Beloved South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho’s latest already has plenty to recommend it, from a boundary-busting Palme d’Or win at Cannes to a massive box office showing in the filmmaker’s home country and even inclusion on IndieWire’s own list of the best films of the decade. Next up: a fall festival run and a prime awards-season stateside release date. So what’s all the fuss about? Let the film’s first U.S. trailer explain, which unspools a tale of two families unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Billed as a “pitch-black modern fairytale,” the film follows two very different families who find themselves tangled up in a complex (and yes, parasitic) bond that is threatened by encroaching outside forces. While the Kim family has street smarts to spare, they’ve got little else to recommend them — but don’t tell the rich Park family that, who easily let the Kims inside their bubble thanks to the Kims’ various “luxury services.”
First, the Kim kids offer their services as a tutor and an art therapist, then the rest of the Kims appear with their own skills that the Parks desire to make their rich lifestyle even more cushy. As the Kims cleverly cull any possible interlopers and begin to install their own clan as the Parks’ go-to employees, the queasy bond seems to be working. And then things change.
As IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich wrote in his Cannes review of the film, “Giddy one moment, unbearably tense the next, and always so entertaining and fine-tuned that you don’t even notice when it’s changing gears, ‘Parasite’ takes all of the beats you expect to find in a Bong film and shrinks them down with clockwork precision. … With ‘Parasite,’ Bong finally becomes a genre unto himself. Ditching the sci-fi elements that have defined his recent work in favor of a more grounded (but no less eccentric) story of life under the pall of late capitalism, Bong’s latest offers another compassionate parable about how society can only be as strong as its most vulnerable people.”
The film stars Bong’s regular collaborator and star Song Kang Ho, along with Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Lee Jung Eun, and Chang Hyae Jin. “Parasite” will next screen at TIFF in its Special Presentations section, and is expected to roll out at other festivals during the fall season.
Neon will release the film in theaters on October 11. Check out the first trailer for “Parasite” below.