There are so many curious things on display in the first piece of key art for Bong Joon-Ho's latest film Parasite.There is the obvious dead body in the bottom corner. However, the censorship on the various characters' eyes -- star Song Kang-Ho is still very recognizable as the main figure here -- invites a closer look.
Why is the boy in the doorway carrying a large rock?
Why is there a tipi on the property of their modernist home?
What about the younger boy with the mechanical arm?
In spite of the film's title, the director has been clear that this is a family drama, and not a film about literal parasites, or alien invasions. Considering Bong's superb and varied filmography, which has fluctuated between science fiction, murder mysteries, and domestic drama (often several of these in the same film), any of these things is possible. The green tint here does not imply 'lush' or 'healthy' but rather a toxic malaise. Perhaps the most out of place thing here is the brightly coloured beach ball at the centre of the one sheet.
One thing I love about good South Korean movie posters is that they straddle the line between glossy photographic marketing and uncluttered family portrait. This one adds a whole 'crime scene photo', dossier of clues, angle to things. Are the characters looking at the boy with the prosthetic arm, remembering the past, or looking at the moviegoer in the lobby of the theatre where this poster might conceivably hang?
The good news is that American distributor NEON, who in their short history have put out a challenging mix of entertaining and cult films (I Tonya, The Beach Bum, The Bad Batch) should be giving the film a wide theatrical release. At the very least, wider than Bong's previous film, Okja, which was released by Netflix and a only a very few select cinemas.