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[Movie Review] Parasite is a disquietingly brilliant critique of our times

Director Bong Joon-ho’s (Memories of Murder, Okja) darkly funny social satire, Parasite, has been getting the highest of accolades since its premiere earlier this year, and I’ve been waiting impatiently for it to finally come to my area. Starring Bong’s frequent leading man Song Kang-ho, as well as Jo Yeo-jung, Park So-dam and Choi Woo-shik, the film is an intense, brutal takedown of the absurd tragedies of wealth inequality in late-stage capitalism that will make you gasp as often with unexpected laughter as with alarm and delight at its unending twists.

Without spoiling the movie, the story revolves around Choi and Park’s characters, siblings who live a miserable existence in a squalid basement apartment, their entire family of four unable to find work in what young Koreans colloquially call Hell Joseon. The kids start a chain of events that lead to the four of them getting increasingly entangled with the lives of a rich family, and as the movie progresses these encounters ramp up in a slow, tense escalation that explosively comes to a head in the third act.

Bong has said in interviews that, as a writer-director, he tends to have a clear idea of the sights and sounds that he envisions for the film, meticulously storyboarding scenes far in advance (although he doesn’t hold himself to every particular on the day of shooting). That care and attention to detail are clear in the visual complexity and careful framing of every shot; the visual field and soundscape of this movie are so rich that I already want to go back and see it again. Bong’s movies are varied in scope but they share a brilliantly executed sense of low-level, building dread that almost drips from the screen, and yet never overwhelms what he’s trying to do with the story–the tension never breaks until the precise moment that he wants it to. After watching one of his works the viewer is left feeling as though they’ve been taken on a journey by a virtuoso. The powerful images and feelings it evoked in me have certainly lingered for days.

One of this movie’s many strong points is its simultaneous specificity and universality; this is at once a story about one particular family in South Korea, and a broader commentary on the degrading idols of capitalism that are literally driving people underground, sustained on the dregs and crumbs left behind by a tiny fraction of the extremely wealthy who alone in their carefree existence, untouched by the ravages of food insecurity, economic depression, even environmental disaster. And while this theme is clear to anyone who watches the film, it’s only one aspect of a movie that has multiple embedded layers of social commentary.

Take the obsession of the youngest child in the rich family with “Indians,” for example; his very privileged backyard camping trip in an imported American teepee says volumes about the levels of exploitation going on here (and who is actually the “savage” in this situation, especially when these indigenous motifs play a pivotal role in the climax of the film). Or the pointed, conscious use of English words by characters of every social class as a marker of culture, of knowledge that somehow has the potential to lift them up, rooted in the pervasiveness of American imperialism. And yet from early on, one of the characters repeatedly breaks the fourth wall by saying an object is “metaphorical,” an indirect and gentle poke at all this symbolism from the director, as if he’s winking at the analyses he knows are coming in reviews like this.

The cast are across-the-board excellent, which is no surprise given this incredible lineup. Song is his usual unquantifiable genius in the role of Choi’s father, and Lee Seon-kyun gives all the power of his unique voice and manner to the cynically suave head of the rich family. Jo Yeo-jung is fascinating in her role of the oblivious, pampered samo-nim, the epitome of what Song observes at one point about their household: they’re not nice even though they’re rich, but because they are rich.

In this cutthroat world where most people have to claw and scrape for every won, no one has that luxury except those who are so wealthy that they’re insulated from the nightmare threat of poverty. And even that “niceness” proves to be very different from goodness–although I would venture to say that no character in this film possesses the latter quality. The system itself has become so unlivable that we are becoming alienated from our own humanity, bit by bit, until we become used to living in the dark, and forget the feeling of light and freedom.

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Great movie. As Bong Joon Ho said in an interview, there's only one country in the world now, and that's capitalism. It transcends borders and that is why Parasite has resonated so well in the US and in Europe.

Also, as an aside, Choi Woo Shik, who is great in this film, has just signed up to do a movie with Suzy directed by Kim Tae Yong (director of Late Autumn starring Hyun Bin and Tang Wei). Has he already served his military service? He was born in 1990 and it seems like a lot of contemporaries are currently enlisted (i.e Go Pyo Kyung or Park Hyung Sik) or already served (i.e. Jung Hae In and Park Seo Joon)...

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Choi Woo Shik is a Canadian citizen. He spent most of his formative years there (Middle School-College). Also he is 29 years old as of now (American age), so he is past the enlistment age for men in SK which is 28.

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I thought even if you were a Canadian citizen, if you were born in South Korea, you still had to serve. That's why some Korean-American men born in SK avoid traveling there until they pass age 35. But if Choi found a way to bypass that, then good for him.

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I think that only applies to people with dual citizenship.

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Honestly, it seems very unclear:

"According to the Overseas Emigration Law, “second-generation South Koreans” are obligated to serve only when they have reported permanent return. Therefore, if you emigrated overseas before you were six years old but you renounced your permanent residence and reported permanent return to South Korea, your military service duty will be reinstated."

http://overseas.mofa.go.kr/us-sanfrancisco-en/wpge/m_4775/contents.do

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Honestly I am a bit confused about it. I heard that recently the same thing too! But I am just confused is regarding Choi's situation, because he is 29 about to be 30 soon. If he was going to enlist, it would have been last year.

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Lee Junho was also born in 1990 and just enlisted this year. Hong Jung Hyun was also born in 1990 and will enlist soon. Lee Jong Suk was born in 1989 and just enlisted this year.

Maybe Choi wants to go to the Oscars first to see Parasite win Best Foreign Language Film...

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@fogcity
Can't reply to your latest response but the whole timeline w/ enlistment is a bit confusing for me. I just knew that 28 was the cut-off date for most men. I guess we will find out by next year, if he has not enlisted by then, I guess we will know the answer lol.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, people who graduate high school overseas don't have to serve? Wooshik moved to Canada when he was 10 and went to school there until university before coming back to Korea.
People with dual citizenship or overseas permanent residence visa (the one Ok Taecyeon had before he gave it up in order to enlist) can choose whether to enlist or not (but they have to give up their overseas citizenship / residency)

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I don't think graduating from a foreign high school disqualifies people from military service. I think a lot of wealthy people send their children to overseas boarding schools, i.e. actor Kim Ji Seok but he still had to serve in the military.

But you're right, I think Choi Woo Shik probably hasn't given up his Canadian permanent residence visa/citizenship.

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This only applies to those with dual citizenship or Koreans who were registered on their family's official family register. If he gave up his Korean citizenship, retains his Canadian citizenship and remains in Korea on a visa, as opposed to permanent residency (that is, reclaiming Korean citizenship), then he does not need to serve.

There is a sizable population of ethnic Koreans with non-Korean nationalities in the entertainment industry who do not have to serve mandatory military service.

There are also some rare cases where overseas Koreans who are unaware of their dual citizenship or family registration return to Korea and are surprised when they are conscripted at the airport.

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Really want to watch it but it won't be available in cinemas nereby so I'm hoping it's available somewhere online.

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it is, it has been... amazingly before it was released.

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It would not surprise me if Netflix picks it up. They have been putting a lot of attention on international content.

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Which reminds me, the Kim Go Eun film was just released on Netflix today.

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Yay! I lover her.

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The clips I saw were stunning! I think it's going to be a really emotionally affective film.

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Hi, can someone tell me the name of this?

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Tune in for Love @drunkfairy12

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@larelle79, it's coming to St Louis on the 14th at a cinema named Ronnie's! I can't believe we're getting it.

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Lee Seon kyun and Jo Yeo jung were just fantastic as the parents Park. I was thinking the entire time with them, they are a couple that deserve each other so they will not have to inflict their being on other people. I found myself thinking about what life would be like for them after the movie ended and it wasn't pretty and also, it is what they deserved.

This was a good film and what happened is just what you expect but still shocking because the world is like that and there is that denial that some of us have thinking that it is not.

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oop, you've already seen it so never mind 😁

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I was out of town for a conference and saw it there. I will more than likely see it again.

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I think the most poignant moment for me was at the very end.

SPOILER (though I'm keeping it vague)

That joining the system and climbing up the social ladder to become rich himself is the only thing he can think of to help his family KILLS me, because it's so accurate to real life.

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And knowing that it won't happen and is a legit pipe dream is all the more heartbreaking.

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Yes! I didn't want to spoil it in the review, but it's a perfect ending for the reasons you both mentioned. Even after all that, Ki-taek can't break free of the mental chains of the false promises of capitalism.

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And the part of his mind that does not even realize this cannot happen and also wasn't, you know who I mean, there.

Ugh, my heart for him.

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Thank you @laica <3.

I've been rooting for this movie since pre-production and then Cannes and all the way to the Oscars. Let's hope it'll be another first for South Korea.

I hope Bong's next film will be with Ha Jung-woo. I love Song Kang-ho to pieces but he has been in 5 Bong films already.

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IA. Song is the GOAT, but I would LOVE to see him work with some other South Korean talents. Primarily younger talents, that are on the rise because that would be quite huge for them.

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That's the thing with well known art-house directors like Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook and Lee Chang-dong.
They have actors that they trust and they cast them over and over.
It's like PD Ahn Pan-seok of television.

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Ah yes IA! Any actor that gets to work with them surely benefits in some way or another. Plus, it gives them a bit of a boost international wise since their films usually gets into film festivals/awards discussion too.

Side note if this film wins/nom'd for other big categories at Oscars, I can already see a mountain tide of Korean celebs posting non stop online lol.

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He offered Choi the role in Parasite after he had a small role in Okja. If he follows the same pattern, maybe he's offered a bigger role to Park Seo Joon in his next film. But Park Seo Joon is already a big star.

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Bong has said that he likes 'ordinary' looking faces, not the high shine sheen. So he could since he spoke well of Park, but honestly I feel like it will be a mixture of well established talents that he has worked with before, and newer hotter talents. I hope some of my faves can be cast lol!

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That's not surprising and I don't see him casting actors based on their pretty face and popularity like some film directors lately.
He always pick young talents like Go Ah-sung and Choi. He might cast Park So-dam again and the rest will always be his trusted veterans.
I'm glad he is giving the young indie darlings of Chungmuro a chance to be noticed outside of Korea.

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I agree it was fantastic. My only question is the use of Native American imagery, was it intentional? Native Ameticans have gone through enough being used as props, so I hope that wasn't the case here.

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Yes it was. Everything about it was inappropriate, intentional and indifferent.

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Bong Jong Ho said in an interview he chose the Native American imagery as a parallel to how America/the mansion already had previous occupants but the new arrivals (the Europeans/the Kim family) came and did a hostile takeover.

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The use of Native American imagery was really a great stroke of social commentary.

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Yes! Others have already mentioned this, but in Bong's words:

"I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a commentary on what happened in the United States, but it’s related in the sense that this family starts infiltrating the house and they already find a family living there. So you could say it’s a joke in that context,” Bong says. “But at the same time, 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. [The boy’s mother] mentions the tent as a U.S. imported good, and I think it’s like the Che Guevara T-shirts that people wear. They don’t know the life of the revolutionary figure, they just think it’s a cool T-shirt. That’s what happens in our current time: The context and meaning behind these actual things only exists as a surface-level thing.”

Here is the interview (full of spoilers though, beware): https://ew.com/movies/2019/10/23/parasite-bong-joon-ho-ending-explained/

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I figured, because he is a very intelligent director and he would not use such imagery if there were no meaning behind it.

Can you please share the link to where he said that? Thanks!

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It's shared in the comment above yours, by Laica.
https://ew.com/movies/2019/10/23/parasite-bong-joon-ho-ending-explained/

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Lol! Thanks, will check out the whole article. The explanation definitely enriches the story!

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@larelle79, @fogcity, and @egads, thank you. I wasn't sure. Good, it makes me like the movie even more.

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While Mr. Park and Mr. Kim were dressed up as Native Americans for the little boy's birthday party to ambush the son in a game of cowboys and Indians, they were ambushed by the housekeeper's husband (aka the actual "Native American"/"savage"/previous occupant in this scenario).

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And what Park said to Kim when Kim said this does not feel right.

I mean....UGH !!!!!

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Agreed! So many layers. I love how this movie is both incredibly blunt and extremely subtle at the same time. (Bong said in another interview, "The metaphors are there, but on the other had, you can't get your skull crushed in by a metaphor.")

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*hand, yikes

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Parasite’s Wild Ending, Broken Down
Having trouble processing the big Parasite climax? Good. That’s just what Bong Joon-ho intended.

https://www.gq.com/story/bong-joon-ho-breaks-down-parasites-wild-ending

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Thanks for the review! My local theater just started showing this movie this month. I want to go watch it as soon as I get some free time!

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Thanks for your review, @laica. I just saw this film Sunday morning at the cinema with my family and can't stop thinking about it. After assiduously avoiding all press and video, I'm now gobbling up reviews, thought pieces, and Eng-subbed cast interviews.

None of the American reviewers I've read—present company excepted—mention watching Korean dramas. Having watched SKY Castle, I had a better understanding of how disadvantaged the the two Kim siblings were compared to their wealthier peers. Did anyone else catch that the forged college certificate was from Yonsei University?!

Gi Jung and Gi Woo are clearly bright kids—but it's not enough to get into Korean university. At some point, the kids went to a good school with the likes of the Park's former tutor, Min Hyuk. But I can imagine the family slipping downward economically as the parents cycled through dead-end jobs.

I'm grateful I managed to catch this before it left my small city. I held off watching a bootleg online and loved sharing this experience with audience that cackled, gasped, and applauded alongside me.

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I was going to mention this too. Its been a hoot reading American reviews of the film because its soooo apparent that the reviewers have (mostly) never watched K-dramas. If they watched 'The Handmaiden' from 2016 they should have picked up common theme of the great social & economic divide, the plucky resourceful poor striving to play the rich for fools

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True but most of the top film critics in the US are fans of Bong Joon-ho since MEMORIES of MURDER and Park Chan-wook since OLD BOY.
They may not be as familiar with the Korean cultures but they are familiar with their kind of films.

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I tend not to read anyone else's review until I've finished my own to avoid getting unintentionally influenced, so I'm just now started to read interviews and haven't yet gotten to other reviews. But I'm not surprised to hear that some American critics missed a lot of these nuances and cultural context. (I do feel, however, that one of the great things about the movie is that there are some things that everyone will get about it, and some that only Korean speaking/culturally conversant audiences will get - it works on many levels, but it WORKS.)

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So true. When it comes to Korean films I’d read the local reviews first over foreign critics. Some said that it was better than MEMORIES of MURDER but I love them both equally.
PARASITE scores a 99% on RT from 265 out of 267 US film critics . It’s well loved worldwide.

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I was very impressed by Jo Yeo-Yung. she brought a madness to being privileged.

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I'm particularly glad that I made the effort to see this film in the theater just this morning (so, thanks @laica for writing this review and getting it posted while everything is still quite fresh in my mind) because visually there are some scenes that are particularly impactful up there on that large screen. Bong Joon Ho's use of space and light here is sometimes breathtaking even when what it happening is anything but beautiful.

I'm glad I only knew, in the very broadest sense, what this film was about, so watching the destruction unfold was both darkly humorous and terrifying. I want to go on and on, but also don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it yet.

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I don't think I have ever seen a house play such an important character in a film in a long time.

Everything about that house just fit the Parks to a frightening tee.

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Perhaps this isn't the place to say that I love that house, and would like to live in it.

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Would it be your home or just a piece of your pride to show off.

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I’d seal off the basement, just to be sure.

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You are obviously unaware of my reputation....

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The heating bill would be phenomenal.

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Not necessarily. Concrete can be a good insulator, and if all that glass is triple paned, it should be okay, especially if it's facing the right way to catch the bulk of the daylight. Plus, in my house, the motto is to add another layer of clothing.

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Reading the positive reviews make me want to watch this movie. I didn’t think it would be in my local theaters, but it is! I’m too chicken to watch it on a big theater screen though.

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It is a lot to process. I remember after seeing it feeling some kind of way and then feeling no way at all. But I think you will enjoy it.

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Don't miss the theatre experience! This movie should really be seen on the big screen. I'm not usually a fan of horror, and to compare a similar movie, Park Chan-wook's recent film Burning was a bit too brutal for me, but I Parasite is breathtaking and thrilling, and sometimes horrifying, but it never goes further than it needs to. And I'd rewatch it, whereas Memories of Murder was so uncomfortable to watch that, brilliant though it is, I don't think I want to see it again.

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I agree. While there is violence, nothing is gratuitous or overly graphic. However, seeing some scenes up on that large screen with the sound surrounding you, really is an experience that is worth the effort.

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It is a beautiful film to look at, even is places it should not be and I feel like crap seeing beauty in someone else's plight.

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"Burning" was a Lee Chang-dong film.

"The Host" is my most viewed film from Bong.

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Ooh, so sorry, yes! I mixed them up.

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@larelle79 @laica @egads Thank you all for your input!

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Great review. I also enjoyed Bong Joon-ho's other films. I loved the cinematography, the raining scenes were amazing, so much detail to keep an eye on.

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The flooding ! 💩😵

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All the praise here has been said so I will say is that the film is a masterpiece. The swift of genre tones, cinematography, direction, acting, and etc. was magnificently presented here. What is has to say about class, how we treat others, what is our role in society, and many more are presented here that is specifically Korean but is all the more universal for it.

A rousing achievement, and surely one of the year's or imo decade's best films of the 2010's. Definitely going to win South Korea it's much deserved and awaited Oscar for Best International Film, and a slew of other nominations as well. I hope that this means that the younger cast (Park So-Dam/Choi Woo-shik) career's gets a huge boost from this!!

Side note- Bong's next film is going to a Korean language film as well but a Horror-Action one :O I can not wait for the Korean cast he conjures up, he and Park Chan-Wook choose great Korean actors for their films (Imo they act the most natural/strongest).

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Choi Woo Shik has already been cast opposite Suzy in Kim Tae Yong's next film. He's the director of the critically acclaimed "Late Autumn" starring Hyun Bin and Tang Wei (his now wife). Doubt Choi would have been cast in this film without being in Parasite first.

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Yep! I think that one is going to be shooting soon (Possibly next Jan?). Suzy and him should be an interesting combo. One thing is that he said he wants to make the transition to Hollywood, so I am also curious about that as well. Helps that he speaks English!

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Transitioning to Hollywood might be hard for him. There aren't that many roles for Asian-Americans. Even Lee Byung Hun, who is much more famous than Choi, said that he was used to being #1 on the callsheet in Korea, but when he was in the G.I. Joe movie, his role was so much smaller than what he was used to and he spent most of the day waiting around in his dressing room for his scenes.

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Agreed. Hollywood's racist and it's hard enough for Asian Americans to get cast in roles. I'm watching Korean American Stephen Yeun's career with interest and I hope his bi-cultural upbringing brings him more international roles.

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Yeah, even Choi himself was like he would like to work in Hollywood someday. However, he also said that he hopes H-wood casts more Asian talents but its holding out for bated breath tbh.

As for Lee Byung Hun, he did get the short end of the stick. I feel like he does both work in SK/Hollywood, and that can be hard balancing those out. I just wish more Asian talents could find more substantial work, since the world is going global.

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Its ironic that he wants to make the transition TO Hollywood while most Dramabeans posters have made the transition FROM Hollywood to K-dramas.

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I NEED to watch this!! I'm sure it'll be added in my favorite korean films list among with Train to Busan, The Taxi driver and Midnight Runners.

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Some bits were really good - like the scenes of the flood or the recurring theme with the smell of poorness. The violence felt a bit gratuitous, but i could appreciate the poetry of the little man struggling for survival and accidentally bursting the perfect bubble of the privileged in the process, the fake savagery of the Indian playacting hiding the real savagery beneath... The movie tried to make a lot of deep statements about the have and have nots, desperation and entitlement. Mostly successfully, although to me it felt like trying too hard at times. I referred to it as pretentious before and I stand by that assessment. More than anything, the movie felt like a piece intended for Cannes critics acclaim. Additionally, in the attempt at universalness the movie lost most of its Korean-ness which explains the movie's broad appeal but is still a big negative in my books. Overall... it did some things very well but i did not love it at much as most people did.

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Thank you for sharing. It's good to have different views on this film.

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I haven't read what Koreans critics and fans have had to say about the film. Do Korean audiences feel its Korean-ness was sacrificed for broader appeal?

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Hmm, I read several Korean people's takes on it and some of the references (the cake business, Kakao talk, random, etc.) were what they caught then international ones. Plus the film did extremely well in SK, one of the top 2 films of the year (South Korean film/not a H-wood one), so the audience really responded well to it.

Plus a lot of the reviews I read is that because it was specifically Korean (scholar rock/etc), it was made the more universal in a way because even if its in a diff. country/culture, classism/social issues are universal which is what the film portrayed well.

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Can you link me to the reviews which are Korean and talk about that rock! I want to know all the Korean specific details of this film?

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https://www.polygon.com/2019/10/14/20906430/parasite-bong-joon-ho-interview-rock-peach-spoilers

Where did the idea come from to use the scholar’s rock? There were a bunch of them around my grandfather’s apartment but I never really got what they were.

My dad used to collect them, too. He quit doing it because they were so heavy. We’d go to mountains looking for these scholar’s rocks, basically just picking up rocks. It’s a weird thing. I’m 50, and there’s no one in my generation — my colleagues, my friends — who collects these things anymore. Rocks? Why?

"I can’t let anyone unfamiliar with scholar’s rocks pass it over, I have to create that odd mood. For actors and directors, I think that’s a big feat. [Laughs] Even though I’m the one who said it, I know it sounds weird. But, for foreigners seeing this stuff, thinking, “That’s weird, why is that in there? Does that have to be there? Is it a symbol?” Well, the actor outright says it’s a symbol, so it’s even weirder. “So maybe it’s not a symbol?”

It's something that used to be given as a gift, like a high honor bestowed to someone back in the day. But I remember reading that not many people do that anymore, because the scholar rock is quite heavy.

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@soulsearch12—Thank you for sharing that interview! I've also added Wages of Fear to my movie list since it had affected him so much as a child.

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The film is no more 'international' than the usual K-dramas set in Seoul. The references to American culture in the film seemed to have been inserted to paint the rich family as rather effete and annoying.

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I really enjoyed the first half of the film, really smooth. The former housekeeper portion wasn’t nearly as slick. The acting was excellent .

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One thing I love in this movie is how fast-paced it is without sacrificing the momentum that showcase the turning point of the characters.
Post-watch me felt uneasy not because of the murders, but rather due to the drastic change of the poor characters. The way they're portrayed makes me feel as if they know what they're gonna do given the opportunity, and they're like rats/cockroach waiting in the dark for the appearance food and just the smell of it is enough to begin their move. They're smart and cunning, and in a way, as an audience I was fooled with their transformation- from an ordinary family struggling with poverty to a team of professional conmen knowing the ins and outs of their target and the environment.
The duality of the poor is something I thought was done brilliantly in the movie. They're both the refugee and the colonist. They're trying to take the opportunities in the new place, at the same time manipulating the rich and eyeing for the chance to swap their lives with the rich's.

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The Parks also have that duality—as benefactors and parasites who need others do manage their basic daily functions. The only things the Parks do for themselves is Mr. Park's job, eating and sex (was that clockwise or counterclockwise?).

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What did you all think of that sofa scene? Apparently it caught many in the Korean audience off guard as the movie was only rated 15 in Korea. It's rated R here in the States. It was censored out completely in some Asian countries.

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I'm traumatized. I had no idea that they would include a scene that vulgar, because there's no indication from the movie's tone that it would go there (or maybe I'm just ignorant). I didn't watch the whole scene, but I do have a glimpse of what was about to happen. That, contrasted with the poor struggling to hide and happen to be in the same room, was quite hard to stomach.
I couldn't imagine how they must've felt.
To what degree should they stoop even lower?

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And I'm also curious. What do you think of the scene?

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It was hard to stomach, not only for the reason you stated, but also the extent of the "parasitic invasion." When your most uninhibited thoughts are revealed in your most intimate moment, and to be violated in such a way... {shudder} It's hard for me to be more sympathetic toward one family over the other. They both kinda deserve each other.

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For me, the frottage sex scene was enlightening and horrific. Enlightening because even in their most intimate moments, the Parks co-opt a dirt-spoon fantasy. But it was horrific to overhear the Parks' sh**ty comments and witness their intimacy from just one step away. Weren't we all hiding under the coffee table with the Kims?

As other Beanies have noted, there's a sharp contrast between KoreanTV/Cable treatment of sexuality vs film. I'm sex positive (and married 24 yrs) but Korean movies often make me utter, "Yech! This is a bit much." (The 2018 film High Society is a recent example. It involved two side characters and was ostensibly performed in the process of making a specific type of canvas. But it was Just Too Much.)

Anyway, back to Parasite. On the positive side, I support consensual role play and it was good to see Yung Gyo explicitly tell her husband what she needed. I was more surprised to see class integrated into their role play. Initially I wasn't sure if the reference to drugs was performative or not. She was a bit strung out that first day Kim Gi Woo met her for his interview but I now I chalk it up to fatigue from maternal worrying. Although pampered Choi Yung Gyo doesn't cook, clean or work outside of the house, she seems to carry nearly the full load of domestic mental labor for the Park family.

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Is the 15 rating the same as PG-13 in America? I think the point of the sofa scene was to show how the Parks insulted the poor (their former driver) for having sex in a car/doing drugs but used it in their role-playing. So they kind of got a thrill from pretending to be poor, which speaks to their massive class privilege.

But I wasn't bothered by the scene at all. It wasn't as explicit as the one in last year's Burning.

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I was surprised at that scene. They could have conveyed the foreplay without actually showing it. I was confused by Mrs. Park’s pleas for drugs, was that some sort of role play? If so, I was lost on that point.

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While there was no nudity, there was some explicit touching. The director did say in an interview that "the camera has crossed the line" by showing everything. I am not sure how else to interpret it other than to drive home the point of "crossing the line." As for Mrs. Park's pleas for drugs, I guess you were right. Imagining her in a cheap underwear and taking drugs became their fetish.

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The only thing surprising about it was that it didn't follow the standard 'love scene' choreography that we've seen repeated in a hundred thousand other films and TV shows. But I've learned to expect the unexpected from Korean directors.

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I chuckled a bit on "Mr. Park's job, eating and sex" because truly, that was what's seen of them and how juxtaposed it is with the poor's unending machination as they do the three essential things. x)

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Thank you @laica for the write up! I missed many of the nuances in the film when I saw it (I am so bad at these things!) but it was still very thought provoking and enjoyable at the same time. So I really appreciated your review and for pointing them out.

I would say it might be better to watch it with an open mind and not worry about the references and then read the reviews soon after so you can savour the nuances and brilliance in the mind or during a re watch. And defintiely in a cinema if you can.

I caught it long ago when it just came out and I’m so happy you all did a review here. I blogged about my thoughts but certainly it’s a pale poor one compared to Laica’s one here!

Will you all be doing one for Kim Ji Young, Born in 1982? I’d LOVE for you all to do that and it would be a great movie for discussion too!

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I have been keeping tabs on KIM JI YOUNG, BORN in 1982 and it's topping the box-office right now.
http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/eng/news/boxOffice_Daily.jsp?mode=BOXOFFICE_DAILY

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Yes! It hit 2 million viewers very fast and Im so darn pleased.

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I am actually really looking forward to watching it, i also ordered the book ( just that it's English translation comes out next year, too long of wait)

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Thanks! I've been following the success of (and the backlash against) both the book and movie, and I definitely plan to write about it once I have a chance to see it. I don't know if it's going to be theatrically released in the US though, especially outside NY/LA etc.

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Fabulous! That’s great news. Looking forward to it.
I’m hoping to catch it when it’s released in SG. 14th Nov is The Date!

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Just watched the film, and needed to come here to read the review and the Beanies' comments! It is a brilliant, funny, unsettling and ultimately depressing, but for good reason. Loved it!

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