The Architecture in Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE

The Architecture in Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE

Director Bong Joon Ho’s film “Parasite”, this year’s winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s highest honor and  the Oscar winner of the best picture, defies genre and stands out through its authentic, multifaceted and carefully detailed set design. Throughout the hilarious, thrilling story and unpredictable plot, the audiences are confronted with a turbulent mix of emotions and Bong Joon Ho especially wants to make them feel like they have seen an honest portrayal of the world that we currently live in.

The story is about social divide, illustrated by two families. The Kims, a family with two college-age children, are living in a semi-basement apartment, which is not uncommon in South Korea. Their home metaphorical reflects the family’s psyche – still half over ground they still have access sunlight but there is this fear that they can fall even lower…

In order to design a realistic set which mirrors the right atmosphere, Lee Ha Jun has visited and photographed empty towns that were set to be torn down. Those houses with traces of the people who lived there were copied and reconstructed in detail as the Kim family’s crowded street and cramped, cluttered apartment.

The general concept that penetrates the film is verticality. Just like Kims’ semi-basement, the Park family’s modern villa indicates their place in society. It is a house that an avaricious, elitist owner would brag about and has interflowing rooms which allow various perspective views, important for the story. The first floor and garden were built in an emty lot in order to work with natural sunlight, a stylistic instrument also indicating the class standards. The position of the Park house set was constructed specificly with the movement and direction of sun taking into account. The second floor and basement were built on a soundstage.

In the story the villa – elegant with plenty wood, glass and clean lines – was designed by the fictional architect and previous owner Namgoong Hyeonja. In order create a set so real that the audience accept that the characters actually live in it, Lee Ha Jun designed the house in collaboration with architects.

When production designed the fictional Park house, the purpose of the living room was to appreciate the garden. Lee gave the wide, minimal furnished living room a giant wall of glass to create an impressive perspective. The picture on the wall, by Korean artist Seung-mo Park, stands as status symbol and reflect the film’s character – Parasite flows from a silence to the massive wave starting from a thrown rock in a well, then becomes quiet again.

Living spaces normally should feel very mundane and comfortable, threatening this peaceful atmosphere results in fear. The Parks’ chic, tastefully furnished, perfectly lit house is characterized by an oppressive prevailing mood, indicating that something dark is lurking in the home. Something that drives the plot to a completely unexpected place.

Source : architecturaldigest.com

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