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Revisiting Parasite: Why Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-Winning Film Is A South Korean Masterpiece

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite shattered language barriers and cultural divides, earning acclaim from audiences and critics worldwide.

Aanchal Sharma

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South Korean film Parasite is directed by Bong Joon-ho
South Korean film Parasite is directed by Bong Joon-ho. (Image: X)

A movie that’s not just a film but a cinematic phenomenon, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite is a South Korean masterpiece that isn’t just a flash in the pan; it’s earned its stripes as one of the best films ever made. Released in 2019, the film transcends cultural boundaries and defies genre conventions, standing out as a work of unparalleled brilliance. There are several compelling reasons why Parasite is considered one of the best films ever made.

Societal Commentary 

Parasite delves into the complex tapestry of societal hierarchies and class struggle, weaving a narrative that resonates universally. The film explores the disparities between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim family, exposing the stark contrasts in their lives. 

Bong Joon-ho skillfully dissects the consequences of economic inequality, showcasing how it infiltrates every aspect of society and relationships. The film’s poignant social commentary elevates it beyond mere entertainment, prompting viewers to reflect on the world around them.

Blending Dark Comedy With Thriller

The film defies easy categorization, seamlessly blending elements of dark comedy, drama, thriller, and even horror. Bong Joon-ho’s ability to navigate and merge these genres with finesse sets the film apart. 

The narrative unfolds like a heist film, only to metamorphose into a tense thriller and a biting social satire. This genre fluidity keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, making Parasite a cinematic experience that defies expectations.

Impeccable Pace

Parasite’s storytelling is a masterclass in pacing and narrative structure. Bong Joon-ho crafts a gripping tale with meticulous attention to detail, each scene propelling the story forward while building tension. 

The plot unfolds organically, with unexpected twists and turns that maintain a high level of suspense throughout. The meticulous planning and execution of the narrative contribute to the film’s enduring appeal.

Cinematic Aesthetics

The movie is a visual feast, with every frame meticulously composed and imbued with meaning. The film’s use of symbolism and visual metaphors adds layers to the storytelling. The stark contrast between the semi-basement dwelling of the Kim family and the modernist architecture of the Park residence serves as a powerful visual representation of the class divide.

Cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo’s evocative imagery enhances the film’s emotional impact, making it a visual spectacle that resonates long after the credits roll.

Stellar Performances

The success of Parasite is indebted to the exceptional performances of its ensemble cast. Each actor delivers a nuanced portrayal, breathing life into their respective characters. Song Kang-ho’s portrayal of the Kim family patriarch, Kim Ki-taek, is particularly noteworthy, capturing the complexity of his character’s journey. The ensemble’s chemistry is palpable, contributing to the film’s authenticity and emotional resonance.

International Recognition

Parasite shattered language barriers and cultural divides, earning acclaim from audiences and critics worldwide. Its historic win for Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards marked a watershed moment for international cinema.

The film’s success opened doors for a broader appreciation of non-English language films, challenging the notion that cinematic excellence is confined to Hollywood.

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