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by Aaron Hunt
Bong Joon Ho may have shifted his subject from genetically engineered super pigs (Okja) and setting from a speeding, class-stratified train (Snowpiercer), but it’d be wrong to assign his Palme d’Or winning Parasite to a new league of subtlety. That’s not a knock — vulgarity is the name of the game for this “Korean New Wave,” in which Bong, and now Parasite, have an evolving role. Bong’s metaphors have shrunk in size for his latest, but they’ve increased in number, becoming part of a loud, meta, and self-parodying dialogue.
Ki-woo - Choi - Woo-Shik - Son - Parasite‘s
Ki-woo (Choi Woo-Shik), the son in Parasite‘s working-class family, interacts with the film’s metaphors most directly and is the only one that acknowledges them aloud. But every character here is an archetypal cog in the film’s evolving social commentary. Ki-Woo’s family, the Kim’s, infiltrate the home of the wealthy Park family by sabotaging and replacing their servantry. Leeching off that wealth becomes more dangerous as the Kim’s become more intertwined in the life of their new employers, and in that waltz the film plays on our expectations of who exactly the titular (and non-pluralized) Parasite might be.
Filmmaker: How do you acclimate to this slightly elevated style of acting?
Choi - Woo-Shik - Work - Korea - Dramas
Choi Woo-Shik: I don’t know, because I’ve done other work in Korea that was much bigger. Korean dramas. Sometimes in those K-Dramas you go overboard [laughs]. So compared to that I don’t think Parasite was really “up there” for us. And he didn’t actually limit us to any one acting style. It all just sort of blended together naturally.
Park So-Dam: I wouldn’t say this was any more over-the-top or expressive than the normal way I would act. The way the synopses and storyboards worked made it so that we would focus on that moment and that moment only. That was very exciting...
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