Parasite Movie Poster

Trivia for Parasite

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  • Won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the first Korean film to ever do so.
  • This is the fourth film on which director Bong Joon Ho and actor Kang-ho Song collaborated.
  • Bong Joon Ho's first all-Korean production since Mother (2009).
  • In an interview with Korean magazine Cine21, Director Bong Joon Ho spoke of his experience in filming in a hyper-rich Korean home. He said his hand literally shook from anxiety when he was returning a trash can that was used as a prop: the trash can was of high-tech variety that stayed silent even when the lid was being closed and cost as much as US $2,500.
  • The third collaboration of director Bong Joon Ho and cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong. Hong was also the cinematographer of the last year's Korean cinema at Cannes, Burning (2018).
  • Director Bong Joon Ho chose his long time collaborator Kang-ho Song and Woo-sik Choi, who was in Bong's last film Okja (2017), before picking any other actors of the movie while writing the script. Bong also said that if Song had declined, he wouldn't have made the movie, as he couldn't think of another actor playing the part.
  • Ki-woo's job, at-home tutor, was chosen because director Bong Joon Ho realized that sadly the job is the only way that families from two extreme ends of the class spectrum in modern-day South Korea can cross their paths convincingly in the story arc.
  • Wide aspect ratio of 2.35 was chosen to accommodate the capture of large family group in a single frame, says director Bong Joon Ho.
  • Total number of principal photography sessions: 77. Reported production budget: KRW 13-15 billion (US $11-13 million as of May 2019).
  • At the Munich Film Festival, Bong Joon Ho said that he does not like screenwriting, and that it makes him nervous and insufferable to his family. The idea for Parasite has existed since 2015, and the final script was written in three and a half months.
  • The first song of the closing credits is written by director Bong Joon Ho himself and sung by lead actor Woo-sik Choi.
  • Winner of 2019 Official Competition Prize at Sydney Film Festival.
  • The most successful South Korean feature of all time in Indonesia, with approx. 500,000 tickets sold (as of July 28, 2019).
  • Official submission of South Korea for the 'Best International Feature Film' category of the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020.
  • The architect of the Park mansion shares the same family name with Kang-ho Song's character in Snowpiercer (2013), i.e. Namgoong. Song is a regular cast member of Bong Joon Ho's films.
  • Shot in 77 days.
  • The Parks' house, said in the film to be designed by a fictional architect named Namgoong Hyeonja, was a set completely built from scratch.
  • Asking them to refrain from spoilers, Bong Joon Ho released "A word of pleading" for international press before the Cannes premiere of the film.
  • (at around 10 mins) When Ki-Woo asks about the tutoring job near the beginning of the film, a bus passes behind him. This bus was timed by the director to pass as he asks the question.
  • The film makes several nods to Alfred Hitchcock throughout. Stairs are used as a motif, voyeurism is used as characters watch scenes through windows 14 times, and (most obviously) there is a brief glimpse of an out of place Alfred Hitchcock collection in the Park's home.
  • Two major New York Times film critics were so profoundly impressed with the actresses' performances in this film that in their December 2019 article asserting who the 2020 Oscar nominees "Should Be," one of them, Manohla Dargis opined for "Best Supporting Actress," 4 of the 5 nominees should be ALL four female performers from "Parasite." The other critic, A.O. Scott thought 3 of the "Parasite" actresses should be so nominated (excluding Hye-jin Jang).
  • Scholar's stones or landscape rocks are known as "suseok" in Korean, have a deep history in East Asia. The director's father collected them when he was younger. The practice of collecting these attractively shaped stones dates back thousands of years, but they became a fixture of Korean society during the Joseun dynasty (1392-1897), when they were commonly displayed on the writing tables of Confucian scholars -- hence their English name: "scholars rocks."
  • On almost all of his films, Bong Joon Ho has worked closely with American translator Darcy Paquet, a Korean resident and "cinephile" blogger of Korean movies, and gives him tremendous credit for their collaboration, especially for the astute way he enhances the American English quality of script and subtitles.
  • Because of his respect and fascination with black & white cinematography, director/writer Bong Joon Ho announced that he would re-release his acclaimed film in just such a B&W version in January 2020. This special presentation of "Parasite" was planned to debut in the Rotterdam Film Festival, with US screenings to follow in NYC and Los Angeles as well as small art house theaters in other cities like the Granbury in Ft. Worth Texas.
  • When questioned about the significance of the stone his character possesses in the film, Woo-sik Choi replied that Bong Joon Ho didn't tell it meant something, and just told him to take care of it.
  • The house was designed by an architect by the name of Namgoong. This might be a reference to the movie Snowpiercer (2013) where lead actor Kang-ho Song was portraying a character by that name.
  • Although a big commercial success, the film came under controversy for the 15+ age rating it received from the censors despite a dry sex scene that viewers considered inappropriate for children to see.
  • Bong Joon Ho felt the film did well because it appealed in a very cinematic way, as a film in itself. He really wanted to take time to look back at what that cinematic appeal was.
  • Bong Joon Ho was particularly happy with the Best Editing and Best Production Design Oscar nominations for the film as he felt the great technicians and masters working in the Korean film industry were getting recognized for the first time.
  • Bong Joon Ho first conceived of the film as a play, but the first line itself got him thinking about the camera positions. He just realized that he had to do this as a film, as always.
  • Bong Joon Ho did a lot of sketches of the basic structures for the rich house. He further revealed that when the production designer consulted an actual architect to design this house, the architect saw the sketches and was like, "No idiot would build houses this way. This is ridiculous."
  • Jeong-eun Lee, who plays the housekeeper, had collaborated twice with Bong Joon Ho before this film. She played a supporting role in Mother (2009) and also voiced the titular pig in Okja (2017).
  • At the Critics' Choice Awards, Bong Joon Ho felt his face flush and turn red when Todd Phillips came over and said he saw the film three times and felt many things watching it.
  • When asked if he thought this was his best film, Bong Joon Ho shrugged, saying his next one is the best, and then paused to say he hopes so.
  • First South Korean film to be nominated and to win the Oscar for "Best International Film" (2020) which was also the first year the category was renamed from "Best Foreign Film".
  • Nominated for six Academy Awards (2020). It won four: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best international Feature. It was also nominated for Best Film Editing and Best Production Design, but did not win in those categories.
  • First film in a foreign language to win the Academy Award for "Best Picture", and also the first movie to win the awards for both "Best Picture" and "Best International Film" (formerly Best Foreign Language Film).
  • The third film to win both the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture, after The Lost Weekend (1945) and Marty (1955). Of the three films, only this and the latter won unanimously at Cannes.
  • The house was designed to feature lines that clearly divide the Parks and Kims.
  • The Parks are in their own way parasites: each member of the family is in sore need of a companion, as they can't rely on each other properly.
  • Speaking about the black-and-white release of the film, Bong Joon Ho hoped that with the colors gone, viewers could see more clearly the contrast in living conditions between the rich and poor families.
  • Director Bong Joon Ho said that for a scene that featured the mother and daughter, the mother's best performance was the third take and the daughter's the fifth, so editor Jinmo Yang split the shot in half to stitch together the best performance for each actor.
  • "A Glass of Soju," the first end credit song, is written by Bong Joon Ho and sang by Woo-sik Choi. The original title was "564 years," which is the number of years Ki-woo would have to work to earn the money to buy the house.
  • The family that Kang-ho Song's character, Ki Taek, works for in the film shares the same family name as his character in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002). His character in that film is called Park Dong-jin and is a rich businessman similar to Park Dong-ik from this film.
  • First film since The Departed (2006) to win the Academy Award for Best Director without being nominated for Best Cinematography.
  • (at around 19 mins) The peculiar self-portrait, made by her young son, that Mrs. Park (Yeo-jeong Jo) proudly shows off to Ki-Woo (Woo-sik Choi) on his first visit to the Parks, bears a very strong resemblance (altered, of course, to resemble a child's work) to the wild-eyed painting by the eccentric Mrs. Antony (Marion Lorne) of St. Francis, which her mad son Bruno (Robert Walker) finds amusing, in the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, Strangers on a Train (1951). (A clip from the Hitchcock scene is viewable on YouTube.) That this resemblance is probably not coincidental is attested to by the numerous Hitchcockian themes and tropes scattered throughout this film, as well as the very prominent placement of a Hitchcock video in one shot.
  • Italian actor/singer Gianni Morandi commented in an interview that he was overjoyed that the movie featuring his performance of the song "In Ginocchio Da Te" ("On My Knees Before You") won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Morandi called the film "exceptional" and director Bong Joon Ho "a genius". He also praised legendary Ennio Morricone, who did not compose the piece (its authors were Migliacci and Zambrini) but was responsible for its musical arrangement.
  • According to editor Jinmo Yang, he edited the film in Final Cut Pro 7 - an editing program that Apple stopped supporting in 2011, on a computer that hasn't had a software update since 2014. He received an Oscar nomination for his work.
  • The second wholly non-American film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, after France's The Artist (2011).

Spoilers

  • (at around 11 mins) In the movie, Ki-woo's forged certificate of enrollment shows it's supposedly from Yeonsei University, director Bong Joon Ho's alma mater.
  • For the flood scene of the "poor" house, face mud mask was used to give the sewage water its brownish look.
  • (at around 1h 14 mins) The song playing in the background when the Kims get possession of Park's house is "In ginocchio da te" by Gianni Morandi. In the 1960s, Morandi was a star in Italian "musicarello" movies: it was usually a comedy genre, focused on the differences between poor and rich classes, just like Parasite is.
  • Bong Joon Ho's statement for the film: "For people of different circumstances to live together in the same space is not easy. It is increasingly the case in this sad world that humane relationships based on co-existence or symbiosis cannot hold, and one group is pushed into a parasitic relationship with another. In the midst of such a world, who can point their finger at a struggling family, locked in a fight for survival, and call them parasites? It's not that they were parasites from the start. They are our neighbors, friends and colleagues, who have merely been pushed to the edge of a precipice. As a depiction of ordinary people who fall into an unavoidable commotion, this film is: a comedy without clowns, a tragedy without villains, all leading to a violent tangle and a headlong plunge down the stairs. You are all invited to this unstoppably fierce tragicomedy."
  • For Bong Joon Ho, Parasite is a tragicomedy that depicts the humor, horror and sadness that arise when you want to live a prosperous life together, but then you run up against the reality of just how difficult that can be.
  • In a 2019 interview with Vulture, filmmaker Bong Joon Ho explained the very ending of the movie and debunked the notion that Ki-woo actually might ever be able to become rich enough to buy the house and allow his father to emerge from its underground bunker: "Maybe if the movie ended where they hug and fades out, the audience can imagine, 'Oh, it's [possible] to buy that house,' but the camera goes down to that half-basement. It's quite cruel and sad, but I thought it was being real and honest with the audience. You know and I know - we all know that this kid isn't going to be able to buy that house. I just felt that frankness was right for the film, even though it's sad."
  • The coffee table was designed specially for the film. The makers measured up the table so that three adults could fit under it.
  • Talking about peaches in the film, Bong Joon Ho revealed that while in college, he went on a training trip where one of his friends said he was severely allergic to peaches. Bong thought he was kidding, but when some other kid went to a nearby grocery store and jokingly tossed a peach at the boy, he turned bright red and had an attack, even though it didn't hit him directly. Bong found the fact that peaches were pretty to look at but could also be used to attack someone very cinematic.
  • (at around 7 mins) When the suseok rock that is gifted to the Kims as a charm for wealth and good fortune, Chung-sook says they should have gotten real food instead. This represents how hope is portrayed in this film as a false reassurance, as encouraging as it is if it can't give anything lasting or solid then it's eventually worthless. This is shown by Geun-sae using the rock to smash down Kim Ki-woo and escape and whose rampage destroys the Kims and Parks.
  • (at around 4 mins) Following the scene with the Kim's folding pizza boxes, the CEO tells them 1 out of 4 are rejected, followed by a long shot of the family. One out of four of the family members end up "rejected" in the end.
  • (at around 1h 15 mins) Ram-don, the dish that Yeon-gyo asks Chung-sook to prepare as they are returning from their camping trip, is actually a term invented specifically for this film by subtitle translator Darcy Paquet, combining the names of the noodles used to make it, ramen and udon. He felt the dish's actual name, jjapaguri, would be too difficult for English speakers to understand. The beef that Yeon-gyo asks be mixed in is Hanu, one of the most expensive meats in the world, which serves as a commentary on the Parks that they add premium beef to a dish regarded in Korea as a budget comfort food.
  • (at around 2h) Towards the end of the movie, when Kim Ki-taek steals food from the fridge of the new house owners, the magnets which attach the pictures of the family to the fridge all show motives related to Switzerland: the Swiss national flag, the flag of the city of Bern and three touristic hot spots in Switzerland (the Kapellbrücke in Lucerne, the Jungfraujoch and the Harderkulm). This might indicate that the family is actually from Switzerland and that Kim Ki-taek mistakes them to be from Germany because they speak German (which is spoken in Switzerland as well). Of course, they could also be Germans who traveled in Switzerland.
  • (at around 2h) Kim Ki-taek talks about how the house was sold to foreigners. There are visual references to Switzerland, but in the American subtitles, he thinks they're German: "It turns out Germans eat more than just sausage and beer". In the German dubbing, he says they're Americans: they "don't have just burgers and Coke in the fridge".
  • (at around 1h 35 mins) When Kang-ho Song's character (the father) is running through the streets in the rain, you can see him slightly roll his ankle and wince in pain.
  • The Kim family's house, alleyway and entire neighborhood were all built on a massive set that doubled as a water tank, so that the whole thing could be flooded.
  • The films title is a clever reference to the end of the film. A parasite is an organism that attaches to a host and feeds off of it from the inside of that host. Because he can't gain wealth, the father is forced to feed off of the wealth and resources of a much richer family, while living inside of their house.
  • (at around 53 minutes) The Kim mother Chun-sook (Hye-jin Jang) is seen throwing a hammer in the lawn of the Park house. She had won a medal in this athletic event. This medal can be seen in the beginning of the movie in her house.
  • Da-song's birthday party at the end was supposed to be "Native American themed", with the masked Dong-ik and Ki-taek as the "evil Indians" pretending to attack "Jessica" (Ki-jeong). In a tragic example of dark irony, however, Ki-jeong is lethally wounded by the crazed Geun-se, whose face is smeared with food and blood in a way to resemble Native Americans war paintings.
  • As in other collaborations with director Bong Joon Ho, like Memories of Murder (2003) and The Host (2006) , actor Kang-ho Song plays a character who initially seems mostly comedic but becomes darker and tragic in the last act.
  • The scholar stone is meant to represent both the hope for upward social mobility, in a vein similar to the American Dream, and the burden of carrying such hopes, to the point that it literally bashes in Ki-woo's skull after it gives away his location, allowing the housekeeper's husband to attack him. Before the sequence at the party, the stone also floats while in the sewage water for Ki-woo to find, suggesting for that scene that it's fake and hollow and cannot be used to dream of a better life, foreshadowing that it will be Ki-woo's, and the family's, downfall.
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