Parasite ★★★★

It feels silly to compare PARASITE to last year’s breakout films from Korea and Japan, BURNING and SHOPLIFTERS, which elevated Lee Chang-dong and Hirokazu Kore-eda to Oscar-nominated levels of awareness rather than guaranteed slots at Cannes, AFI Fest, etc. Just because they’re from Asia obviously doesn’t mean they’re the same - or even worth comparing at all!!! - and besides, for Bong Joon-ho PARASITE is a significantly smaller film after OKJA and SNOWPIERCER. Yet I think this is happening - especially with regard to SHOPLIFTERS - because these films are tapping into the emotional resonance of international poverty. America’s well-documented distribution of wealth hasn’t showed up as strongly in our own country’s work, but those from abroad seem to do a better job of showing how the have-nots feel about the have’s. PARASITE ventures more into satire and flat-out comedy than the other films, but it maintains a weird vibe throughout that is all its own. As I’m writing about this well before its release, its hard to say much more other than it is a film that any description would ruin its surprises, so I’ll stop here because I don’t feel like clicking the spoilers button.

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