Here is why twisty Oscar front-runner ‘Parasite’ is probably the most talked-about movie this yr

NEW YORK – A must-see contender has crept into the awards race, and it doesn’t star a psychopathic clown or Brad Pitt’s abs.

Meet “Parasite” (in theaters Friday in New York and Los Angeles, increasing all through October), the bracing, droll and wildly unnerving social thriller that turned the primary Korean-language movie to clinch the distinguished Palme d’Or award at Cannes Movie Pageant.

Within the months main as much as its U.S. launch, Bong Joon-ho’s new film has earned the form of rapturous acclaim most filmmakers might solely dream of, with a excellent 100% optimistic rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes (out of greater than 125 critiques counted), and buzzed-about stops at Toronto and Telluride festivals, the place lots of have been turned away from sold-out screenings. 

Now, “Parasite” is extensively thought of the front-runner to win greatest worldwide characteristic movie (previously referred to as greatest foreign-language movie) at this yr’s Academy Awards, with greater than half of prognosticators on awards website GoldDerby additionally predicting a greatest image nomination. Bong is closely anticipated to select up nods for greatest director and authentic screenplay as properly, following an analogous path to awards glory blazed by Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white “Roma,” which received Mexico its first greatest foreign-language movie Oscar final February. 

So what’s all of the fuss about, and what do you could know getting into? USA TODAY sat down with Bong and the movie’s stars to get the within scoop. 

Evaluate: ‘Parasite’ attaches to your soul with a thought-provoking story of social inequality

Cannes Movie Pageant: Prime prize goes to ‘Parasite,’ first Korean movie to win Palme d’Or

It is an ‘Avengers’-level minefield of potential spoilers 

“Parasite” is a twisty, bloody thrill experience that’s greatest loved in case you go in blind. 

“Don’t look up anything prior,” advises actress Park So-dam. “Just come in without any expectation and no knowledge of the film.”

However in case you want somewhat bit extra to go off of, here is the fundamental gist: Initially envisioned by Bong as a play and set virtually solely indoors, “Parasite” tells the story of two disparate households: the impoverished Kims, who reside in a cramped, subterranean condo doing odd jobs to make ends meet; and the prosperous Parks, whose soft way of life is dutifully run by a small military of chauffeurs, housekeepers and tutors. 

The charismatic however uneducated Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) cons his method into an English tutoring gig for the Parks’ teenage daughter (Jung Ziso), and slowly begins to infiltrate their house: He cleverly deceives the Parks into firing their employees, and convinces them to rent his sister Ki-jung (Park So-dam), mother Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin) and pop Ki-taek (Music Kang-ho). However the Kims’ get-rich scheme goes violently off the rails within the movie’s suspenseful second half, descending into chaos that packs an emotional wallop. 

‘Parasite’ is not a horror film – or is it? 

Though its crawly title suggests bloodsucking physique horror, the R-rated thriller isn’t scary and solely sometimes gory. 

“When the film begins, it feels like your typical dark comedy film, so the audience can just relax and watch it,” Bong says. “Halfway through, there’s a turning point that leads to all these uncontrollable situations and the audience doesn’t have time to wonder, ‘What is the genre?’ They’re just dragged to the endpoint without any time to consider what’s going on. So when they leave the theater, the audience just gives up on trying to define the genre, and that’s what I wanted.” 

The movie explores class divides in darkly humorous trend

To usually literal impact, “Parasite” reveals the upstairs-downstairs dichotomy between wealthy and poor, because the Kims try to raised their hapless circumstances underneath the ft of the blithe Park household. 

“The messages (Bong) is trying to give people about poverty differences and problems are universal,” Choi says. “It has a lot of meanings and metaphors, and you can actually have a conversation about it after.” 

The film’s title is even up for interpretation: “A parasite is an entity that feeds off another thing, but if you look at the film, it’s not important to designate which side is parasitic,” Music says. “Certain characters are parasitic, but the message of the film is that everyone in society has to live in harmony and have respect toward one another.” 

You will by no means have a look at peaches the identical once more

In a film chock-full of placing imagery, one of the crucial memorable is that of a peach, which Ki-jung scrapes of its fuzz. Stealthily, she sprinkles the fuzz on the Parks’ unassuming maid, who’s fiercely allergic and falls in poor health on the job. Fearing she’ll infect their youngsters, the Parks hearth the housekeeper on the spot. 

The fruit has change into the unofficial “mascot” of “Parasite”: Strings of peach emojis regularly accompany tweets concerning the film.

“Peaches are the most cinematic (food), just in terms of the visual aesthetics and the fact that the fuzz is barely visible, so it’s easy to attack someone with,” Bong says. 

Coincidentally, peaches have been additionally central to a different current awards heavyweight: 2017’s “Call Me By Your Name,” wherein Timothee Chalamet’s Elio pleasures himself with the fruit. Bong laughs off the connection between the 2 movies, deadpanning, “I hope it helps all the peach farmers across the world.” 

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