To those who have been following Korean filmmaking virtuoso Bong Joon-ho for a while now will not be surprised by the stunning success of his latest movie, 2019’s black comedy thriller ‘Parasite’. However, to many, the movie came out of the blue, winning numerous accolades and becoming the first South Korean film to win the approval of the Academy Awards with six nominations. And all the hype is well deserved, as ‘Parasite’ is one of the few films that manages to tackle heavy hitting issues such as social inequality and class conflict with a surprising amount of wit, charm, and grace.
The story line in ‘Parasite’ follows the destitute Kim family consisting of Ki-Taek, his wife Chung-sook, their daughter Ki-Jeong and son Ki-Woo. The Kims live in a squalid basement apartment and struggle to make ends meet with temporary low paying jobs. However, opportunity knocks when Ki-Woo manages to finagle a job tutoring the rich Da-hye, daughter of the very rich Park family.
Gradually, the Kims begin to infiltrate the Park household by posing as unrelated workers but find themselves in a bind when a dark secret hidden below the Par mansion is revealed. ‘Parasite’ stars actors Song Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek, Choi Woo-shik as Kim Ki-woo, Park So-dam as Kim Ki-jeong and Chang Hyae-jin as Chung-sook as part of the main cast.
If you were wondering where was ‘Parasite’ filmed, read on to find out everything we know.
Parasite Filming Locations
The principal photography for ‘Parasite’ took place entirely in the city of South Korea beginning in mid May 2018 and taking 77 days in total. The Park house was constructed from scratch by production designer Lee Ha Jun. Great care was taken by the crew to optimize the lighting conditions inside the house in order to capture the shots that Bong Joon-ho wanted.
However, lighting was not the only concern while designing the set, and great care was taken to make the set feel real and authentic. The same approach was followed to recreate the destitute Park house, which even has fake props littered all around it to provide backstories to many of the Kims’ neighbors.
Goyang Aqua Studio, Seoul, South Korea
Almost the entirety of ‘Parasite’ is filmed on set in Goyang Aqua Studio in the city of Seoul, South Korea. Seoul is a truly metropolitan city with the distinction of being an “alpha world city” and an economy worth $635 billion, behind only Tokyo, New York, and Los Angeles. Today, the opulent city of Seoul is a technological hub and economic powerhouse on the world stage, serving as the headquarters of mega corporations such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, etc.
Joon-ho and his crew took extreme measures to recreate the lavish Park mansion and squalid Kim basement for ‘Parasite’. Production designer Lee Ha Jun even visited and extensively photographed empty town earmarked for demolition for inspiration for the Kims’ basement apartment. Lee explains how he went about lending authenticity to his creation, “I could see the traces of people who lived there. We even modeled the old bricks used in the empty houses in silicon to re-create them.”
However, while we so spend some time in the Kims’ apartment, the majority of the action takes place in the Parks’ palatial home. The goal was to convey the extreme wealth, arrogance and privilege possessed by the Parks in stark contrast to the Kims. Another important consideration was the lighting, something that is always an important element in any Bong Joon-ho film.
Lee reveals how lighting considerations affected the set design, “Mr. Park’s house is an outdoor set built in consideration of the sun’s direction. The sun’s direction was a crucial point of consideration while we were searching for outdoor lots. We had to remember the sun’s position during our desired time frame and determine the positions and sizes of the windows accordingly.”
Check out this behind the scenes look for the filming of a scene in ‘Parasite’:
— Parasite Gifs (@ParasiteGifs) February 1, 2020
Other Locations Across Seoul, South Korea
Besides these two meticulously constructed sets, a few scenes in ‘Parasite’ were also filmed in the Jahamun tunnel in Jahamun-ro, Jongno-gu in Seoul itself.