Parasite: Bong Joon Ho’s Cannes Fest Winner is 2019 Best Foreign Language Film

The poster for the South Korean film, Parasite, directed by Bong Joon Ho, proudly proclaims: Misplaced Familyhood.

Parasite offers a twisty look at a poor family’s attempts to insinuate itself into the lives of its rich employers, combines the three qualities that every director desires for his work. It is a global commercial victory, a critics darling, and a strong potential awards contender.

Bong wrote the film’s story and co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won.  The tale follows a young man from a poor household who begins to tutor a rich family’s daughter. Alongside his parents and sister, he slowly starts to infiltrate their personal lives.

World premiering at the 2019 Cannes Film Fest, Parasite won the Palme d’Or, thus becoming the first Korean film in the fest’s history to receive the award, and the first film to be based on the jury’s unanimous vote since Blue Is the Warmest Color, in 2013.

The feature was selected as the South Korean entry for the 2019 Best International Feature Film Oscar.

Some analysts have gone so far as to predict that Parasite may be included among the nominees for the Best Picture Oscar.

It’s the rare Korean film to be embraced in the U.S., where it has earned over $19 million and still running strong.

In the process, Parasite has become the highest-grossing foreign language film of the year.

Globally, too, the movie has been a success, grossing more than $124 million.

Is it the film’s subject matter and issues that have made it such an unexpectedly cinematic and cultural phenom.  The movie’s subversive portrait of class tensions resonates all over the world, including the U.S., at a time when economic inequality has become a dominant socio-political issue.

Parasite has raised the profile of writer-director Bong Joon Ho, who has earned a cult following over the past two decades with his previous films,  “Mother,” “The Host” and “Snowpiercer.”

The success of “Parasite” is introducing Bong to a new generation of viewers, many of whom are likely unfamiliar with his previous work, allowing them to discover a director who is a master of shifting moods and blurring genres.

Mixing genres, Parasite is effective as a black comedy, a social drama and a  thriller, navigating smoothly between humor and violence, sometimes in the same scene.

Tom Quinn, the energetic founder and CEO of indie studio Neon, has been the director’s longtime distributor. The two have worked together on 5 of Bong’s 7 films.

Their professional relationship began with the release of the monster movie The Host, when Quinn was a top executive at Magnolia.

Then came the troubled Snowpiercer, an adventure story set in a dystopic future in which humanity is forced to live on a massive train. The film’s release was in danger, when The Weinstein Co. chief demanded substantial cuts. Bong refused, and Weinstein dumped the film with Radius-TWC, the company’s boutique label, which was under Quinn’s jurisdiction. Snowpiercer was eventually distributed to glowing reviews, making some top ten best films of the year.

Neon which had recently acquired the rights to Memories of Murder, one of Bong’s early works, plans to re-release it in theaters and on Blu-ray.