Parasite (2019)

True movie magic happens rarely. Perhaps there exists a great film which came about no thanks to the talent (or lack of talent) involved but, rather, by divine intervention? If you know of one, let us know in the comments.

In our known universe, for the stars to align during a movie production one needs an audacious story successfully woven together by a director at the peak of their powers employing pitch-perfect casting and gifted personnel in scenic and costume design, cinematography, editing and scoring.

I’m thinking of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain or, as most of us know it, simply Amélie (2001). All the elements of the film’s development came together to produce my all-time favourite: a fantastical creation of pure joy. But it took some luck too: the role of Amélie was written by Jeunet specifically for Emily Watson but due to her poor French skills, and also scheduling conflicts, Jeunet rewrote the screenplay for Audrey Tautou. No offence to Watson – who is a wonderful actor – but can you imagine Amélie without Tautou? With one of the magical elements replaced, the cauldron would have infused a different potion.

Another example of cinematic gold is the seminal Alien (1979) where immensely inventive people like screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, painter and airbrush artist H. R. Giger, and director Ridley Scott put together their talents to create an awe-inspiring science fiction horror. Impressively, Alien was only Scott’s second feature film. They say lightning never strikes twice, but Scott’s very next film was Blade Runner (1982). Nuff said.

Interestingly, the film that Jeunet made before Amélie was none other than Alien Resurrection (1997), the Alien series’ fourth installment.

No wonder Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival. It is an impressive piece of filmmaking from South Korea that incorporates a truly original story involving fun characters in the pursuit of a form of betterment which leads us down narrative paths you couldn’t second-guess in a million years. There are many laughs, there are thrills, there is tension, there is even what could be called a tiny little bit of horror, and there is – of course – drama.

Parasite is the fourth collaboration between Bong (Korean names lead with the surname followed by the given name) and versatile leading man Song Kang-ho. Song, along with an impression cast of character actors, lead us through the fascinating events which build up to one of the most bizarre and satisfying conclusions I have ever seen.

The set designs of the two locations central to the film are cleverly juxtaposed, embelishing our understanding of the characters’ necessary journey from A to B. I can’t say more than that if I am to adhere to Wonderful Cinema’s no spoiler promise. You’ll just have to watch it, won’t ya!

 

Wonderful Cinema recommends you don’t ruin the impact the director has prepared for you by watching trailers or reading spoilers before you’ve seen the movie.

Of course, I know a lot of you can’t resist…

You can find more information on this South Korean film on WikipediaIMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

 

PARASITE (2019)
Country, Language South Korean, Korean
Director Bong Joon-ho
Lead Actors Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam (click here for full cast)
Screenplay Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won
Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo
Editing Yang Jin-mo
Score Jeong Jae-il

12 Comments

  1. Naren Sunker

    HI All

    I have been sooooooo caught up with work now I need to catch up on some wonderful cinema(see what I did there)

    How about sending me a link to the best art house movies from 2015-2019….pleaseeeeee

  2. beetleypete

    Careful, you have doubled your posting rate!

    This film is already on my radar, but is unlikely to be shown at my nearest cinema in a Norfolk market town.
    I will have to wait for the DVD release. (I didn’t watch the trailer…)

    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Shimky

      Hello, Mr. MIB! Very nice to hear from you.

      Yes, I love Bong. Memories of Murder is my favourite of his. The Host, Mother, and Snowpiercer are also very good. I haven’t seen Okja nor Barking Dogs Never Bite yet.

      That’s a very interesting review on Parasite from you, Lee. A lot of interesting thoughts in there, well described. Kudos!

      Readers, have a read of MIB’s interesting review of Parasite (after you’ve seen the film!):

      https://mibih.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/parasite-gisaengchung/

    1. Shimky

      Hi R. I like your site!

      https://celluloidwritings.wordpress.com/

      I love it how one never knows what to expect: sometimes a movie review, sometimes nothing about the film except the grade you gave it – instead, ruminations on life. I think it works really well! I haven’t seen another film review site anything like it and it is a breath of fresh air.

      The picture of you on the horse is very nice too. If that’s where you live, that looks like a very cold place to live!

      I will get hold of a copy of Prospect (2018) . Thanks for the tip! Ad Astra is showing in my local cinema now, so I might have a lazy afternoon and hide from the sun and watch it.

      All the best
      Shimky

      1. R

        thanks Shimky! what a thoughtful and encouraging comment, my dude. it’s what keeps us all going, right?
        i’ll eventually watch parasite. thanks again!

        p.s. that horse photo was taken in colorado!

  3. SynergeticFilms

    Noice. Parasite is something special and the stars definitely did align for that production. There are some shots in that film that I’d would frame and put on my wall.

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