Oscars: South Korea Selects ‘Parasite’ for International Feature Film Category

Parasite - TIFF - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of TIFF

Bong Joon-ho’s black comedy, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year, follows a low-income family working their way into a rich family’s lives as household employees.

South Korea has selected Bong Joon-ho's Parasite as its entry for the best international feature film category at the 2020 Oscars.

Parasite won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The genre-busting black comedy is Bong’s second shot at the Oscars after Mother was selected by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) in 2006, but didn't make the final shortlist. 

The film follows unemployed driver Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), his wife, Choong Sook (Jang Hye-jin), and their college-age children as they struggle financially and aspire to live a rich life. Things look up for the Kim family when the children are hired as a tutor and art therapist to the rich Park family. 

A richly layered film touching on socioeconomic issues, The Hollywood Reporter's review described Parasite as "generally gripping and finely crafted, standing up well as Bong’s most mature state-of-the-nation statement since Memories of Murder in 2003."

Parasite sold worldwide via CJ Entertainment and Neon and is scheduled for North America release on Oct. 11 in New York and Los Angeles ahead of the awards seasons. 

Despite its strong homegrown film industry and stellar names such a Lee Chang-Dong (Burning) and Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden), South Korea has never won the international feature film category or made the final shortlist. 

An independent jury led by Kim Young-Jin, programming director at Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) picked Parasite from a short list of eight features to represent Korea in the Oscars race. 

After the successful opening in June, Parasite grossed over $71.3 million domestically and is the first Cannes-winning film that broke 10 million in ticket sales at the Korean box office, a symbolic figure in the country.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held Feb. 9, 2020.