Cannes Film Fest 2019: Parasite from South Korean Bong (Okja) Joon-ho

South Korean director Bon Joon-ho is a regular presence at the Cannes Film Fest.  This year, his film Parasite, which is in the prestigious Main Competition, received an extremely favorable critics response.

Early on, the director had suggested that the film was “hyper-local” and possibly difficult for foreign audiences to understand.

Whether that was a case of false modesty or genuine pre-presentation nerves, Bong has little to worry about, based on Tuesday night’s gala screening.

For more than five minutes after the lights went up, with the credits roll nearly completed, the audience in Cannes’ Grande Theatre Lumiere was on its feet clapping and cheering.

That appreciation almost equaled the six-minute standing ovation accorded earlier in the day to Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Bong received hugs from his cast, and one from friend and collaborator Tilda Swinton, before bringing the late-night proceedings to a close. He grabbed a mic, and said “Thank you” in Korean and English.

Bong has returned to to his native Korean after two English-language efforts, Snowpiercer and Okja, both featuring Tilda Swinton.

Parasite is an accessible drama about two families, representing opposite ends of the economic spectrum, and how one cunningly inserts itself into the other.

But as the other works of Korea’s best-regarded filmmaker, Parasite offers a setup for darker twists, social commentary, and comedic violence.