By Dan Clendenin

Parasite (2019) — South Korea

This dark comedy by director Bong Joon Ho was the unanimous break-out favorite of the year 2019. It premiered at the Cannes festival, where it won the Palme d’Or as best picture, then won four Oscars at the Academy Awards (the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture). The film has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on over 400 reviews. At a simple level the movie is a socioeconomic satire about two families. Joon Ho has described it as a reflection on capitalism and class conflict, and has stated that the project was deeply personal for him. The Kim family lives in a mold-infested, basement apartment, and are easy to dislike despite their poverty. The Parks are a ditzy, mega-wealthy family that seem easy to envy. The two families collide when the Kim’s son Ki-woo agrees to tutor the Park daughter Da-hye, even though he has zero qualifications to do so. In fact, the Kims are a bunch of scammers who insinuate themselves into the luxurious house and home of the Parks. I don’t want to spoil the film, but there is also a third couple that lives in a secret bunker in the Park mansion. The discovery of that bunker and the third couple begins a downward spiral into an absurdist, violent nihilism. In Korean with English sub-titles.

Dan Clendenin:

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