Palme d’Or at Cannes Festival in 2019, the film directed by South-Korean Bong Joon-Ho is a joyful and clever cop comedy.

By Jacques Braunstein

Reading time 2 min.



Referring to Henri-Georges Clouzot and Claude Chabrol (not really the most fashionablefrench directors) during his acceptance speech, the South-Korean director Bong Joon-Ho won the Palme d’Or in Cannes with Parasite. He talks about a family of con artists: the son gets hired as an English teacher for the daughter of a rich family, then he seduces her.  He recommands his sister as an art teacher for the little brother. His father joins them as a driver and his mother becomes the family’s maid… Each of them pretends he barely know the others. At first the tone is light, but the architect house, which is a wonderful set for the film, hides a heavy secret that is going to get in the way of their really good plan…

going from light comedy to thriller
and from comedy of manners to social drama

Bong Joon-Ho is a master of all categories, going from light comedy to thriller and from comedy of manners to social drama. From gag to horror! Technically, it’s not far from the perfect film, even though the process is repetitive at the end of the two-hours feature film. It seemed to us that Parasite only had a true flaw: a topic too close to the one of Shoplifters, last year’s Palme directed by the Japanese Hirokazu Kore-Eda. But on the contrary the same causes produced the same effects. And the 2019 jury supervised by the Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant) also gave the film his regards because it combines a sharp look over social differences in a more and more dual society, and the fact that love exists in families much more generously than in Western social cinema.

While his country celebrates its 100 years of cinema, the South-Korean director wins the Palme d’Or for the first time. And it’s fair. Last year, successful but really austere Burning of Lee Chang-Dong returned empty-handed. In 2017, Bong Joon-Ho, was left aside from the prize list with Okja. Pedro Almodóvar, the jury president, refusing to award a Netflix movie. This year, the Korean steals the Palm from him whereas all the journalists thought Pain and Glory would receive it. Which is quite ironic. We might as well quote in 2004 and 2009, Park Chan-Wook who only got the jury prize twice with Old Boy and Thirst.

The common sin to all these feature films? They are genre films that the festival has always awarded less gladly. Which is the case for Parasite, that we might as well consider as the second comedy to receive the Palme (after M.A.S.H. in 1970). New country, new styles, new era… A new wind was blowing on the festival thans to this Palme!

  • Parasite
  • Palme d’or
  • Bong Joon-Ho

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