Director of Oscar-Winning Parasite Talks Set Design

Director of Oscar-Winning Parasite Talks Set Design

  • Korean director Bong Joon Ho and his film Parasite won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film at the Oscars this past weekend.
  • This made Parasite the first foreign language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, making this year’s Academy Awards historic.
  • In the IndieWire article below, the director discusses how they designed the visually beautiful set of the movie.

Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or-winning Parasite has been praised for its deep insight into class warfare, but its set design is equally impressive: The movie finds a poor family conning its way into the affluent Park household, gradually taking over their lives, and an estimated 60 percent of “Parasite” takes place in the wealthy Park family home. Most viewers may not realize that the entire set was built from scratch.

In the movie, this marvel of modern architecture was designed by a fictional architect named Namgoong Hyeonja. In truth, it was the brainchild of “Parasite” production designer Lee Ha Jun.

“Since Mr. Park’s house is built by an architect in the story, it wasn’t easy finding the right approach to designing the house,” Lee explained in a translated email interview with IndieWire. “I’m not an architect, and I think there’s a difference in how an architect envisions a space and how a production designer does. We prioritize blocking and camera angles while architects build spaces for people to actually live in and thus design around people. So I think the approach is very different.”

According to Bong, the challenge he gave his “Snowpiercer” production designer was not only to create a believably “visually beautiful” set, but a stage that served the precise needs of his camera, compositions, and characters, while embodying his film’s rich themes. In an interview with IndieWire, Bong described the home as “its own universe inside this film.” He added that he took pleasure in hearing that the famous directors on this year’s Cannes jury — which included Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Kelly Reichardt — were all convinced that the movie took place in a real home.  In truth, Bong asked his production designer to create an “open set,” built on an outdoor lot.

The Park family home is one of the most astounding pieces of production design in recent cinematic memory, and the story behind its creation adds a whole new layer of complexity to Bong’s masterpiece. Read more about it in the rest of IndieWire’s article here.

Be sure to catch Parasite at Hopewell Theater one night only this Wednesday, February 12 at 7pm!

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