Everyone funneling in and out of film festivals this year can’t stop talking about Parasite, the next effort from Snowpiercer and Okja filmmaker Bong Joon-ho. That’s partly because there are a lot of surprise twists that transform the story before your eyes into something completely unexpected. Underneath it all, though, Bong says the movie is “not really talking about the evil aspect of a human. It’s really about what drives them to these explosive violent moments.”
“I’m not a sociologist, but I think all creators are very sensitive to their surroundings and all I do is try to portray what I encounter in my daily life,” the director says at EW and People’s studio out of the Toronto International Film Festival. “Even just a second with another person, you think about that person’s class, you get to smell them, so it’s a very natural, all-surrounding thing.”
Starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, and Chang Hyae-jin, the film follows the Kims, a down-on-their-luck family of scammers whose eldest son gets himself a well-paying job tutoring at the home of the wealthy Park family. “It’s about the rich and the poor, but that almost sounds too serious,” Bong teases with a coy smile.
After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, Parasite received the Palme d’Or prize, an award that often points to early Oscar contenders.
Just like his cast, Bong says, “The characters in the film, they are also people who are very far from violence in their daily lives. They’re nice. Sometimes they are very child-like but it’s the strange situations that surround them that sort of drives them into these moments of violence.”
Choi, playing the Kims’ son, adds, “After making this movie, I realized in real life there’s no actual specific villain. Anyone can be a villain, too. So, it gave me a thought that you really have to build up your relationship with your neighbor.”
Parasite will open in New York and Los Angeles on Oct. 11.