OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

Parasite

(Gisaengchung)

2019 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'or Winner

Bong Joon-ho has made several films about class, but Parasite may be his most audacious examination of the structural inequity that has come to define the world. What at first appears to be a satirical comedy of manners, bouncing a group of lovable con artists off a wealthy family of awkward eccentrics, takes a hard right turn that sends us hurtling toward bloodshed and asks us what we are watching. The second half of Parasite is one of the most daring things I’ve seen in years, but Bong holds it all together, and the result is breathtaking. Winner of this year’s Cannes Palme d’or, Parasite is quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen and is unquestionably one of the best films of the year.

Poster for the international hit ParasiteTeenager Kim Ki-woo and his family live on the edge of poverty. They fold pizza boxes for a delivery company, steal Wi-Fi from a shop nearby, and leave the windows open when the neighbourhood is being fumigated to deal with their own infestation. Kim Ki-woo’s life changes when he gets a job as a tutor for the Park family.

The young man changes his name to Kevin and begins tutoring the Park’s daughter, who immediately falls for him. But Kevin has a much deeper plan. He’s going to get his whole family into this house. He convinces Mrs. Park that her son needs an art tutor, which allows Kevin’s sister ‘Jessica’ to enter the picture. Before long, mom and dad are in the Park house too, and it looks like everything is going perfectly for the Kim family. The Parks seem happy too. Then everything changes.

Parasite is a marvelously entertaining film with a clever, twisting-and-turning narrative and a masterfully captivating visual style. The film is so perfectly calibrated that there’s joy to be had in just experiencing every confident frame of it, but that experience is tempered, especially in the perfect haunting final scenes, by thinking about what Bong is saying about society, and how the rich use the poor to survive. Parasite is a conversation starter in ways we seldom get, and a further reminder that Bong Joon-ho is one of the best filmmakers working today.

– Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

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