Parasite, a South Korean black comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho won four Oscars tonight: Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film, Best Director and Best Film. This is the first time in history of the Academy Awards that an international films wins four Oscars.
Bong Joon-ho, director of Parasite, also co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. It stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, and Park So-dam, and follows the members of a poor household who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family by infiltrating the household and posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.
The film premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2019, where it became the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or and the first to win with a unanimous vote since 2013’s Blue Is the Warmest Colour. It was then released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment on 30 May 2019. It received universal critical acclaim, and has been hailed as one of the greatest South Korean films ever made and one of the best films of the 2010s. It has grossed $167.6 million worldwide so far, becoming Bong’s highest-grossing release and the highest-grossing film in South Korea.
The Kim family — father Ki-taek, mother Chung-sook, daughter Ki-jeong and son Ki-woo — lives in a small semi-basement apartment. They have low-paying temporary jobs and struggle to make ends meet. One day the family is visited by Min-hyuk, a close friend of Ki-woo’s. Min-hyuk, who is preparing to study abroad, gifts the family a scholar’s rock, meant to promise wealth to whoever possesses it. During a drink after dinner, Min-hyuk suggests to Ki-woo that he should take over his job as a tutor to the wealthy Park family’s daughter, Da-hye. Ki-woo poses as a university student and obtains the tutoring job.
The Kims soon begin to infiltrate the home of the Parks by posing as unrelated but sophisticated and skilled workers to the family. Ki-woo tutors and begins a romance with Da-hye. Ki-jeong poses as a renowned art therapist, who agrees to counsel the Parks’ restless young son, Da-song. Ki-jeong hides her underwear in the back seat of Mr Park’s car, forcing Mr Park to fire the driver when he deduces that he was having sex in the car. Ki-taek, a former valet, is hired as his new driver. Finally, Chung-sook takes over as the Parks’ housekeeper after the Kims exploit the long-time housekeeper’s severe peach allergy and convince Mrs Park that she has tuberculosis. When the Parks leave home to go on a camping trip for Da-song’s birthday, the Kim family revel in the luxuries of the mansion.
While the Parks are out, Moon-gwang, the former housekeeper, returns to the mansion. She reveals a hidden entrance to a secret bunker underneath the house, where her husband, Geun-sae, has been living for over four years to hide from loan sharks. Chaos ensues as Moon-gwang finds out the truth about the Kim family, and she threatens to tell the Parks if they do not, in turn, keep her secret.
Due to inclement weather, the Parks return home early from their camping trip, leaving the Kim family to clean up the house in a hurry, while a brawl breaks out between Moon-gwang, Geun-sae, and the Kims. Geun-sae and a mortally injured Moon-gwang are dragged down the basement and locked up. After Chung-sook serves her dinner, Mrs. Park reveals to her that Da-song had a traumatic experience years ago when he witnessed a ‘ghost’ – Geun-sae – emerging from the basement. As the remaining Kims hide under a coffee table, Ki-taek overhears Mr Park complaining to his wife about Ki-taek’s smell.
The Kims return to their home to find it completely flooded due to the storm and end up spending the night in a gymnasium with other people affected by the flood. The next day, Mrs Park decides to host a lavish party for Da-song’s birthday. Ki-woo heads down to the bunker with the scholar’s rock, finding Moon-gwang dead. He is then ambushed by Geun-sae, who escapes the basement and bludgeons Ki-woo with the rock. Seeking to avenge Moon-gwang’s death, Geun-sae takes a kitchen knife and stabs Ki-jeong in the chest in front of the horrified guests. Chaos ensues as Da-song suffers a seizure upon seeing Geun-sae and a struggle breaks out between Geun-sae and Chung-sook until she impales him with a skewer. In the chaos, Ki-taek, upset at Mr. Park’s repeated insults and his reaction to Geun-sae’s smell, takes a knife and fatally stabs Mr Park before fleeing the scene.
Weeks later, Ki-woo has survived the attack and wakes up from his coma. He and Chung-sook are put on probation for fraud, while Ki-jeong has died from her injury and Ki-taek, who is wanted for Mr Park’s murder, has gone missing. Ki-woo continues to scope out the Parks’ home, which has now been sold to a German family, and sees a message in Morse code from the flickering lights. It is from Ki-taek, who is now living in the bunker. Ki-woo writes a letter to his father, vowing that he will one day earn enough money to purchase the house, free his father, and reunite as a family together.