Featured Image courtesy of NEON and CJ Entertainment.

This year’s San Diego International Film Festival showed the 2019 Palme d’Or recipient, “Parasite”. This film from South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho brought many lining up for its single showing and it was worth the wait.

“Parasite” focuses on a young man named Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik, “Train to Busan”) who lives with his family in their semi-basement apartment. Along with his sister Ki-jeong (Park So-dam, “Beautiful Mind”), mother Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin, “Mothers”) and father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho, (“Snowpiercer”), they pick up small odd jobs to get by. Ki-woo’s friend Min-hyuk (Park Seo-joon, “The Divine Secretary”) stops by the place and gives him his late grandfather’s gonshi or scholar’s rock. They believe it to be a symbol of prosperity and fortune as Min-hyuk also asks his friend to take up his tutoring job. Min-hyuk cares about the girl Park Da-hye (Jung Ji-so, “May Queen”)  who he teaches and wants someone he trusts to watch over her when he studies abroad. While his friend trusts Ki-woo’s abilities, they truth is that he isn’t a university student and has no credentials. With some help from Ki-jeong, they whip up some fake records. He takes them to the Park residence where matriarch Yeon-gyo (Cho Yeo-jeong, “The Servant”) inspects both them and his work. It doesn’t take much for him to impress her and official become the new English tutor. As he works with the family, a recruiting opportunity arise when the son needs an art teacher. The cogs in Ki-woo’s plan begins to bring in more of his family to earn more cash but it is only time until the shaky foundations give way.

This film is a wild ride for viewers. A good majority of it is a dark comedy but it breaks into a suspense with several twists that will make you hold your breath and shiver. The Kims might remind viewers of last year’s Palm d’Or winner “Shoplifters” family, the Shibutas. However this film does not have much of an emotional drama, but rather has a lot of quick wit and cunning action. “Parasite” would be a combination of “Shoplifters” and Kim Tai-sik’s “Sunshine Family” with a great amount of twisted darkness director Bong Joon-Ho wraps it all in. Some viewers will feel torn with their thoughts on the Kims as they may wish for a happy outcome but are well aware of their despicable acts and ill intentions. 

“Parasite” is a mature movie as it contains scenes of bloody violence and sexual acts. Viewers discretion is advised.

Though SDIFF ended last month, check out online on its website to see if any local theaters will be showing this highly-acclaimed film.