. 16 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Bong Joon-ho's Parasite wins Sydney Film Festival official competition prize". Sydney Film Festival. 16 June 2019.

External links[edit]