Award-winning filmmaker Bong Joon-ho has officially made Academy Award history this year with his latest film Parasite, the first foreign film to win the award for Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards. Since its release in October 2019, critics, cinephiles, and casual movie-goers alike have consistently raved about this movie, even for months on end after its release. Some movie theaters across the nation have even started to rerelease the film for a limited time showings.
Bong’s disturbing, satirical thriller about wealth disparity, socioeconomic hardship, and omnipresence of poverty has taken the world by storm. In the year of arthouse social horror films, like Ari Aster’s Midsommar and Jordan Peele’s Us, Bong’s Parasite added the pièce de résistance to the genre, earning four Academy Awards and irrevocably infecting the mind of every viewer from the beginning to the end of the film’s roughly two-hour runtime, and yes, even long after the credits stop rolling.
So, if you haven’t had the chance to see Parasite in theaters, where can you catch it?
So, what is ‘Parasite’ all about?
Every so often, a film comes out that can only be seen to be believed and can only be described in a word, “indescribable.” Last year, that film was Parasite. Bong Joon-ho’s newest feature film is a story told best when audiences enter Bong’s world of clashing socioeconomic cultures and lifestyles knowing as little as possible about the plot itself. So, without giving too much away, Parasite follows the complex, analogous connection between a family drowning in poverty and another much wealthier family, exploring the boundaries between them as dark secrets and revelations begin to come to light.
The film stars Kang-ho Song from Snowpiercer and Woo-sik Choi from Train to Busan as father and son of the impoverished family seeking ways to improve their family’s status and quality of life. They are joined by a very talented cast including Sun-Kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, So-dam Park, Jeong-eun Lee, Hye-jin Jang, and Ji-so Jung.
Though the social thriller maintains an air of wildly entertaining, twisting and turning black comedy, for director Bong Joon-ho, the film reflects his own personal fears of complete and utter social collapse. “The true horror and fear of Parasite isn’t just about how the present-day situation is bad but that it will only continue to get worse,” Bong explains in an interview with Vulture, “That’s my own fear in my life. I’m 50 now, so I’m going to die in about 30 years. My son is 23 now. When he reaches middle age, after I die, will it get better? I don’t know. I’m not so hopeful. Still, we have to try to live happily. We can’t cry every day.”
Where can you watch ‘Parasite’?
It’s a great time to have a Hulu subscription, since Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite will be exclusively available on the streaming service. Hulu was granted exclusive rights to Parasite after the merger between the independent film distributor Neon and Hulu in 2017. Since the partnership was established, Hulu was granted exclusive rights to stream Parasite in addition to other films distributed by Neon, such as Craig Gillespie’s 2017 biographical comedy-drama I, Tonya and Nacho Vigalondo’s 2016 fantasy-drama Colossal.
If you don’t have a subscription to Hulu, don’t worry. There are other ways to watch this year’s Best Picture and most infectious hit since Ari Aster’s Hereditary. Bong’s Parasite is also available for rent and purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Vudu.
Where can you watch Bong Joon-ho’s other movies?
Can’t get enough of Parasite and want to see more of Bong Joon-ho’s work as soon as possible? Or, can’t get on the Parasite bandwagon and want to see if anything else on Bong’s filmography would be better suited for your tastes? Either way, Bong Joon-ho, a filmmaker famous for switching between genres, has a little something for all types of movie-goers.
One of the primary themes of Parasite is an exploration of social disorder when it comes to wealth disparity and the equally troublesome complications provided by each. This theme of socioeconomic warfare is found again, on an apocalyptic level in Bong’s 2013 sci-fi dystopian action film Snowpiercer.
Based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer takes place in a man made ice age where the few who have survived have taken shelter on a circumnavigational train, called the Snowpiercer. After nearly two decades of surviving aboard the train, the passengers have found themselves divided according to social status, with the less wealthy passengers forced into squalor. Meanwhile, a revolutionary spirit is growing among the lower-class passengers, who have their own plans to change the class system. Bong Joon-ho’s first English-language film, Snowpiercer is available for streaming on Netflix. It is also available for rent on YouTube and Google Play.
One of Bong’s earlier feature films, The Host is available for free streaming on both YouTube and Tubi. It’s also available to rent on Amazon Prime. The film revolves around the terror and destruction caused by a mysterious river monster, whose rampage leads him on to abduct a young girl. Meanwhile, her loving family risks everything to save her. The film stars Kang-ho Song from Parasite, once again playing the role of the family patriarch.
The strength of familial bonds are explored once again in Bong’s crime thriller, Mother, which follows a desperate mother searching for a killer who may have framed her disabled son for the brutal murder of a young woman. The film is available to stream for free on Tubi and available on Shudder, a streaming service with a selection exclusive to the horror and thriller genre. Mother is also available to rent on Vudu.
Directed and co-written by Bong, Okja, explores the bond between man and beast in a powerful story of friendship between a fantastical creature named Okja and her human companion, Mija. Their friendship is threatened when a family-owned conglomerate, led by a vapid CEO played by Tilda Swinton, makes it their very mission to abduct and use Okja for their own malicious purposes. Okja herself is voiced by Parasite’s Jeong-eon Lee. Okja is available to stream on Netflix as an original film from the streaming platform.
The best film of the year is now the biggest film of the year.
For one week only, Bong Joon Ho’s digitally remastered PARASITE is playing on over 200 @IMAX screens across the country.
The story of ‘Parasite’ isn’t quite over yet
If you simply couldn’t get enough of the world of Parasite and need more, then HBO and Bong Joon-ho have the perfect gift in the making for you. The Academy Award-winning director is currently in talks with HBO to create a limited series expanding the film’s story and covering any loose ends. “So I had all these key ideas accumulated from when I started writing the script,” Bong explained to TheWrap. “I just couldn’t include all those ideas in the two-hour running time of the film, so they’re all stored in my iPad and my goal with this limited series is to create a six-hour-long film.”
However, don’t start holding your breath for a release date just yet. The limited series is still in the beginning stages of talks and pre-production, so many details and logistics have not yet been decided and set into place. When TheWrap asked Bong when fans of Parasite could expect to see the story continue to unfold. Bong teased back, “Maybe 2027.”
Parasite will be available to stream Hulu starting April 8th, so if you don’t have a Hulu account of your own, be prepared to be a streaming service parasite on your Hulu-subscriber pals this spring to catch this Academy Award-winning instant classic.