Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite shocked the world earlier this year by winning the Oscars for Best International Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. It was the first ever non-English language film to win that last award. Joon Ho also was a blast to watch throughout award season, making his Oscars kiss, challenging Americans to “overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles,” and promising to “drink until next morning.” It’s hard to believe that was all still this year, which makes it impressive that Criterion has had time to add Parasite to its collection.
film itself (from which no cast members were nominated for an Oscar despite the film’s other nominations) is about a poor family infiltrating the lives of a rich family. First, the poor family’s son (Choi Woo Shik) forged a diploma from a university so he can tutor the rich family’s daughter (Jung Ziso). Through a series of darkly hilarious deceptions, the poor family integrates themselves further, replacing the rich family’s entire staff.
The central question of the film is which family is the Parasite? The ones who are forcing their way in, or the ones who are so dependent on their staff that they can’t drive, cook, or clean on their own? Parasite both entertains and enlightens while critiquing the capitalist systems that forced these two families to fight for resources.
You can read our full review of the film here.
The Criterion Collection Blu-ray is jam-packed with extra features. There’s both a new 4k digital master and a black and white version of the film, an audio commentary track featuring Joon Ho and critic Tony Rayns, and five more bonuses featuring conversations with Joon Ho and other cast and crew. While some of these are retreads, Criterion has gone out of its way to create new materials that will enhance viewers understanding and enjoyment of Parasite.
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While there is a literal Masterclass with Joon Ho included in the second disc, every feature with him is figuratively a master class. What might be most fascinating is the way Joon Ho’s process worked with the house. He had a virtual representation of the house created so he could walk around inside before the physical house was built.
Parasite also used CGI in surprising places, though you would never guess by watching film. If you’d like to know where, you’ll have to buy the Blu-ray, which Criterion is releasing Tuesday, October, 27, 2020.
Wicked Rating – 10/10
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