For this month we recommend a South Korean film. One that just won one of the most prestigious awards in the world of cinema, the palm d’or at the Cannes Film Festival. Before we get into the film. Let’s talk about the filmmaker and why we recommend you to watch this film and his other earlier works. Bong-Joon-Ho is a South-Korean director that makes films that are hard to classify in one genre. His style is evocative of both Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch with a sprinkle of Wes Anderson style comedy (all of which are great filmmakers that have made wildly different films). His unique blend allows for horror, sadness, laughter, and anger to coexist comfortably in one film (sometimes even one scene). It’s surprising how nearly all of his films work both at the artsy level and as a form of entertainment.
With this in mind, his latest film, Parasite is set in modern-day Korea where a poor family struggling to survive come into contact with a family on the other end of the class spectrum. This is all you need to know about the premise of the film. It is better if you watch this film with 0 additional information. What so great about the film, isn’t the plot itself per se but just how simple it is. Sometimes, great things don’t need to have that sense of pseudo-complexity and deepness you find in these festival circuit films. This film is great because it uses everything available to its fullest potential. The cast is absolutely brilliant and the script features some of the best lines I’ve heard this year. A great one for instance, “… Rich people have it easy, they age without wrinkles… money is their iron … it softens their wrinkles”
More importantly, the visuals and music are actually used to support the storytelling. When you see a scene, you immediately get what’s going on and it makes you feel involved in the journey the central characters go through. The themes the film deals with also ask important questions: Who is actually leeching off? The poor who wait on the invisible hand to trickle down change from the rich or is it the other way around? And Is money really the root of all evil?
We should also mention the setting. More importantly, the house of the rich family and the residence of the poor family. Everything on that set is meticulously designed to help the storytelling. There is even a running story trend with a light bulb, that you’ll either find super weird or charming. One of the answers might mean you’re a sociopath but you won’t find out until you watch it! So why should you watch it?
Parasite will make you laugh, cringe in suspense, drop your jaw at how magical it is and make you feel deep sadness for the characters’ situation all at once. It is one of the best films of the year and one that deserves multiple viewings.