The movie, Parasite, has been gaining international recognition. As a person with a Korean background, it was fascinating to see how such Korean cultures contained in the movie were able to be communicated worldwide. Throughout various international film festival nominations, many different versions of posters were produced as well – which will be the topic of the post today.
The original Korean poster was designed by Kim Sang-man, a film director who started his career as a poster designer. Despite the fact that the intension of the designer is not really known, the design choices communicate the content of the movie. The major characters are featured with numerous significant objects used in the movie which deliver menacing feeling within settling and organized tone. The semi-anonymity of the characters, their eyes being covered, also adds the dramatic tension to reveal the genre of the film. The socioeconomic classes of the families are specified with the colour of the boxes covering the characters’ eyes – colour white is used for the Kim’s family, while colour black is used for Parks. The custom designed typography adapting parasitic plant features also resembles the theme of the movie, depicting how people in society are closely connected, while “feeding” each other.
The poster designed by La Boca, in U.K, is divided into 9 blocks, emphasizing the architectural spacing of the movie. The divided, but yet still connected “rooms” represent important places of the movie, containing signifiers of the film – such as peach, toilet and scholar’s rock, etc. Its unique stylistic choices alongside the bright and vibrant colours, would be the Oscar under the living room table, although it was released ahead of the Oscar nominations. While carrying the designer’s personal prediction, it adds wit, as a hidden element.
Another example of alternative UK poster is made by Andrew Bannister, which is designed to be reversible. The letters of the title divide the plane in half, vividly presenting the contrast of two different families. The characters are walking down and up the stairs depending on the point of view. This illustrates the sharply-setup-storyline that happens based on a single architecture, both metaphorically and physically depicts contradicting socioeconomic classes. Colour use is also echoing the theme, while the highlights and shadows are done with the colours from the other half for the balanced harmony. This poster also depicts few of the main signifiers such as the self-portrait and the scholar’s rock.
Meanwhile the previous poster chose to represent the story with use of clear lines, two-dimensional treatment of the colours, ad simplified figures – here is another alternative poster made in Korea targeting the international audience. Unique enough, the entire poster is done with ink wash painting, which connects to the concept of the scholar’s rock functioning as a fortune teller. Placing the sueseok (scholar’s rock) as the main background feature, the two families from different socioeconomic status are positioned. Interestingly, the water reflection of the characters is reversed, to emphasize the similarities and differences of the characters as members of the society.
“Check out the Brand New International Poster for Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite.” Little White Lies, lwlies.com/articles/bong-joon-ho-parasite-new-international-poster/.
“Movie Poster of the Week: The Posters of ‘Parasite.’” MUBI, 24 Jan. 2020, mubi.com/notebook/posts/movie-poster-of-the-week-the-posters-of-parasite.