Parasite (Korean: 기생충; RR: Gisaengchung) is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. It stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin, and Lee Jung-eun, and follows the members of a poor family who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family and infiltrate their household by posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.
Parasite premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2019, where it became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or. It was then released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment on 30 May 2019. The film was considered by many critics to be the best film of 2019 as well as one of the best films of the decade, and is the 46th highest-rated film of all-time on Metacritic. It grossed over $258 million worldwide on a production budget of about $15 million, becoming the highest-grossing South Korean film.
Among its numerous accolades, Parasite won a leading four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film, becoming the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.[note 1]
It was also the first South Korean film to receive Academy Award recognition, and one of three films to win both the Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture.[note 2] It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language, and became the first non-English film to win the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. At the 56th Grand Bell Awards, Parasite earned a leading eleven nominations with five wins.
The Kim family—father Ki-taek, mother Chung-sook, son Ki-woo and daughter Ki-jung—live in a small semi-basement apartment (banjiha), have low-paying temporary jobs as pizza box folders, and struggle to make ends meet. University student Min-hyuk, a friend of Ki-woo’s, gives the family a scholar’s rock meant to promise wealth. Leaving to study abroad, he suggests that Ki-woo pose as a university student to take over his job as an English tutor for the daughter of the wealthy Park family, Da-hye. Ki-woo poses as a Yonsei University student and is hired by the Parks.
The Kim family recommends one another as unrelated and highly qualified workers to take over as servants of the Parks. Ki-jung poses as “Jessica” and, using Ki-Woo as a reference, becomes an art therapist to the Parks’ young son, Da-song. Ki-jung frames Mr Park’s chauffeur for having sex in the car, then recommends Ki-taek to replace him. Finally, Chung-sook takes over as the Parks’ housekeeper after the Kims exploit the peach allergy of the long-time housekeeper, Moon-gwang, to convince Mrs Park that she has tuberculosis.
Director Parasite (2019):