Bong Joon-Ho’s celebrated Korean dark comedy-thriller Parasite will be released in a special black-and-white cut on Feb 10 (Mon).
This decolourised version will only be shown at Golden Village Funan, Cathay Orchard and The Projector. The film, about a family of tricksters who con their way into a wealthy household, is expected to win big at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday (Monday morning, local time), where it’s vying for six honours, including Best Picture, Best International Feature, and Best Director.
The regular colour edition of Parasite has been in cinemas here for 32 consecutive weeks since its June 29 release. As of Feb 6, the M18 film has earned $750,000. No word on how long the B&W cut will be screened but a GV rep tells 8days.sg that it’ll in the theatres “as long as there’s demand”.
If you think this is a cash-grab release a la Avengers: Endgame, guess again. Bong had the new version, painstakingly decolourised shot by shot, in the can even before the original movie’s premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it took home the coveted Palm d’or.
The B&W cut made it world premiere at the recent International Film Festival Rotterdam, where Bong also gave a master class. “I think it may be vanity on my part, but when I think of the classics, they’re all in black-and-white,” he said. “So I had this idea that if I turned my films into black and white then they'd become classics.”
He added that he spent much of his childhood watching cinematic masterpieces by Akira Kurosawa and Alfred Hitchcock at home on a B&W TV because his mother forbade him to visit the cinema for fear of “bacteria”. “Of course, there was a time, when all films were in black-and-white. Our generation has no chance, but thanks to digital technology, we can do it.”
You can check out Bong’s master class here:
This isn’t the first time Bong has decolourised his movie; he also did it to 2009’s murder-mystery Mother, starring Won Bin and Kim Hye-Ja.
What effect would the B&W cut of Parasite have on viewers? Bong said they would get a stronger sense of contrast between the rich and poor families. “We can focus more on the texture,” he said. For instance, the rich family’s house will come across as “very glossy and clean”.
“The first time, it felt like I was watching an old movie, a story from long ago,” he said. “But the second time, the movie felt more intense; it felt [more] cruel. If you all watch, you will probably all feel differently.”
Catch the Oscar-cast live on meWATCH and Mediacorp Channel 5 on Feb 10 (Mon), 9am (same day repeat: 10.45pm). The Red Carpet will kick off at 7.30am (same-day repeat: 6pm).