But criticizing North Korea isn’t one of the movie’s dominant motifs according to the director. Parasite follows a struggling family who worm themselves into the good graces of a wealthy family, working in various servant and teaching roles. The entire experience goes south for the poor family.
In the movie there’s a brief scene where a housekeeper impersonates North Korean state TV anchors with her husband, and also pokes fun at the country’s dictator and its nuclear missile situation. It’s a moment that earned great laughs from the audience at the Debussy Theatre during the pic’s encore run at Cannes today.
“This should not be misconstrued as a serious message referring to North Korea,” Joon-Ho told Deadline after we asked the director about the pic’s jabs at the country, “It’s just a small joke.”
“There are a lot of comics in South Korea who make sketches on this topic, which is very common,” said Joon-Ho about satirizing North Korea.
Also in the film, the wealthy family have a bunker below their famed architect-designed modern home.
“That also can be seen as a reference to a possible attack by North Korea,” says Joon-Ho about the bunker scene, “I think if North Koreans see this, they’ll laugh at the joke too.”
NEON is distributing Parasite in the United States. Parasite has a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 26 reviews. The movie reps the first Palme d’Or winner for South Korea.