EXCLUSIVE: Bong Joon Ho’s twisty and shifting Parasite became an instant favorite this awards season immediately after it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The South Korean film, released in the U.S. via Neon, is a clear frontrunner for this year’s International Feature Oscar, with pundits seeing the pic’s crossover potential in major Academy Awards categories including Best Picture and Best Director.
Another crossover category is the writer-director’s original script, co-penned with Han Jin Won (Bong’s assistant director on Okja). It has scored kudos from more than 20 critics organizations (it also won Best Picture from the L.A. Film Critics), and has picked up Critics’ Choice and Golden Globes noms.
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Bong explained recently at Deadline’s The Contenders New York that his story, which largely takes place in the home of a rich Korean family, was originally conceived as a stage play. “It is true that I first conceived of this idea for the theater,” he said. “But from the very beginning, it didn’t work out that way. From the first line, I was already thinking of the camera position. I just realized that I had to do this as a film, as always.”
The plot of the dark comedy (thriller? horror pic?) revolves around its social commentary on the disparity of wealth, and centers on the members of a poor family who scheme to work in wealthy household by posing as the help. Bong, who has called his movie a “tragicomedy,” said his inspiration came from an early job he held working for a wealthy family in South Korea — even though he got fired after two months, the foundation was set.
He also said the resulting movie’s genre feel wasn’t necessarily the plan for it going in.
“I never really defined the genre that I wanted the story to be in,” he said, “or what metaphors or symbols I should place within the story. I just wanted to depict very interesting and entertaining situations. I move through impulses… I tend to not like symbols, [and] I wanted this film to feel more physical.”
Read the script here.
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