Parasite — In Black & White!

Special Black & White edition of this year's Best Picture Oscar Winner

Parasite is for many already an undeniable cinematic masterpiece. But for director Bong Joon Ho, it was his desire to create such a work of art that drove him to cut a black-and-white version of film.

"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 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. "So I had this idea that if I turned my films into black and white then they’d become classics." Bong explained that, as a child growing up in South Korea, his mother wouldn’t allow him to visit the cinema for fear of ‘bacteria’, so he watched all the masterpieces at home on a black-and-white tv.

The new version of Parasite was actually made before the original colour edition had its premiere in Cannes, where it won the Palme d’Or. Bong, with his director of photographer and colourist, worked on the new grading shot by shot.

"You can’t just put it in a computer and turn it into black and white," he said, especially as particular scenes — such as the flooding, with muddy water floating around — require extra consideration.

With the colour removed, he said, viewers were given a stronger sense of contrast between the rich family and the poor. "We can focus more on the texture," he said, emphasizing the "very glossy and clean" surfaces in the house of the rich family. – Alex Ritman, Hollywood Reporter


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