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“Parasite:” Bong Joon-ho’s New Film is a “Realistic Drama… a Crime Drama, a Comedy, a Sad Human Drama, or a Horrific Thriller”

"I always try my best to overturn viewer expectations."

“A laugh turns into a snarl which gets stuck in the throat like a sob—or an arrow through the neck—in Bong Joon-ho’s latest wild, wild ride, Parasite,” writes Jessica Kiang. “On paper, that might not sound so very different from the experience of watching Bong’s Snowpiercer, Memories of Murder, The Host, or Okja. The Korean trickster god is above all known for his uncategorizable movie melées which tumble bloodily down the genre stairs hitting every step—comedy, horror, drama, social commentary, slasher, creature feature, murder mystery, manifesto for vegetarianism—on the way.

“But while Parasite certainly cycles through more than half that list,” Kiang continues, “the laugh is darker, the snarl more vicious and the sob more despairing than we’ve ever had from him before. Bong is back and on brilliant form, but he is unmistakably, roaringly furious, and it registers because the target is so deserving, so enormous, so 2019: Parasite is a tick fat with the bitter blood of class rage.” To read the full article, click here.

“Giddy one moment, unbearably tense the next,” says David Ehrlich of the film, “and always so entertaining and fine-tuned that you don’t even notice when it’s changing gears.” To read the full article, click here.

“This film’s protagonists are family members living in the real world,” Bong Joon-ho explains. “There are people who hope to live with others in a co-existent or symbiotic relationship, but that doesn’t work out, so they are pushed into a parasitic relationship. I think of it as a tragicomedy that depicts the humor, horror and sadness that arise when you want to live a prosperous life together, but then you run up against the reality of just how difficult that can be.

“It’s a human drama, but one that is strongly imbued with the contemporary,” he continues. “Although the plot consists of a string of unique and distinctive situations, it is nonetheless a story that could very well take place in the real world.

“One can see it as taking an incident that was on the news or on social media, and putting it on the screen. So in that sense it’s a quite realistic drama, but I wouldn’t object if one were to call it a crime drama, a comedy, a sad human drama, or a horrific thriller. I always try my best to overturn viewer expectations, and I hope Parasite succeeds in this way.”