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Parasite [RSC Film Club 29]


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This month we are celebrating the upcoming Academy Awards by watching a past winner.  The category we were picking from was Best Director, after having previously done Best Picture and Best Actor with The French Connection and Judgment at Nuremburg respectively, with the winning film being the most recent recipient of the award, B0ng Joon-ho's Parasite.  

Parasite Movie Posters From Movie Poster Shop

As well as winning the Oscar for Best Director Parasite also won Oscars for Best International Film, Best Original Screenplay (by B0ng and Han Jin-won) and was the first foreign language film to win Best Picture.  It was also nominated for Production Design and Editing.  

Part black comedy, part thriller, part horror but all social commentary, Parasite is a tale of two families; the poor Kim clan and the wealthy Park family.  The film starts with the son of the Kim family, Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) getting a job as an English tutor for the young teenage daughter of the Park family, Park Da-hye (Jung Ji-so).  Through a series of deceitful and cleverly planned events, one by one, every member of the Kim family gets a job working for the Parks, who remain ignorant of the fact that their new employees are relatives and have been playing them for fools.  

The first hour of the film plays out like a comedy, with each new plan becoming more involved and devious, culminating in an hysterically melodramatic montage involving the housekeeper and peaches.  But at pretty much the halfway point of the movie the tone shifts entirely and a whole new film starts, and it is incredible.  I'll say no more for fear of spoilers, but you'll have no idea of what's coming.

This, in my opinion, is a masterpiece of filmmaking.  Every aspect of the production is perfect.  The performances are incredible all round, with Song Kang-ho, one of the most respected South Korean actors and long time collaborator of B0ng's, being one of the best I've ever seen as the head of the Kim family.  The directions is, obviously, fantastic, as is the set design.  The Park's house will go down in film history as one of the most iconic and recognisable film locations of all time.  The script is near perfect with each character being distinct and every twist and reveal expertly set up and revealed.  The score, a mostly melodic piano based affair is beautifully melancholic.  

You can probably already guess what I'll be giving this, but I still can't wait to watch it again.  There's even a black and white version on Amazon Prime that I haven't watched yet.  I can't wait to read what you guys think of this one!

Academy Awards Oscars GIF by Madman Films

it's so metaphorical

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  • 4 weeks later...

A great film well worthy of the awards it won.

It's a dark comedy, that gets darker the longer it goes on. The basic story is the Kims, father, mother and young adult daughter and son, are poor. They are lazy, seem to get by on odd jobs that just give them enough money to live off, complain about how poor they are but don't seem motivated to even try to do anything about it. The film is not being judgemental here, it's not trying to say 'all poor people are lazy', just this one particular family. Things start to change when the son gets a job teaching English to the daughter of the wealthy Park family. He gets the job through a friend, but he has to get his sister to forge a university certificate for it. Then one by one the other members of the Kim family all con their way into working for the Parks as well. In doing so they show they can work hard when they want to and have a real talent for forgery and play-acting. So it's all quite dark comedy up to this point but then gets darker when the Parks go away for the weekend and the Kims all take over the house. I won't say much more on the plot because that would spoil it but the Park's house holds a secret. There's a violent finale leaving more than one character dead and a nice epilogue showing what happens to the remaining Kims.

The acting is all very good. The plot, direction, cinematography and use of music are all fantastic. One scene in particular stands out as the Kim's son, daughter and father, all already employed by the Parks, arrange for the mother to join them by meticulously planning and executing a scheme to get the house keeper sacked. The scene is shown interwoven with flash backs to them planning and practising the deception, and all set to a piece of music which builds to it's climax as the Kim's scheme does too. That scene alone was worth the best director Oscar. There are also some stunning wide shots, perfectly positioned with the main window of the Park's house looking out onto their garden in the back ground.


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