Now-Oscar-nominated Director Bong Joon Ho brings his singular mastery home to Korea in a pitch-black modern fairytale. Having worked over the last decade on the expansive, internationally-set features “Snowpiercer” and “Okja,” Bong Joon Ho now returns to his home country for a film that is more focused in its setting, but perhaps even more ambitious in its execution. “Parasite,” a mostly Korean-language film, earned six nominations when the Academy Award nominations were announced this past Monday: for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Set Design, Foreign Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing.
The film's genre-bending plot is hard to describe. Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts, but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as a tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks.
Although viewers will experience a rush of emotions while watching it, what “Parasite” has to say about contemporary society is particularly poignant. In an age when economic polarization and inequality show no signs of abating, and large sections of the world's population feel more and more desperate, there is a temptation to blame others and promote easy, one-sided solutions. What “Parasite” provides is a complex, honest allegory about the challenges we all face in a world where co-existence is an increasingly difficult ideal to achieve.
By turns darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching, “Parasite” showcases a modern master at the top of his game. See it this weekend, only at Gray Duck Theater!
Content sponsored by Gray Duck Theater & Coffeehouse.