Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite to receive black and white version

One of the best films of the decade will be seen in a whole new (lack of) color

Bong Joon-Ho Parasite black and white version release
Parasite (Neon)

    Parasite was one of the biggest cinematic stories of the year. Bong Joon-ho’s gripping, funny, original look at social class isn’t even a year old, but it’s already on a number of best of the decade lists (and, naturally, best of 2019 lists). Now, it looks like we’ll be able to see the winner of Cannes’ coveted Palme d’Or in a whole new color — or lack thereof, as a black and white version has been confirmed.

    The Film Stage reports that the colorless remake of Parasite will premiere during the International Film Festival Rotterdam, which launches January 22nd. There’s no word yet on whether the desaturated version will see a wider release (à la Logan and Mad Max Fury Road), either in theaters or on DVD/streaming.

    Update: The black and white version of Parasite will debut in Los Angeles at the Egyptian Theater January 31st and at the Walter Reade Theater in New York on January 30th. It will then screen at the Francesca Beale Theater in New York from January 31st through February 6th.


    The move isn’t entirely left-field for Joon-ho, who has long had a love for black and white filmmaking. Film historian David Bordwell once noted that the filmmaker dreams of shooting a movie completely in black and white, but doesn’t believe modern producers would front the bill (via SlashFilm). In 2013, he debuted a black and white cut of his 2009 movie Mother at the Mar Del Plata International Film Festival. As Bordwell wrote, “It wasn’t simply a matter of hitting a button. They performed color correction shot by shot so as to control the exact degree of tonality and contrast.”

    It’s fair to assume Joon-ho will take the same care with his grayscale version of Parasite. Hopefully those outside of Rotterdam will get a shot at seeing it too, however, unlike the black and white Mother, which was only made available on a rare South Korean disc.

    Parasite will hit home release on January 28th.