Having already celebrated huge success in Cannes, where it won the prestigious Palme d’Or, as well as having been selected as South Korea’s entry for the Best International Feature Film for next year’s Academy Award, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is now unleashed upon American theaters. Bong revisits some of the themes he explored in Snowpiercer to craft a meticulous story of class, scams, and prejudices. In his review for /Film, Jason Gorber said Parasite “takes the audience along for a twisty, twisted ride and gets under your skin.”Bong takes the story of a family that scams its way into being employed by an upper class family, and makes it a roller coaster of expectations and emotions, one that plays with the home invasion genre, comedy, and epic tragedy all at once.
Following the Texas premiere of the film at Fantastic Fest, I talked to Bong Joon-ho about crafting such a twisted tale, its operatic score, and how much he wanted to reveal of that shocking ending. There will be major spoilers after the warning below.
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Parasite defies categorization. It’s a tar-black comedy, a razor-sharp social satire, a twisted fairy tale, and a Hitchockian suspense thriller all at once. Director Bong Joon-ho resides in a genre all to his own, and hasn’t pointed to specific influences when making his Palme D’Or winner, which was inspired by his own experiences as a personal tutor to a rich family. But there is one sequence that Bong said was influenced by a very specific franchise: Mission: Impossible.
“This is some kind of nerdy family version of Mission: Impossible,” Bong says in the Anatomy of a Scene video with the New York Times, referring to the ’60s TV series he watched growing up (not to mention the blockbuster film franchise). It’s fascinating to see how Bong pulls off this high-stakes heist in the Parasite scene breakdown, but the best takeaway from the video below is that the Korean auteur knows who Ansel Elgort is.
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David, Devindra, and Jeff get on the hype train by reviewing Parasite, the latest film by Korean director Bong Joon-Ho. Tune in to find out whether the movie deserves a Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
Read this Reddit thread for all the Korean jokes Westerners may have missed. Read this Medium posted titled “On Letting People Enjoy Things” on toxic fandom.
Thanks to our sponsors this week: Hunt a Killer and Pretty Litter.
The New York Film Festival has always played host to a multitude of perspectives, from its globe-spanning Main Slate, to its experimental Projections programme, to the more recent, virtual reality-centric Convergence. The 57th iteration of city’s premiere film event unfolded across two weeks at Lincoln Center, with this year’s proceedings dedicated to the late Agnès Varda, an NYFF mainstay (her final film, Varda by Agnès, was also featured).
The crown jewel of the fest was undoubtedly its Opening Night selection, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. The ludicrously expensive Netflix production was so in-demand that even its press screening had to be moved from the usual location — the 268-seat Walter Reade Theatre — to Lincoln Center’s prestigious, 1086-capacity Alice Tully Hall. Netflix also held the New York premiere for Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (this year’s Centerpiece film) and Warner Bros.’ Joker even made its final festival stop after Venice and TIFF. However, lesser-known, unconventional works also found their way into the spotlight, like Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra’s sexually-charged Liberté and Minh Quý Truong’s experimental Vietnamese sci-fi doc The Treehouse.
As usual, the programmers — among them, retiring festival director Kent Jones — scoured every corner of the globe for unique points of view, and the results were astounding. Here are five films from around the world that exemplify the best of NYFF 2019. Read More »
I’ve heard from many a festival-goer that it’s possible to work through the entire New York Film Festival lineup – or at least its premier section, the Main Slate – given how the event spreads out manageably over the course of seventeen days all at Lincoln Center. But with schedule conflicts or lack of interest in certain titles, it’s a feat seldom seen or accomplished. Or, maybe given how gluttonous I feel after having done this myself, people choose not to brag about it if they do manage to pull it off.
While battling fatigue as well as exhaustion, plus countless instances of doubting if this was something I actually wanted to do, I managed to see all 29 films programmed in this year’s NYFF Main Slate. (If you’re the ranking type, I did just that over on Letterboxd.) I learned plenty about myself and some masochistic moviegoing habits after subjecting myself to this marathon of viewing contemporary cinema, but that’s a subject for another piece. It’s impossible to watch this incredible selection of films from across the globe and not have some larger takeaways about trends, patterns and parallels. Here are ten lessons from surveying the Main Slate in its entirety. Read More »
The weekend box office returns are in, and once again, Joker reigns supreme. The Todd Phillips movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as a crazy killer clown who loves to dance ended up at the top of the box office for the second week in a row. As far as new releases go, The Addams Family had a strong opening at second place. But Gemini Man, starring Will Smith and Will Smith, had trouble drawing a crowd. The real winner of the weekend, though, was Bong Joon Ho‘s Parasite, which only opened in three theaters, but hauled in the largest per-theater average of the year.
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You don’t need to know much going into Parasite. In fact, it’s been recommended that you know as little as possible. And despite the growing hype around Bong Joon-Ho‘s Palme D’Or winner, the details around his social thriller’s twists and turns have remained largely a mystery.
But NEON doesn’t have to work too hard to sell this pitch-black satire — the critics have already done the work for them. The newest Parasite trailer is jam-packed with raves from critics calling the film a “masterpiece” (several times!) and all sorts of colorful adjectives that all boil down to: this movie will be great. Watch the new Parasite trailer below.
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In my six years of attending the New York Film Festival, I’ve grown increasingly appreciative of the unique position its organizers have carved out in the fall festival landscape. Ideally timed between the premiere frenzy of late August/early September and the mad dash for awards of November and December, NYFF keeps its focus solely on the films and their creators. For 17 days, the newly-branded Film at Lincoln Center invites New Yorkers to partake in a manageable, curated slate of favorites from across the global festival circuit. The 2019 edition of NYFF casts a particularly wide net, too — apart from the festival’s three big Friday night galas, the Main Slate features only one English-language feature.
But if you’re not going to be in New York to see these films, why not use the time to catch up on the back catalogues of the directors in the NYFF selection? This year’s Main Slate features both emerging international voices and widely recognized masters alike, presenting a unique opportunity to broaden your cinematic horizons. Below are ten films playing at the festival (some of which I’ve been fortunate enough to see prior to NYFF’s official kickoff) and ten films you can watch to prepare yourself from the comfort of your own home. Read More »
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In my review from Cannes I described Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite as “a film that unabashedly takes the audience along for a twisty, twisted ride and gets under your skin. With mind-warping shifts in tone and storyline, there’s a feeling that you’re getting more bang from Bong than in a dozen lesser films.” I continue to believe that “it’s a mighty work from a mighty director, and a master who schools the world on how a film like this can be so deftly pulled off.” The jury shared my feelings, awarding the film the prestigious top prize, the Palme d’or.
Months later, my acclaim for the film has grown even higher. I somewhat facetiously wrote for its TIFF premiere that if you really don’t like Parasite it’s incumbent upon you to watch it again. There’s such a purity of vision and precision of craft that it’s easier to find fault in viewer rather than the work itself. It’s that rare movie that truly can, and should, transcend mere discussions of preference. This is a major work, and to argue otherwise seems more than a bit churlish.
It was thus all the more of a pleasure to sit down and speak with Bong during his stay in Toronto. I asked questions in English and he’d reply in a mix of English and Korean (aided by his exceptional translator), and for we discussed the many ingredients that go into making a film like this work.
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Following the horrendous snubbing of Lee Chang-dong’s Burning last year, South Korea is going for round 2 in the country’s attempt to get its first-ever Oscar nomination. South Korea has submitted Parasite as its contender for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2020 Academy Awards. If Bong Joon-ho‘s black comedy earns one of the five slots, that would make it South Korea’s first-ever Oscar nomination.
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