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[Movie 2019] Parasite, 기생충 - First Korean film to win Palme D'or, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, and Oscars


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May 26, 2019


Bong and Song: the double act behind Cannes victory


via The Korea Times



72nd Cannes Film Festival - Photocall after Closing ceremony - Cannes, France, May 25, 2019. Director Bong Joon-ho, Palme d'Or award winner for his film "Parasite" (Gisaengchung), and Song Kang-ho react. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier


CANNES (AFP) ― To give you some idea how good an actor South Korea's Song Kang-ho is, one of the first things director Bong Joon-ho did Saturday after he won the top prize at the Cannes was to drop to his knee and offer the Palme d'Or to his friend.


An actor who has become something of a national treasure, Song has starred in several of the divided country's greatest movies. He also shines at the heart of "Parasite" as the head of a family of penniless scammers in the darkly comic drama that brought Bong his historic Cannes victory. 


Song, 52, has made four films with Bong including the 2006 monster flick "The Host" and Bong's first English-language film "Snowpiercer", both of which were box office and critical smashes. 


"I rely on Song a lot," the director told a recent press conference in Seoul. "Working with him has allowed me to be more brave as a filmmaker, and take on more difficult challenges."


After starting his career on stage, Song made his first film appearance in 1996 in now-acclaimed director Hong Sang-soo's debut movie, "The Day a Pig Fell into a Wall."


Since then, he has appeared in more than 30 films and worked with top South Korean filmmakers including Park Chan-wook, Kang Je-gyu and Lee Chang-dong. Song has had roles in some of the most significant works in South Korean cinema's modern history. 


Director Kang Je-gyu's 1999 spy action film "Shiri" was the nation's first big-budget, Hollywood-style blockbuster, and outperformed "Titanic" at the South Korean box office that year. 


Connection with public


Song also appeared in highly-acclaimed director Park Chan-wook's "Joint Security Area" (2000), "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (2002) and "Thirst" (2009), which won the Jury Prize at Cannes.


Over more than 20 years in film, Song's roles have ranged from an ill-equipped detective in Bong's "Memories of Murder" to a vampire Catholic priest in "Thirst."


He has also played a character loosely based on the life of South Korea's late former president Roh Moo-hyun ("The Attorney", 2013), and a cab driver who becomes unintentionally involved in the 1980 Gwangju Uprising ("Taxi Driver", 2017). 


That film was based on the Kim Sa-bok, a real-life taxi driver who gave a ride to Juergen Hinzpeter, a German journalist who reported on violent civil unrest in the southern city of Gwangju.


One of Song's strongest qualities is his versatility, said Jason Bechervaise, a professor at Soongsil Cyber University in Seoul.


"In cinema, a connection between the character and audience is crucial and this is where Song, in particular, shines," he told AFP.


"It's difficult to imagine films such as 'Taxi Driver' and 'The Attorney' resonating so powerfully without him.


"Viewers are inevitably drawn to his characters to such an extent that he is an immense draw at the Korean box office." (AFP)


Bong Joon-ho: 1st Korean winner of Cannes' top prize

Director becomes first Korean director to bring home top prize from Cannes



By Park Jin-hai The Korea Times


Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho won the Palme d'Or, with his black comedy "Parasite" at Cannes Film Festival in France, Saturday night. 


With that feat, Bong became the first Korean director to win the top prize at the world's most prestigious film festival, with a unanimous decision by its jury members. 


It was the second time for the 49-year-old director competing for the Palme d'Or award; his previous was with the 2017 film "Okja." 


"I'm sorry I didn't prepare this speech in French, but I didn't expect to win the Palme d'Or. I am truly honored. I've always been inspired by French cinema. I'd like to thank two directors ― Henri-Georges Clouzot and Claude Chabrol," Bong said right after receiving the award during the closing ceremony of the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. 

"I was a little 12 year-old boy, and a huge cinema fan, when I decided I would be a director. I am amazed to have won this prize, which means a great deal to me."


"Parasite" is the seventh feature for the director known for acclaimed films like "Snowpiercer," "The Host" and "Okja." The film tells the story of two families with extremely different social backgrounds, one poor and one wealthy. The son of the impoverished family fabricates his education background and works as a tutor for rich family's children. The whole family of scammers one by one latch onto the rich family as parasites. 


In the following meeting with Korean reporters, Bong continued to tell how surreal the experience has been for him. 


"I thought this sort of thing would only happen during World Cup matches. I feel dumbstruck and everything is so surreal. The whole situation feels as if I'm in a fantasy film," he said. "Each time the name of the award winner was announced, I felt like I was jumping over hurdles. My heart ran wild with excitement, yet I was losing a sense of reality. As all the other names on the list were being called, with only us being left, I had this strange feeling, thinking what the heck is happening."


When "Parasite" premiered Tuesday, the director received an eight-minute standing ovation and rave reviews from critics. Variety said "A laugh turns into a snarl which gets stuck in the throat like a sob ― or an arrow through the neck ― in Bong Joon-ho's latest wild, wild ride," while Hollywood Reporter said, "Parasite is generally gripping and finely crafted, standing up well as Bong's most mature state-of-the-nation statement since Memories of Murder in 2003."

"It's such a unique experience. It's so unexpected. It took all of us sharing our experiences. We shared the mystery of the unexpected way this film took us through different genres and mixed them and spoke in a funny, humorous, tender way with no judgment of something so irreverent and urgent," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who headed this year's Cannes jury, said of the film's appeal. "It's so global but in such a local film. We were all fascinated by it since we saw it. It kept growing and growing."


Darcy Paquet, an American film critic who has been introducing Korean films to international movie fans, said, "Bong Joon-ho is such an imaginative director, and Parasite is so well-made and engaging that I think it will travel far internationally. It will be like the OldBoy of this era, but even bigger."


Starting in 2000 when acclaimed Korean director Im Kwon-taek entered the Cannes competition with "Chunhyang," a total of 17 Korean films, including "Parasite," have been selected to compete for the Palme d'Or. "Parasite" became the sixth Korean film to receive one of the main competition awards at the Cannes Film Festival. 


Im Kwon-taek took the best director award for "Chihwaseon" in 2002. Director Park Chan-wook earned awards twice: the Grand Prix, the second-most-coveted prize after the Palme d'Or, with "Old Boy" (2004), and the Jury Prize with "Thirst" (2009). Lee Chang-dong won for best screenplay with "Poetry" in 2010, while Jeon Do-yeon won the best actress for Lee's 2007 film "Secret Sunshine."



May 27, 2019


Bong Joon-ho wins Cannes Palme d’Or
‘Parasite’ director is first Korean to win the festival’s grand prize  


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily


Director Bong Joon-ho holds his fist in the air to celebrate winning the Palme d’Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival for his film “Parasite.” Bong is the first Korean filmmaker to receive the prestigious award. [YONHAP]


Bong Joon-ho became the first Korean director to win the Palme d’Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival on Saturday for his latest film “Parasite.”


“I was just a timid, awkward film maniac who wanted to become a director ever since I was 12,” said Bong during his acceptance speech for the film festival’s highest honor. “I never thought this day would come where I would be the one holding this trophy. Thank you.” 


At a press conference for the film held in Seoul in April, Bong shied away from the possibility of winning the prestigious award. 


He said he thought that “Parasite,” which explores social class issues, was too specific to Korea for overseas audiences to fully understand, and that there were other prominent contenders for this year’s competition. 


“Sorry We Missed You” director Ken Loach and “Young Ahmed” directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne are all two-time winners of the Palme d’Or. “A Hidden Life” director Terrence Malick, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” director Quentin Tarantino, and “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo” director Abdellatif Kechiche have all won the award before as well. 


Despite Bong’s concerns, the Korean sentiment that is portrayed throughout the film was one of the reasons why the director won the prize. 


“We all shared the mystery of the unexpected way this film took us through different genres and spoke in a funny, humorous, tender way - with no judgment - of something so relevant and urgent, so global in such a local film, with such a beautiful efficiency of media, and an understanding of what film really is,” said jury president Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu at the post-ceremony press conference. Inarritu confirmed that Bong’s work received a unanimous decision by the jury. 


Bong started to make a name for himself with his debut feature film “Barking Dogs Never Bite” (2000), where he caught the attention of local audiences for its representation of social hierarchy and conflicts related to the generation gap. “Memories of Murder” (2003) was both a financial success and praised by the critics for its gripping serial killer story.


His third work, “The Host,” was a box-office monster. Over 10 million moviegoers went to the cinema to watch a creature portrayed using then-advanced CGI technology arise from the Han River to terrorize Seoul. 


After he became recognized by both local and international audiences, Bong recently worked with big-name Hollywood actors, such as Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Steven Yeun and Chris Evans for his films “Snowpiercer” (2013) and “Okja” (2017). “Parasite” had the local media’s attention for being Bong’s first Korean-language movie after a 10-year hiatus. 


“Every time I came to Cannes the film [I was in] received an award. For ‘Secret Sunshine’ (2007), it was Jeon Do-yeon who won the Best Actress award, for ‘Thirst’ (2009), director Park Chan-wook received the Jury Prize, and now it is Bong’s turn,” actor Song Kang-ho said while he gave an interview at the festival. 



“The Host” (2006) was Bong’s debut at the 59th Cannes Film Festival through the Director’s Fortnight section. His fifth feature work, “Mother” (2009), was invited to screen under the Un Certain Regard section at the 62nd event. Finally, “Okja” was nominated to compete at the 70th event. In his fifth appearance to the acclaimed film festival and second nomination for the International Competition, Bong finally became the winner of the Palme d’Or. 


The Grand Prix, the second-highest prize, was given to director Mati Diop for her debut film “Atlantics.” She became the first black female filmmaker to compete in the festival and receive a prize. The Best Director award went to the Dardenne brothers for “Young Ahmed.” 


Bong’s award is especially meaningful for Korea, as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Korean film industry. With the boost of the grand prize, the film’s distribution rights were sold in 192 countries, setting a new record amongst local films. The previous record was held by director Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden” which was sold in 176 countries. 


President Moon Jae-in personally thanked the filmmaker for his achievement in a congratulatory letter he uploaded on social media. The president said he was curious about watching “Parasite” and “[the film] is an unforgettable present that Bong gives to all Korean audiences who have loved local films.” Local moviegoers’ excitement is growing as they wait for the film to premiere in Korea this Thursday. 


BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]



May 27, 2019


Bong Joon-ho Becomes 1st Korean to Win Palme d'Or at Cannes


By Song Hye-jin The Chosun Ilbo



Director Bong Joon-ho poses with the Palme d'Or

for his film "Parasite" during a photo call at the

Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday. /Courtesy of CJ E&M


Director Bong Joon-ho won the prestigious Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday for his film "Parasite," becoming the first Korean ever to receive the top prize.


"It's such a unique experience. It's so unexpected," said Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who headed this year's jury. "It took all of us sharing our experiences. We shared the mystery of the unexpected way this film took us through different genres and mixed them and spoke in a funny, humorous, tender way with no judgment of something so irreverent and urgent. It's so global but in such a local film. We were all fascinated by it since we saw it. It kept growing and growing. It was a unanimous decision." 


When Inarritu and French actress Catherine Deneuve announced "Bong Joon-ho" as the laureate of the Palme d'Or at the closing ceremony, the crowd erupted in cheers. After receiving the trophy, an emotional Bong thanked the audience in French and paused to bask in the moment. He apologized for not preparing a speech in French, and continued in Korean.


"I was a timid film fanatic who decided to become a film director at the age of 12. I had never imagined that a day would come when I would hold this trophy in my hand," he said. Bong recalled that as a boy, being so shy made him stay at home and watch TV and films all night, dreaming of becoming a film director. "This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Korean cinema, and Cannes has given a big present to Korean cinema," he added.


Bong also singled out actor Song Kang-ho, with whom he has worked continuously for over 17 years and who starred in "Parasite." "I would like to listen to what a great actor and my good companion Song Kang-ho has to say," said Bong as he invited Song to the stage. "I dedicate this glory to all actors in Korea who taught me patience, wisdom and passion," Song said.



Director Bong Joon-ho (right) kneels down to jokingly present actor Song Kang-ho with the Palme d'Or for their film "Parasite" during a photo call at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday. /Getty Images Korea


Bong made his debut in 1994 with the short film "White Man," and has released numerous highly acclaimed feature films that sharply portray critical social issues of Korean society with satire and humor.


Although his feature film debut "Barking Dogs Never Bite" was not a commercial success, subsequent films achieved box-office success. "Memories of Murder" attracted some 5.5 million viewers, "The Host" 10 million, "Mother" 3 million, and "Snowpiercer" 9.35 million.


"Parasite" has been pre-sold to 192 countries, which is a new record for a Korean movie.


"Parasite" is Bong's seventh feature film, and revolves around two families from opposite social classes whose lives become entwined when a son from a poor family scams his way into a tutoring job in a wealthy family.


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May 27, 2019



South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (L) and actor Song Kang-ho answer reporters' questions at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on May 27, 2019, upon returning home from Cannes, France. He won the Palme d'Or for his film "Parasite" at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the previous day. (Yonhap)


news.gif Cannes-winning 'Parasite' hits No. 1 in pre-sale tickets (Yonhap) 

Filmgoers Eagerly Await Release of Award-Winning Film 'Parasite' (The Chosun Ilbo)

Palme d’Or winner ‘Parasite’ guarantees 52-hour workweek for film crew (The DONG-A Ilbo)

News Focus: Song Kang-ho, icon of contemporary Korean cinema (Yonhap

News Focus: Can 'Parasite' capture Korean audiences? (Yonhap) 

PARASITE Takes Home World’s Biggest Film Prize (KOFIC)

Press event for film ‘Parasite’ held Tuesday (The DONG-A Ilbo)

Bong Joon-ho's Prize-Winning 'Parasite' Premieres in Korea (The Chosun Ilbo)

Actor Song Kang-ho attributes his new nickname to 'Parasite' (Yonhap)

Cannes-winning 'Parasite' opens strong in S. Korean box office (Yonhap) 

'Parasite' sweeps local box office (The Korea Times)


Source: CJ Entertainment


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May 27, 2019


HanCinema's News

"Parasite" Seventh South Korean Film to Be Honored at Cannes Film Festival


Source: HanCinema.net




"Parasite" made history at the Cannes Film Festival this year by winning the Plame d'Or. Although "Parasite" was the first South Korean film to be granted the festival's highest honor, it is the seventh South Korean film to be granted some honor.

The first such film to be honored was "Strokes of fire" in 2002, which garnered a best director award for Im Kwon-taek. The award was as much for Im Kwon-taek's legendary history as a prolific director as for the film itself. "Strokes of fire" was his ninety-eighth film - he has since directed four more.


"Old Boy" won the Grand Prix in 2004, and went on from that moment to become a defining film for South Korean cinema worldwide. Jeon Do-yeon won the best actress prize for her work on "Secret Sunshine" in 2007, and has been a favorite of international film festivals ever since.


"Thirst" won the Jury Prize in 2009 and "Poetry" won for best screenplay in 2011. "The Handmaiden" won the Vulcan Award for best art direction in 2016. All of these films benefited from an increased international profile following their success at Cannes, and "Parasite" is likely to do the same.


Written by William Schwartz



May 29, 2019


Movie Reviewtypewriter.gif

Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' depicts a microcosm of Korean society


By Kim Boram


SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap) -- Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" tells a tragicomic story of two families, one rich and one poor, who become entangled in a string of mishaps. But there is more to this film than that.


"Parasite" hooks its audience with laughs early on, then segues to fine-tuned suspense, mystery and horror. The gears change so quickly and so smoothly that viewers don't even notice until the end.


The movie starts by depicting the miserable life of Ki-taek (played by Song Kang-ho)'s family, living in a ramshackle semi-basement. They look for a few bars of free wi-fi and eke out a living working for peanuts. They have no hope that their lives will improve.


But change does come as Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), Ki-taek's college-age, quick-thinking son, gets a chance to take over his handsome friend's job tutoring the teenage daughter of a rich businessman, Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun).


With forged credentials, Ki-woo enters the opulent mansion somewhere on an uptown hill and meets Mr. Park's pretty but gullible and unworldly wife, Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong).



The wily Ki-woo passes the interview to take on the love-struck daughter and spots an opportunity to also get his sister, Ki-jung (Park So-dam), a job in the spacious granite villa.




The sibling's scam expands in a devil-may-care way to create two positions for their parents. Ki-taek becomes the driver and Chung-sook, their mother, replaces the veteran housekeeper. All of them now live off Mr. Park's wealth.


From here, the film starts to expose the tensions between surface-level fineness and subterranean nuisance. Ki-taek's family seems to fall into a sweet illusion that they could escape their grotty, squalid semi-basement home or dream a co-existence.


But Mr. Park, who is gentle and demure, heaps praise on his new driver for not "crossing the line," although he often complains of Ki-taek's unpleasant odor, which is a prevalent metaphor throughout the movie.


It is more devastating and frustrating that everything goes wrong and crashes down due to the insurmountable class division and a struggle among the poor.


Bong said he wanted to tell a story about a stratified society through two families at the extreme ends.


"Family is the very basic unit of a society and the most common group of people around us," Bong told reporters after a media preview in Seoul. "I tried to illustrate the lives of the two extreme families without using socioeconomic words, like polarization."


The eclectic director fused a lot of genres and threads from his previous works into this one, bringing up images from "Memories of Murder," "The Host," "Mother," and "Snowpiercer."


His sarcastic message comes through clearly, as the film's characters, candid cinematography and artful mise-en-scene effectively show the sharp contrast between the haves and have-nots.


But the underlying humorous tone and warm eyes on the destitute family help lessen the film's caustic tongue that makes viewers uncomfortable.


The winner of Palme d'Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, "Parasite" opens in South Korean theaters Thursday.



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“Parasite” Cast Parodies Their Own Film To Celebrate Surpassing 8 Million Moviegoers

“Parasite” Cast Parodies Their Own Film To Celebrate Surpassing 8 Million Moviegoers

Jun 15, 2019
by E. Cha

The cast of the award-winning film “Parasite” celebrated the film’s latest achievement in a fun and creative way!


After enjoying an impressive 16-day streak at the top of the box office, “Parasite” has officially managed to surpass 8 million moviegoers in just 17 days. According to the Korean Film Council, the new film had garnered a total of 8,002,007 moviegoers as of 3:16 p.m. KST on June 15.


Notably, it took “Parasite” less time to reach the milestone than the hit films “Veteran,” “Masquerade” (also known as “Gwanghae: The Man Who Became King”), “The Attorney,” “Tidal Wave,” and “Ode to My Father”—all of which went on to surpass 10 million moviegoers at the box office. “Parasite” also achieved the feat more quickly than director Bong Joon Ho’s past films “The Host” and “Snowpiercer.”


In order to commemorate the occasion, the cast of “Parasite” posed for a series of playful photos parodying their film and its official posters.


“Parasite,” which recently made history as the first Korean film ever to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of Gi Taek (played by Song Kang Ho) and his family, who are all unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. When his eldest son Gi Woo (played by Choi Woo Shik) begins tutoring the daughter of a wealthy man (played by Lee Sun Gyun) and his wife (Jo Yeo Jeong), the two families start to interact in unexpected ways.


Congratulations to the film’s cast and crew!


Check out the cast’s celebratory photos below:




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May 29, 2019


Body odor class gap guided Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite'

Director tells of Palme d'Or winning film, persona


By Park Jin-hai The Korea Times


Director Bong Joon-ho, who won Cannes' top prize with "Parasite," has said more about his film and actor Song Kang-ho, whom he calls his "persona."


His tragicomedy, telling the story of two families of extremely different social backgrounds, one poor and one wealthy, allowed him to become the first Korean director to win the Palme d'Or last Saturday. 


Mentioning that the widening rich-poor gap is a worldwide issue these days, Bong said he wanted to evade the typical way of depicting the two different social classes. "It is a very familiar scene where those poor and righteous people with great a cause join forces to fight against those vile, greedy and violent rich people. But I don't think this reflects the reality," the director said during an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Seoul, Wednesday. 


"I wanted to feature the class gap in a more delicate and multi-layered manner. So the rich family couple has been depicted as well-mannered, elegant and naive sometimes. But, looking at them closely, the camera picks up their hysteric side as well. The poor family seemed to be ordinary in a way, but they are the ones who deceived people to take away others' jobs. People are not good or bad in their entirety. That way, I thought the characters would earn more reality."


"Body smell" works as a sharp tool to show the class gap, which functions as the seed for all tragedy that happens, Bong says. 


"In normal life, the rich and the poor don't share the same living space. On the same plane, there are sections for rich riders and poor riders and they are separate. The only time those of different classes can smell each other is when the poor work for the rich families as tutors, housekeepers and drivers," the director said. 


In "Parasite," the four poor scammers succeed in being hired and up close to the rich family. The young rich couple, played by Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Yeo-jeong, in their private conversation casually mention the "particular body odor that subway-riders emanate," saying the smell of subway commuters is different from that of rich people who only use fancy expensive cars. 


"Talking about one's body odor is taboo even among close friends, because doing so is viewed as very aggressive and rude. By talking about different smells, the film puts the class issue under the microscope. Through smells, the film's tension and suspense mount, which eventually makes a multi-layered foundation for the upcoming tragedy."


Regarding veteran actor Song, who plays the father of the poor family, the director said the actor encouraged him to move forward and try something new. Including "Parasite," Bong worked with the actor in four previous films. During the photo event after Bong won the Palme d'Or, the director knelt down to jokingly present the prize to the actor. 


"Song's acting performance has such power that sets the tone of the entire film. Many of my films tell strange, abnormal situations, like a creature appears in the Han River in The Host, and the story end without catching the serial killer in Memories of Murder; the actor's performance make audiences immersed in and believe the story that I tell," he said. 


"In my new film, there is this climax of emotional explosion. It is not something that people see in ordinary situations. With Song, I can have more room for my cinematic creativity. When I'm writing a script, imagining Song is in the role, I can become bolder and more confident."


Bong said he is planning to make two films of a similar scale to "Parasite." "While shooting my latest film, I thought that films the size of Parasite and Mother suit me perfect. So I'm planning to make one with a U.S. studio and another with a Korean studio with the similar scale. The latter one is actually the one that I wanted to make since the mid-2000s. It will be a scary story in Seoul, but cannot be categorized simply as a horror or thriller," he said. 


"Parasite" will hit local theaters Thursday.



May 30, 2019


(Yonhap Interview) Bong Joon-ho puts every emotion into 'Parasite'


By Kim Boram


SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- Those who have seen director Bong Joon-ho's previous works, like "Memories of Murder," "The Host" and "Mother," may have been astonished at the films' fluid toggling between tones and genres and flush of emotional beats and rhythms.


In his latest black comedy film, "Parasite," which won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, such deft techniques by the 49-year old auteur seem to have reached their zenith.


"Earlier, I said that this movie has laughs, horror and sadness, all in one. These feelings come out as the story continues," Bong said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "Throughout the film, I wanted to revive those mixed and realistic feelings."


As he said, "Parasite," which hit local screens on Thursday, starts with humor as the camera closely depicts the grotty semi-basement home of Ki-taek (played by Song Kang-ho).


But as Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), Ki-taek's college-age, quick-thinking son, gets a job tutoring the teenage daughter of a rich businessman, Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun), the film starts to bring up intense jitters, fear and sadness.


He said the mixture of emotions comes from the reality that both families are common around us. But he refused to adopt the typical formula that poor is good and rich is evil.


"In the real world, there are no perfect victims, or completely kind people. They make mistakes and do wrong and get punished," said the director, who majored in sociology in college. "I tried to bring out the multidimensional nature of humanity and build up intricate emotions until the end."


Mr. Park is gentle and looks like the father of an equal, horizontal, modern-day family and the head of a profitable IT venture firm. But he uses a patriarchal and authoritative tone with his wife, and keeps complaining of his new driver Ki-taek's unpleasant odor and recalling the class division between them.


But Ki-taek and his family are not blameless. They cheat the wealthy family and push out the family's driver and housekeeper, who are also poor, to take over those meal tickets for themselves.


When these disparate groups of people are forced to live in proximity, they recognize the uneasy, embarrassing truths of each other.


"As Ki-taek's whole family live in Mr. Park's mansion, they witness the unadorned truth of the rich. They catch the nuance of Park's words," said Bong. "Here, viewers are convinced as well."


Such subtle, complicated sentiments explode in the film's climax, which resonates with viewers in various ways, he said.


"I think even an accidental clash has its own context," Bong said. "The film traces the path of the consequences of these two families becoming entangled."


He said he hopes "Parasite" gives audiences a lot to think about and wants to hear what they say.


"I'll go to theaters in disguise and watch the responses and reactions of Korean audiences," said Bong. "I'm sure they'll never recognize me thanks to my perfect disguise, and I just hope they enjoy the movie and think a lot."



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  • sadiesmith changed the title to [Movie 2019] Parasite 기생충 - First Korean film to win Palm D'or at Cannes

May 29, 2019

Herald Review typewriter.gif

‘Parasite’ feeds on class rage, delivers thrilling ride


By Yoon Min-sik The Korea Herald        


Bong Joon-ho is just a brilliant storyteller. His films encompass the hard-hitting issues confronting today’s society and they reek of cynicism, yet they are just fun to watch. 


This is the difference between him and other directors, such as Kim Ki-duk, whose films are hard to watch: Bong’s films don’t rattle you and force you to think. They lure you in with interesting stories, get you hooked, then leave you lost in thought about what you’ve just seen as you leave the theater. 


This is why “Parasite,” a masterful, humorous and thrilling satire about social hierarchies, is not really the pinnacle of the Korean auteur’s magnificent career. It’s just the latest evidence of his genius.



“Parasite” / CJ Entertainment


The film begins with a poor, jobless family of four living in a basement dump. Patriarch Kim Ki-taek -- Song Kang-ho -- is a shiftless loser who is pushed around by his headstrong wife, Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin). They have two children, son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik) and street-smart but cynical Ki-jung (Park So-dam).


When Ki-woo is out of cash and luck, his friend gets him a job as a tutor for a wealthy family consisting of Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun); his wife, Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong); their teenage daughter, Da-hye (Jung Ziso); and her kid brother, Da-song (Jung Hyeon-jun). Live-in housekeeper Moon-gwang (Lee Jeong-eun) takes care of them all.


Charming Ki-woo wins the affection of the sweet but gullible lady of the house -- and then some from her smitten daughter -- and realizes that the wealthy Parks could be a meal ticket for his family. With devilish cunning, Ki-jung lands a job as an art tutor for Da-song, Ki-taek becomes their driver, and Chung-sook replaces the loyal Moon-gwang as their housekeeper.


The sequence of the Kim family hustling its way into the Park household is pure gold and is also classic Bong. The scenes are paced well and filled with energy, just enough to have the audience on the edges of their seats while still being lighthearted and funny. 


It’s these little sequences that build up the tension. They are also what make Bong such an efficient writer and director. He never wastes a scene -- even expositional scenes, such as one seemingly pointless part of “The Host” that has Park Hee-bong rambling about Gang-du’s childhood, which ultimately serves as a clever transition while revealing the character of the family.


Choosing a good scene is like choosing sweets in a candy store: There are just so many to pick from. Lee Jeong-eun and Jang Hye-jin are a joy to watch with their hilarious, sometimes borderline maniacal performances, and the young acting pair of Choi and Park really brought their A game. 


Lee Sun-kyun is an actor with the range and capacity to pull off a multilayered character and Cho seems endearingly lost as the lovable dunce.


But as always, Song’s performance is the cherry on top. While it’s hard to find anything bad to say about Bong, it is impossible to find fault with Song’s performance. He is an actor who perfectly understands the director’s intent and adds his own magic, as he did with the ingenious touch on the last scenes of another Bong production, “Memories of Murder.”


The amazing thing about Song is that, in some way, the audience “knows” his character before they even meet him. This is something that appeals to the Korean audience, but his acting is natural even as it carries a clear message.


Song’s interaction with Lee’s character and the thought process in his head, along with the impact on him of a “freak” incident that occurs in the third act, show in his facial expressions. Throughout the final act, Song overshadows everyone else, right up to the chaotic climax.




As for the film’s pacing, Bong has an amazing ability to relieve tension and pick up the pace at just the right moment. It feels like being on a mad, thrilling ride without noticing it. 


The director is known for the heavy social commentary in his films, which comes through in minute details, and this is the case in “Parasite” as well.


One such detail that stands out is the relationship between Ki-woo and Da-hye. At first glance, it looks like the 20-something man is taking advantage of a minor. But you gradually realize that he is doing so only because she allows it. Older, stronger and better educated, he is but a parasite who has latched onto a young member of the “royal” family -- a disposable and replaceable item, there to satiate her teenage fantasies. 


It is interesting, too, that Ki-woo and Ki-jung are given new names. The Park family doesn’t care about “Ki-woo” and “Ki-jung,” but only about “Kevin” and “Jessica,” who serve them from their “rightful place.” They matter only because they are told to matter, which makes the seemingly warm-hearted, gullible Parks the most intimidating people in the film.


The “parasitic” relationship between the haves and the have-nots, which is not confined to the Kim family, is chillingly relevant. The ending makes you think about their relationship and how it is perceived by the have-nots themselves, which in turn makes you think about the social class system and how eerily easy it is for us to accept it.


“This is a film about the respect and dignity of people. ... (Relationships between the wealthy and the poor) can go from coexistence to parasitism depending on how much you respect other people,” Bong said.


A great thing about a Bong film is that it may seem far-fetched and absurd, but when you think about it, it is freakishly grounded in reality. This makes it not only the director’s story, but each viewer’s story as well. 


“Parasite” is a perfect film or one that is very close to it. My only issue with all the praise being showered on the Palme d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival is that this isn’t the first time Bong has scraped the skies for cinematic immortality. This film is just Bong being Bong: on top of his game and pitch-perfect.


“Parasite” opens in local theaters Thursday.



By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)



Source: Pierce Conran


Tight as a drum and endlessly surprising, Bong Joon-ho’s richly deserving Palme d’Or winner PARASITE is scathing, tender, hilarious and as breathtaking as anything he’s ever done. Cinema of the highest order. Do go in cold if you can.


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May 31, 2019


'Working with Bong is challenging yet delightful,’ says Darcy Paquet

Source: The DONG-A Ilbo




Sound of laughter had continued at the Lumiere Theatre in Cannes, France where Korean director Bong Joon-ho's movie “Parasite” played on May 21. Waves of laughter, the first of which brought on by a scene in which the oldest son Ki-woo, played by Choi Woo-shik, of Ki-taek played by Song Kang-ho tried to find a good spot for WiFi signal in their semi-basement, had lasted throughout the whole movie. Not even a single person out of 2,000 viewers left seat. This shows that non-Koreans were easily able to relate to Korean cultural nuances in the movie, which is largely attributed to U.S. film critic Darcy Paquet who translated “Parasite.”


“It is great to see the importance of translation newly recognized thanks to an outstanding movie,” Paquet said during an interview on Thursday at a café in Jongno, Seoul. He first came to South Korea in 1997 as an English lecturer at Korea University and learned the Korean language on his own. He is now married to his beloved Korean wife. 


Although he had worked on the translation of almost 100 movies during the past 20 years, the film critic and translator says Korean to English translation is a “difficult task whose flaws are so easily noticeable.” It took him 10 days to translate the script draft of “Parasite” as the movie was quite packed with lines. Paquet and director Bong had stayed up two nights editing the final version.


Paquet has been behind the translation of all of Bong’s films since “Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000),” except “Okja (2017).” The South Korean director always asks for “short but impactful translation.” He even chose the name Do-joon for a character played by Won Bin in his 2009 movie “Mother” to keep it short in English. The director also requested extra attention to the translation of words, including plan and symbol, which repeatedly appear in the Palme d'Or winning movie.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com


June 3, 2019


Yonhap Interview

Subtitle translator in spotlight after Parasite's Cannes victory

By Kim Boram


SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- Bong Joon-ho, the director of "Parasite," has said foreigners may find it difficult to fully understand the film because of its details and nuances that are specific to Koreans.


But the film provoked laughter from the audience all the way through its running time when it premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival last month and took home the top honor, the Palme d'Or.


Behind this great reception is Darcy Paquet, an U.S. film critic who translated the film's dialog for the English subtitles.


"I know some 95 percent of ... movie is from filmmakers and actors and everything," he said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Seoul on Thursday.


"But because it's my translation on the screen, I feel I can take a little bit of credit -- 5 percent credit," he added, laughing. He said he saw the film seven times in order to translate it.



Captured from his Facebook account, this image shows Darcy Pacquet. (Yonhap)


The Massachusetts native has been working with Bong in providing English subtitles for his movies since 2000, three years after first coming to South Korea. He was introduced to Bong to revise the English subtitles of the director's first feature, "Barking Dogs Never Bite" (2000).


"Somebody else did the translation but I was introduced to the director at that time and we sat down together and we did some polishing of the subtitles together," he said. "That's when I met him for the first time. I've been his fan since the very beginning."


Since then, he has worked on the subtitles for nearly all of Bong's films except for the U.S.-made "Okja" (2017). He worked on rendering the screenplay of "Snowpiercer" (2013) into English before sending it to Hollywood production companies.


Paquet, who lives with his Korean wife in Seoul, said the director wanted the English-translated dialog to sound natural for English-speaking audiences. So they talked a lot to find the best English expressions for certain situations.


In "Parasite," translating the word "jjapaguri," a mixture of Chapaghetti, instant black bean noodles, and Neoguri, spicy Korean udon-like noodles, was the trickiest part.


Foreigners don't know the brand names of the instant noodles, but he focused on the fact that they know the words like "ramyeon" and "udon."


"So I put them together and made 'ramdon'," he laughed. "It sounds ridiculous but luckily it comes in the conversation first and then one of the characters says, 'What the hell is ramdon?' and right after then, as she's cooking it, we see it on the screen."


Paquet became highly sought-after by the Korean media following the film's success at Cannes. He is busy but happy with the media attention both on him and his subtitling work for other reasons.


"Usually there's been less focus on expats living in Korea," he said. "There is an audience very interested in Korean films, and they can get a lot out of watching Korean films with English subtitles."


He said it is a "dream" of foreigners here to have one theater that always shows subtitled Korean movies, which have improved a lot over the past 20 years and have their own color of storytelling and emotion.




'Parasite' to be screened with English subtitles for foreign audiences 



Source: The Korea Times

"Parasite," the winner of the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, will be screened with English subtitles at South Korean cinemas for foreign audiences starting this week, operators said Monday.


CGV, the country's largest multiplex operator, owned by retail giant CJ Group, will screen the black comedy with English subtitles from Monday at its theaters in Yongsan, Yeouido, Shinchon and four other locations in Seoul, as well as two in Gyeonggi Province.


"We decided to offer the English-subtitled version of the movie as a way to meet demand from foreign movie fans," said an official from CGV.


Another multiplex chain, Megabox, will also screen "Parasite" with English subtitles once a day at three of its theaters -- at COEX convention center and Shinchon in Seoul and Incheon's Songdo.


The movie, directed by Bong Joon-ho, has dominated the box office since its release in South Korean theaters Thursday.


The film added 2,788,972 admissions over the weekend for a cumulative total of 3.36 million, according to the Korean Film Council. (Yonhap)


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note1.gif June 4, 2019


PARASITE Scores Record Opening for BONG Joon-ho
Palme d’Or Frenzy Fuels Sales


by Pierce Conran KOFIC


A media frenzy and national pride have set the May box office on fire, as admissions almost doubled to 4.04 million over the previous weekend, an unusually high number for this time of year. Moreover, the local share surged to 76%, despite the opening of a new Hollywood blockbuster, which is topping the rest of its global markets this session while struggling in Korea.


Hot from its historic Palme d’Or win at the Cannes Film Festival, the first such win for a Korean filmmaker, PARASITE opened to a staggering 2.79 million entries (USD 20.75 million), a record for director BONG Joon-ho, unseating 2013’s Snowpiercer (2.27 million viewers), and the second highest ever debut for star SONG Kang-ho, just behind 2017’s A Taxi Driver (USD 2.92 million viewers). Over four days, the film has attracted a massive 3.37 million spectators (USD 24.71 million) and with uniformly gushing reviews and strong word of mouth, the film is poised to continue pulling in large crowds.


June 10, 2019


Box Office Reports
PARASITE Maintains Its Hold on the Charts


by Pierce Conran KOFIC




As the media frenzy around Korea’s first ever Palme d’Or winner cooled down, so did the box office as business receded about 20% with 3.34 million tickets sold. The local market share also declined but maintained a razor thin 50.1% majority despite the presence of several Hollywood tentpoles.


Following its phenomenal debut last week and some terrific mid-numbers, the furor around BONG Joon-ho’s PARASITE has finally started to subside, which amounted to a 40% slide in its sophomore weekend. With 1.67 million viewers (USD 12.4 million) recorded, that was still more than enough for first place for the acclaimed film, which has now recorded in 7.02 million admissions (USD 51.06 million), which is the third best ever total in Director BONG’s career, behind The Host (2006 - 13.02 million viewers) and Snowpiercer (2013 - 9.35 million viewers).


Remarkably rising 49% in its third weekend was Disney’s Aladdin with 1.1 Million entries (USD 8.04 million) as it continues to draw in new audiences. The word-of-mouth smash hit has so far reached 3.9 million spectators (USD 27.87 million). The film has even managed to climb back to the top of the reservations chart, pushing PARASITE down to second place.


Opening in a distant third place with 368,000 sales (USD 2.82 million) and 737,000 tickets (USD 5.59 million) sold over its first five days was X-Men: Dark Phoenix.


On rerelease, MIYAZAKI Hayao’s beloved Japanese animation My Neighbor Totoro filled 63,000 seats (USD 439,000) over the weekend and attracted a total of 101,000 viewers (USD 705,000) since opening on Thursday.


The Elton JOHN bio-pic Rocketman had a lackluster debut in fifth place with 39,000 entries (USD 296,000) and a total of 72,000 viewers (USD 534,000) since opening on Wednesday.


While Aladdin and PARASITE should continue to perform well this coming weekend, the chart will also welcome a pair of Hollywood titles, the reboot Men in Black: International and The Upside, a remake of the French film The Intouchables, which was a massive hit in Korea in 2012 with over 1.7 million admissions.


news.gif Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” Surpasses 2.3 Million Moviegoers In 3 Days (Soompi)

'Parasite' smashes S. Korean box office (Yonhap) 

'Parasite' attracts 3 million viewers in four days  (Yonhap)

‘Parasite’ takes No. 1 with 2.7 million ticket sales (INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily)

'Parasite' tops 5 million in attendance (Yonhap)

Palme d'Or-winning 'Parasite' on its way to topping 7 million admissions (Yonhap) 

‘Parasite’ remains powerful against competition (INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily)

'Parasite' surpasses 8 million in admissions (Yonhap)

Bong Joon-ho's Award-Winning Film Still Leads Box Office (The Chosun Ilbo)





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searchdoc.gifJune 4, 2019


(News Focus) 'Parasite' tipped for Oscar nomination


By Kim Boram


SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- With the U.S. release of the Cannes-winning "Parasite" set for the height of Oscar season, anticipation is running high for the film to become Korea's first-ever Oscar nominee.


The film's U.S. distributor, Neon, recently set the title's release for Oct. 11 in an apparent move to position the flick as a major contender in the international film category of the 92nd Academy Awards.


Many U.S. film production firms and distributors prefer October for Oscar preparations as the fall season gives enough room to build buzz before the award ceremony, which usually takes place in February.


"Parasite" is director Bong Joon-ho's seventh feature film following his English-language films "Snowpiercer" (2013) and "Okja" (2017). The new flick revolves around two families, one rich and one poor, who become entangled, leading to a series of unexpected violent mishaps.


As a non-English film, "Parasite" is regarded as one of the strongest hopefuls for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, previously titled Best Foreign Language Film.


The film, which has received critical acclaim for its well-rounded plot and mixture of various genres and won the highest honor at Cannes, also caters to commercial tastes as it topped the South Korean box office with a cumulative 3.7 million admissions as of Monday.


Before the U.S. release, "Parasite" will hit screens in France later this week, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia. Movie fans in Russia and Thailand can see the film next month, while it will be released in the Czech Republic and Poland in September.


However, there is still a long way to go for the movie to reach the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, next year.


It has to be first selected as South Korea's representative film for the 92nd Academy Awards as the prize goes to the submitting country as a whole, not to a specific individual.




After the state-run Korean Film Council picks one best film to submit to the academy around September, the chosen film will compete against a number of movies from around the globe to make the shortlist of five movies.


Since 1962 when South Korea made its first attempt, no film has been nominated to the academy's international prize section, while four Japanese movies have won the honor.


This year, Lee Chang-dong's "Burning," which was in the 2018 Cannes official competition selection, was the South Korean delegate but failed to make it to the final list.


Director Bong, who worked with U.S. filmmakers for "Snowpiercer" and "Okja," knows the hurdles.


"It's hard. It's like, you have to pass the local qualifiers first and then you have to be the top five on the international stage," he said in a recent interview in Seoul.


But U.S. media are positive about the film's chance of winning an Oscar nomination, saying that the South Korean auteur's dark comedy received universal praise after its debut at Cannes.


The New York Times said the film is the strongest candidate for the Oscar's international feature category and can vie for directing and screenplay trophies as well.


"No Korean film has been nominated for the international Oscar before, but 'Parasite' is so strong it could even blow past that category to factor into directing and screenplay races, if upstart distributor Neon plays its cards right," the U.S. daily said in its recent report. "An urgent story of class struggle told in the most sensationally entertaining way, 'Parasite' is Bong at his best, and the academy must take note."


Local film critics agree that the probability of nomination is high considering the fact that last year's Cannes Palme d'Or winner "Shoplifters" was one of the five nominees at this year's Academy Awards.



"I want to note the fact that Cannes' jury unanimously picked 'Parasite' for the Palme d'Or. It has enjoyed a widely positive reception from the jury and movie fans," Yoon Sung-eun, a film critic, said. "It may be too early to comment on the possibility of 'Parasite' winning an award at the Academy Awards at this time, but we can expect its nomination."





June 5, 2019


‘Parasite’ gets global release dates

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily


After taking home the Palme d’Or, the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, “Parasite” will make its way to theaters around the world throughout the year, film distribution company CJ ENM announced on Tuesday. 


According to the company, the film is slated to premiere in France today, and will be released in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan this month. 


In July, moviegoers in Russia and Thailand will have a chance to see the film and it will be screened in the Czech Republic and Poland in September. 


The film is scheduled to hit the North American box office on Oct. 11. A number of U.S. media outlets, including The New York Times, have predicted that there is a possibility that the film will be nominated for an Academy Award. If so, it would be a first for a Korean film. 


“Parasite” has already set a record by selling its distribution rights to 192 countries, and there are already talks about local remakes. 


“Presales of the film’s distribution rights have been so successful that it will be like the film is taking a trip around the world,” said a representative from the distribution company. “It’s a great opportunity to show the world the charms of local film and enhance our status [amongst international film industries].” 


In celebration of the film’s success, local movie theater chain Megabox announced that it began screening the film with English subtitles once a day at three Seoul locations - Coex, Sinchon, and Songdo - from Monday. More information about the screening of the film with subtitles can be found on the company’s website.


By Lee Jae-lim


June 9, 2019


'Parasite' likely to be remade into U.S. drama series


SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- Following the previous globally acclaimed film "Snowpiercer," director Bong Joon-ho's latest, Cannes-winning "Parasite" is presumed to become his second flick to be dramatized in the United States.


Winning the top Palme d'Or prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, the film was sold to film distributors in 192 foreign countries, becoming the most exported South Korean film title ever.


With its piercing depiction of economic class division universally appealing to international cinephiles, "Parasite" has reportedly drawn proposals for being remade outside of Korea.


The director Bong has hinted at the possibility himself, saying during a recent media interview, "I am getting questions from the U.S. for the dramatization of 'Parasite.'


"It will be very interesting to turn it into a drama series where untold stories of each character can be further explored," Bong said.


If made into a TV series, "Parasite" will become his second flick to be dramatized in the U.S.


His previous film, "Snowpiercer," based on a French graphic novel, is being dramatized in the U.S. and will hit the small screen on TBS next spring, a number of American media reports have said.


The drama project began in 2015 but faced a major delay before TBS, not TNT as initially planned, was selected as its broadcaster.


The new series will star Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs and Alison Wright, among others.


Experts predicted that "Parasite" is also likely to be reproduced given the global acclaim and fame it has widely garnered.

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June 5, 2019


Settings in 'Parasite' highlight sharp contrast between rich, poor

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- With Cannes-crowned "Parasite" crushing the South Korean box office, the film's major settings of two very different houses and their behind-the-scene stories have caught the eyes of audiences here.


The movie, directed by eclectic auteur Bong Joon-ho, is a tale of two families, one rich and one poor, who become entangled, leading to a series of unexpected violent mishaps. It starts by depicting the miserable life of Ki-taek (played by Song Kang-ho)'s family, living in a ramshackle, slummy semi-basement, with a strip of window through which the family can see a drunken man urinating against their house.


Later, the story moves to the airy, spacious, pristine modernist mansion as Ki-taek's son, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), gets a job tutoring the teenage daughter of wealthy Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun), the CEO of an IT firm.


The director said he and his staff built the houses from the get-go to embody his main concept of class hierarchy and polarization.


The setting was designed and constructed by Bong's art team with all the care and attention to detail that he uses to write his characters. It has a wide open, clear glass facing the well-maintained garden, but also features a spate of hiding spots and corners that block characters' sight of each other.


"When I was writing the screenplay, the movement of the characters in the setting was already in my head," Bong said. "From one spot of the house, you can hear a person on the other side, but he or she can't see you. This structure was the most important."


Also, Mr. Park's architect-designed house had to look opulent and gaudy, in contrast to the poverty-stricken appearance of Ki-taek's.


The movie's art director, Lee Ha-jun, said he filled the house with expensive, high-end furniture, home appliances and props, and decorated with luxurious, lavish wallpaper and drawings from cellar to rafter. Even the trees in the garden were carefully chosen by the design team.


"In order to show the clear contrast to the semi-basement village, I used staid, composed colors and materials to build the house and stuffed it with furniture and drawings," Lee said.


The detail amazed Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the president of the jury at Cannes, who asked Bong how he had found such a perfect house, according to Bong.


Ki-taek's house, on the other hand, was part of the stage setting of a shantytown built in a studio in Ilsan, northwest of Seoul. Lee and his staff installed old-fashioned tiles, doors, window frames and other features to make it look squalid and grotty.


"When we were building the setting, it rained so much and so often that painting and tiles kept coming off the wall due to humidity," the art director said. "We fixed them again and again, and it helped the village look even more worn-out."






June 6, 2019


[REVIEW] In ‘Parasite,’ one family lives off another’s bounty: Bong Joon-ho dissects class issues, but female perspective is lacking


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily

Warning: spoilers follow. 


“For overseas theatergoers, it may be hard for them to comprehend the film 100 percent because there are specific details that may only draw empathy from Korean audiences,” director Bong Joon-ho said during a press conference held in April before the premiere of his latest film, “Parasite,” at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival.


Yet was the film really “too local” for international audience to understand? It tells the story of two families - one rich, one poor - that become close in an unusual way. Bong singles out social hierarchy as a problem that people living under capitalist society will never be free of. The eerie similarity between the film’s beginning and its ending seems to further assert the director’s point: a rich family living in a mansion, and a secret resident hiding underground, latching onto the family for his survival without their knowledge. 


Nothing has essentially changed. At the start it was a Korean family, but in the end it was a German family that was living in the house, implying that the situation was not limited to Korea, but to all types of societies under capitalism.


After seeing the film, the meaning of the title becomes clear. There can be no symbiotic relationships between people living under capitalism unless they strictly adhere to certain standards, rules and boundaries. In the film, such “boundaries” are explained through “lines” that the rich family’s patriarch - identified only by his surname Park - emphasizes persistently throughout the film. 


“I like him because he gets tantalizingly close to crossing the line, but he doesn’t, in the end,” says Park when he talks about his newly-hired personal driver, Ki-taek, who’s the father of the poor family. 


Yet the first person to cross the line is from neither of the two families. It’s actually Min-hyuk, a friend of Ki-woo, the poor family’s son. He pays a surprise visit into Ki-woo’s underground basement home without an invitation to give them a suseok, a scholar’s rock, that the family would have no use for. Then he suggests that Ki-woo take over his part-time English tutoring job for a rich family’s daughter. This is the beginning of how two families start to cross paths and lines before a tragedy rips both of them apart at the end. 



Yet the first person to cross the line is from neither of the two families. It’s actually Min-hyuk, a friend of Ki-woo, the poor family’s son. He pays a surprise visit into Ki-woo’s underground basement home without an invitation to give them a suseok, a scholar’s rock, that the family would have no use for. Then he suggests that Ki-woo take over his part-time English tutoring job for a rich family’s daughter. This is the beginning of how two families start to cross paths and lines before a tragedy rips both of them apart at the end. 

From the minute Ki-woo steps into the mansion, he deceives the rich family about his educational status by using forged documents from a prestigious university, when in reality he does not go to any college. Gradually, the entire poor family manages to start working for the rich family through a series of lies: Ki-jung, Ki-woo’s younger sister, becomes an art tutor for the youngest child; Ki-taek becomes Park’s personal driver; and Chung-sook, the mother, takes over the housekeeper job. The entire family depends on the other family for their livelihood.


They scurry around madly trying to clear everything before Park’s family comes back into the house. When they are forced to hide beneath a table when Park’s family returns, they must listen to and hear the family’s most private and intimate moments. Their actions remind the audience of cockroaches that hide the moment a light switch is flicked - parasites.


A crucial factor in the story is smell. When the characters cross lines with one another, it’s not only done by their actions. The rich family notices that the poor family it employs shares the same smell, which the father in particular notes with a tinge of disgust. The poor family can’t get rid of its smell - it’s something that will always set the two families apart unless the poor family manages to move out of its basement apartment. 


There are numerous other metaphors that Bong put into the story to make his point. Theories about the film’s elements written by local moviegoers are currently flooding social media as they attempt to interpret Bong’s intentions. 


Yet the director’s treatment of female characters is often frustrating. Yeon-gyo, the upper-class mother, adamantly sticks to the typical stereotype of the “rich madam” that local films and dramas continue to reproduce: clueless and helpless, the good wife who obeys her husband and may be afraid of him. It may have been that the director realistically tried to portray the patriarchal family system, but it’s a disappointing perspective that’s been reflected countless times in Korean media.


At the end of the film, Bong killed off Ki-jung, the smartest and toughest member of the poor family. Ki-jung was different from the other members of her family because she set her own rules and standards for the Parks to follow. For instance, although Yeon-gyo tried to sneak a peek at her lessons, she firmly laid down a rule that no one was allowed to observe her during class time. She isn’t swept away or overwhelmed by their wealth. Unlike the others who were awed, she holds her ground from the beginning and played her role in the family’s scam with confidence from the get-go.


So why did she have to die? I was both horrified and annoyed that the film killed off such an interesting character with a voice and personality of her own. In fact, it was almost comical to see that the female characters were either typical stereotypes of women living under a patriarchal system or an interesting one who had to die. 


On the other hand, the men - Ki-woo and Ki-taek - are portrayed as characters with human dignity and individual desires to the very end, which pushes the audience to sympathize with them, although they have done terrible things. 


I understand that the director was more focused on examining the realities of Korean class issues, but I still lament that Bong failed to take advantage of the skills of his female actors or the interesting characters that he created.


BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]


Photos: CJ Entertainment


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@rubie, thank you for posting all these articles here. Unfortunately I can't read with abandon as I am trying to stay away from spoilers. It's so hard because there are so many analysis written about it, and by the time I see it (late October, I think) the fever will have passed. :(

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On June 18th the North Korean news site DPRK Today published a piece praising "Parasite". Specifically, the piece claims that the film is an excellent dramatization of the corruption inherent in capitalist culture, where lower classes have to live without hope or future.

The piece demonstrates much nuanced knowledge about the nature of the South Korean film industry. It mentions, for example, that part of the film's popularity can be attributed to lead actor Song Kang-ho, who has long been a popular headliner for major South Korean blockbusters. The piece also makes a point of how the central appeal of "Parasite" lies in its fundamentally humorous contrast between the run down tenement and the luxurious mansion the two families live in.

However, the piece nonetheless insists that the movie's central appeal lies in its discussion of class conflict, which has indeed been central to much of the movie's positive reception. Where the DPRK Today piece differs from the movie's more generic praise worldwide is how it states directly that "Parasite" is depicting an unjust society which is rich in theory, but in practice almost all of the wealth goes straight to the richest in the society for little apparent purpose.

For North Korean media to discuss "Parasite" at all is somewhat surprising, as technically it, like other South Korean media, is illegal to watch in North Korea. The opposite is also true - South Koreans are prevented by government firewalls from accessing the DPRK Today website via local IP addresses.


Written by William Schwartz

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June 12, 2019


'Parasite' makes strong opening in France

SEOUL, June 12 (Yonhap) -- This year's Cannes Palme d'Or-winner, "Parasite," made a strong debut in France, setting the record for the highest first-week box office performance for a South Korean movie, its overseas distributor said Wednesday.


Released on June 5, the family satire, directed by Bong Joon-ho, had attracted 259,737 viewers in French cinemas through Sunday, according to CJ ENM Co.


It marks the highest first-week showing for any Korean film released in the country, surpassing the previous record of 235,371 set by Bong's 2013 feature "Snowpiercer."


"Parasite" ranked second on the weekly box office chart after Marvel's "X-Men: Dark Phoenix," which brought in 498,000 viewers.


CJ ENM said ticket sales of "Parasite" in France will likely gain momentum, as the movie will be shown on 300 screens this week, up from 179 screens last week.


Among all South Korean movies released in France, "Snowpiercer" is the most most-viewed, garnering a total of 680,000 viewers in 2013. "Chihwaseon" (2002) by Im Kwon-taek is next with 310,000, followed by "The Handmaiden" (2016) by Park Chan-wook with 300,000 and "Train to Busan" (2016) by Yeon Sang-ho.


In South Korea, "Parasite" has been atop the local box office since its release on May 30, surpassing 7.3 million admissions as of Tuesday.



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June 15, 2019


'Parasite' surpasses 8 million in admissions

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- The Cannes-winning "Parasite" surpassed 8 million in total admissions on Saturday, looking poised to join other films in the 10 million club.


According to data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), "Parasite" reached over 8 million in admissions just past 3 p.m. Saturday, the 17th day since its much anticipated release. The family satire directed by Bong Joon-ho earned the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival and has stayed at the top of the local box office since its premiere on May 30.


"Parasite" is ahead of the pace set by a handful of earlier films that sold more than 10 million tickets, including Bong's own 2006 film "The Host."


"Roaring Currents," a 2014 film about Admiral Yu Sun-shin's heroics in the 16th century, remains the most-viewed film ever in South Korea with 17.6 million admissions.





Parasite Art by gree.jj

June 14, 2019


Bong Joon-ho's Award-Winning Film Still Leads Box Office


Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Director Bong Joon-ho's latest film "Parasite" remains at the top of the box office.


The film, which won the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival last month, has attracted over 7.5 million moviegoers in about two weeks since its release here on May 30, according to the Korean Film Council.


The award-winning film drew over 1 million moviegoers in just two days and continues to attract a herd of viewers -- 1 million almost every day since then.


Buoyed by a host of positive reviews from critics and viewers, the film is expected to continue to dominate the box office despite an onslaught of new releases.


"Parasite" revolves around two families whose lives become intertwined when the son from a poor family scams his way into a tutoring job with a wealthy family.

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June 14, 2019


HanCinema's News

May Box Office Best Ever for Domestic South Korean Films

By William Schwartz HanCinema.net




The Korean Film Council just released their full report about May at the South Korean box office. According to the report, May 2019 was the best May ever for Korean films at the South Korean box office. The total number of patrons for May this year was 8.61 million, a 69.1% jump from last year.

The dominance was due, in part, to a lack of real competition from foreign films. "Avengers: Endgame" was a holdover from April, and the "Aladdin" remake had a relatively weak opening, although it has since rebounded and is currently outperforming the new "Men in Black" film in online reservations.


South Korean films, in the meantime, covered very diverse genre spread. "Miss and Mrs. Cops" earned 1.61 million viewers as a police themed comedy, while "Inseparable Bros" had 1.43 million viewers as a heartwarming comedy drama built around persons with handicaps. "The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil" added 3.17 million viewers as a mostly serious crime film.


The art house film "Parasite", which opened on May 30th, earned 1.2 million admissions in its first two days in the box office. The bulk of its admissions came during June. "Parasite" is still doing well at the box office, facing "Aladdin" as its main competition going into its third weekend.


Written by William Schwartz

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June 13, 2019


note1.gif OFFICIAL Website




Filmfest München to Stage Complete BONG Joon-ho Retrospective
PARASITE to Screen in CineMasters Competition in Germany


by Pierce Conran KOFIC




Filmfest München is set to stage a retrospective on the films of director BONG Joon-ho, which will span his whole career, from his 2000 debut Barking Dogs Never Bite, all the way to his Palme d’Or-winning PARASITE this year.


BONG’s latest, which debuted just last month at the Cannes Film Festival and is currently burning bright atop the box office charts in Korea, where it has to date welcomed over seven million viewers (USD 54.37 million), will be featured in this year’s CineMasters competition at the German festival.


PARASITE stars SONG Kang-ho, CHOI Woo-shik, PARK So-dam and JANG Hye-jin as members of a poor family who become entangled with the lives of the rich PARK couple, played by LEE Sun-kyun and JO Yeo-jeong. The film scored a global presales record for a Korean film, after being snatched up for distribution in 192 countries.


In past editions, the Munich-based festival has screened Barking Dogs Never Bite, which earned its producer JO Min-whan the High Hopes Awards for Best Newcomer in 2001, as well as Mother, which had its German premiere there in 2009. In addition to those, the festival will also feature Memories Of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017).


The 37th edition of Filmfest München will run from June 27 to July 6.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Here's an article to read about Dir. BJH and his amazing movies 


movie1.gif Welcome to the Wonderful World of BONG Joon-ho



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  • sadiesmith changed the title to [Movie 2019] Parasite, 기생충 - First Korean film to win Palme D'or, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, and Oscars

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