Parasite has made history as the first Korean film to be take home the award for best picture at the Oscars.
In fact, the big prize was one of four wins on the night, with Bong Joon-ho also picking up the statuettes for best director, original screenplay and international film.
Add to that its wins at the BAFTAS, Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards, and it’s no wonder the director was planning to drink until next morning to celebrate following his latest success.
It has only been out in the UK for a few days, but is no doubt one of the most talked about films of the year.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What’s Parasite about?
Parasite is a social satire about two families, the poor Kim family and the rich Park family.
The Kims live in a squalid basement flat, while the Parks lead an Instagram-perfect life.
But when the Kims are gifted a scholar’s rock (Korean stones that are believed to bring wisdom), their fortunes start to change.
Led by the son of the family, who becomes a tutor for the Parks’ daughter, the Kims infiltrate the lives of the wealthy family one by one, telling the odd lie along the way.
But just when the Kims start getting used to the added perks of their new employers, things take a very dark turn.
Capitalism, greed and class discrimination are the stand-out themes.
Who’s the director?
This is the seventh feature film from South Korean director Bong.
The 50-year-old filmmaker is known for his political commentary, black humour and long takes which incorporate multiple on-screen happenings.
Mixing genres, playing with rhythm and sudden mood shifts are also his trademarks.
He had already achieved mainstream success with 2017 adventure Okja, about a genetically modified super-pig, and 2013 climate-change disaster movie Snowpiercer.
However, Parasite has now firmly established him as one of the world’s leading filmmakers.
What’s the inspiration?
Bong came up with the idea for Parasite in 2013, prompted by the notion that everyone loves to spy on the private lives of strangers.
The director himself was briefly a maths tutor for a rich family when he was a student, but unlike Ki-woo in the film, he was fired after just a few months. He says it’s because he was horrible at maths.
Bong doesn’t specifically label any of his characters as villains, and the identity of the parasites of the title is open to interpretation.
In his director’s statement he calls the film a comedy without clowns, a tragedy without villains, all leading to a violent tangle and a headlong plunge down the stairs.
Is it subtitled?
Yes. The story is set in South Korea, and the actors speak Korean throughout.
The film did not qualify for the best picture category in the Golden Globes for this very reason, as the Globes stipulate each nominee must feature more than 50% English dialogue.
This is why the Oscars win is such an epic victory; Parasite is not only the first Korean film to take home the best picture prize, but the first of any foreign language films to win.
Some might argue that the The Artist, which won best picture in 2012, was a French film, however it was silent – and also set in Hollywood and distributed by The Weinstein Co in the US.
Bong was also the only BAME filmmaker to make the best director category.
What age rating is it?
Parasite has a 15 rating, listing strong, bloody violence, language, sex and sex references as features of the film.
How long is it?
It has a running time of two hours and 12 minutes.
Who’s in it?
The film stars the director’s frequent collaborator, actor Song Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek – an unemployed and unambitious 50-something, and patriarch of the Kim family.
Other lead cast members include Jang Hye-jin as his supportive wife Chung-sook; Choi Woo-shik as his college-age son Ki-woo, and Park So-dam as his cynical twenty-something daughter Ki-jung.
Despite their critically acclaimed performances, none of the stars were nominated in any of the Oscar acting categories.
The language barrier is likely to have impeded their chances, but it obviously didn’t stop the Academy from recognising the film as a whole.
What are people saying about it?
Parasite was already a massive hit with audiences and critics in South Korea (where it came out in May) and the US (October) before it arrived here in the UK, which has followed suit.
Critics have called it a masterpiece, hailing Bong as one of the best filmmakers in the world. Some have even compared him to master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock.
Parasite had the most successful opening weekend in America since La La Land in 2016, making it the best-ever performing foreign language film at the box office.
It has since grossed more than $160m (£124m) worldwide.
Movie aggregation website IMDB scores it a high 8.6, based on more than 200,000 user ratings, while Rotten Tomatoes critics rate it 99% fresh, based on 390 reviews.
What is the #BongHive?
The movie has spawned a host of memes on social media, with fans of the film adopting the hashtag #BongHive.
Initially set up by three young writers, the film’s distributor Neon has wasted no time capitalising on the social following.
Merchandise has followed, including T-shirts, hats and a ringtone.
Bong, who is not on social media, says he is grateful for the positive response.
Are they making a TV show?
HBO is reportedly planning to adapt the film into an English language TV series, with Bong and Vice director Adam McKay heading up the production.
Bong told Deadline he wanted to cram in all the ideas that wouldn’t fit into the two-hour film, and has said he wants to expand on the story rather than remake it.
It is not yet known whether this production will be set in the US or South Korea.
What has Bong said about his awards success?
The filmmaker appeared stunned as the awards just kept on coming.
When he was called on stage to collect the directing prize, he said: After winning best international feature, I thought I was done for the day and ready to relax.
He then quoted Martin Scorsese, his fellow nominee, saying: When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart, ‘What is the most personal, is the most creative’.
He added: I will drink until next morning.
How have people in South Korea reacted?
It’s a momentous win, so people in Bong’s home country are understandably very happy.
Can you believe that Parasite won the Academy best picture? South Korea’s biggest newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, said in a headline. It rewrote the Academy’s 92-year-old history.
Bong, Parasite and other Oscar-related news dominated search terms at major internet portal sites on Monday, despite the country being preoccupied with the outbreak of coronavirus in nearby China.
South Korea has had 27 cases reported, although no deaths.
However, any worries were on hold on Monday as people celebrated Parasite’s milestone win.
President Moon Jae-in tweeted to say he is proud of Bong and his staff, and particularly grateful to them for giving courage and pride to our people who are overcoming difficulties.
At Bong’s former university, Seoul’s Yonsei University, students belonging to a school film club watched the Academy Award ceremony together.
It’s deeply meaningful for Korean movies and this will open the path for further development. It’s such a great honour. I’m speechless, said Kim Nam-hoon, 21.
Jeong Ho-cheol, a 26-year-old student, praised Bong for pleasing both movie critics and crowds. His way of dealing with the underside of Korean society and problems such as rich-poor gaps and the way he expresses those issues are very expressive, he said
Park Chan-wook, a prominent South Korean movie director who is regarded as Bong’s main rival in their home country, joined the congratulations.
It is a huge blessing to work in the same industry as a person as talented as Bong and being able to call him a friend, he said in an interview with the Munhwa Ilbo newspaper.
What other big awards has Parasite already won?
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and was unanimously voted the winner of the Palme d’Or – the first Korean film to win the prestigious prize.
It won the Golden Globe for best foreign language film too, while Bong shared the best director prize with Sam Mendes (1917) at the Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as taking best foreign language film.
At the BAFTAs, it won the awards for original screenplay and film not in the English language.
When can I see it?
Parasite is out in 150 UK cinemas now, and will then be released in a further 300 from mid-February.
It will also come to Amazon Prime Video in the summer.