NEON, in partnership with Film at Lincoln Center in New York and the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, is thrilled to present the black and white version of PARASITE to audiences on both coasts. This special presentation of the Academy Award-nominated film will debut at the International Film Festival Rotterdam at the end of January and marks the attainment of a life-long dream of Director Bong Joon Ho’s to create a film in the black & white format which he has long admired. His inspiration stems from F.W Murnau’s 1922 silent horror movie, Nosferatu among other greats. The black and white version of PARASITE was created prior to the film’s premiere in Cannes and will now see its debut in Los Angeles by the American Cinematheque where it will screen at the Egyptian Theater on Friday, January 31. In NY, the alternate version will be presented by Film at Lincoln Center at the Walter Reade Theater on January 30th, and subsequently January 31st – February 6th at the Francesca Beale Theater.
Director Bong remarked on his inspiration behind the project, “Cinema was black and white in the very beginning. There was a time when films were only in black and white, and even throughout the 40s and 60s when color films came into the picture, there were numerous films still in black and white. Black and white is the origin of cinema. Although I became a filmmaker in the 2000s, I idealize the beautiful black and white films by Renoir, Fellini, Kurosawa, John Ford, and the beautiful cinematography of Gregg Toland. I always had this desire to create a black and white film which was shared by my cinematographer Hong Kyung Pyo; so for the first time, we digitally changed my film MOTHER into black and white after it was completed and released. Thankfully, it doesn’t require a huge budget to do so in this digital age, so the cinematographer re-filtered the entire film into black and white, meticulously adjusting the contrast and density for every shot with my help.”
He added, “I’m extremely happy to present PARASITE in black and white and have it play on the big screen. It will be fascinating to see how the viewing experience changes when an identical film is presented in black and white. I watched the black and white version twice now, and at times the film felt more like a fable and gave me the strange sense that I was watching a story from old times. The second time I watched it, the film felt more realistic and sharp as if I was being cut by a blade. It also further highlighted the actors’ performances and seemed to revolve more around the characters. I had many fleeting impressions of this new version, but I do not wish to define them before it is presented. I hope everyone in the audience can compare their own experiences from the color version and find their own path to PARASITE in black and white.”
“The American Cinematheque is thrilled to premiere the PARASITE BLACK AND WHITE for the Los Angeles audience. Our audience shares with Bong the love of black-and-white films and we are excited to experience this version on the big screen at the Egyptian Theatre.”
“Parasite has had such a life at Film at Lincoln Center, beginning with the rapturous New York Film Festival premiere, the overwhelming success of our theatrical run, and two series contextualizing the film: a survey of the late ’90s South Korean renaissance and a retrospective of director Bong.” said FLC Director of Programming Dennis Lim. “We are honored to have another chance to extend its life in our theaters with this special black-and-white version.”
Since winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May, PARASITE has remained both a critical darling and a hit among audiences across the world. PARASITE has had many historic firsts, the latest being the first Korean film and the first Korean director to be nominated for an Oscar. The film garnered six Academy Award nominations including, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature, Best Editing, and Best Production Design. PARASITE also won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and was also nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay. Most recently, the film made history, becoming the first foreign-language film to ever win Outstanding Performance by a Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Theatrically, the film has amassed $148 million worldwide, including $28.5 million in the US.