The Criterion Collection edition of Parasite, the Oscar-winning masterpiece by Korean director Bong Joon Ho, will be released on October 27, Criterion announced on Wednesday. The company is known for its definitive home video releases of acclaimed films from around the world, and in particular for the striking cover illustrations of these packages. Parasite will be no different, with an ingenious interpretation of his now iconic film poster.
The single sheet for Parasite shows members of the two families at the center of the film, the Kims and the Parks, with black and white bars, respectively, on their eyes. The setting is the backyard of the elegant and ultra-modern park house. The image doubled as cover artwork for Universal Pictures’ home video releases of the film on 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD earlier this year. And that’s also the basis of the box art in the Criterion collection – except with a twist which is a clever reference to one of the film’s own twists.
Most of Criterion’s illustrations are white; it offers only tiny glimpses of the underlying image via 18 portholes, some of which are circular and others rectangular. But these are not simple windows on the backyard of the parks. They are actually points and dashes grouped into eight lines – dots and dashes of Morse code that spell the eight letters of “parasite”.
[[[[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Parasite.]
Those who watched Parasite will remember that Morse code plays a key role in the film. Ms. Park notices that the lights above the front staircase of the house sometimes flicker, but does not understand that there is an underlying motif. It is only his young son who realizes that the flickering lights are Morse code communications – messages which, it is revealed later, are sent by a man who secretly lives in the basement bunker of the house: Geun-sae, the husband of the “governess” Parks. In the following outcome ParasiteThe climax of blood, we learn that Ki-taek, the patriarch of the Kim family, has taken the place of Geun-sae as a fugitive hidden in the bunker. He learns Morse code from Geun-sae’s notes and begins to send his own message through the staircase lights, hoping that his son, Ki-woo, will see it somehow.
Even if you catch Morse code ParasiteThe cover of Criterion, you will not understand why it is there unless you have seen the film. The design is a good interior joke for Parasite fans, who, of course, are likely to be the main audience for an edition of the Criterion collection. It will be available in a two-disc Blu-ray package for $ 39.95 and in a three-disc DVD package for $ 29.95. The two presses come from a new 4K digital master approved by the director and the director of photography. Parasiteand the packages also include a black and white version of the film. For more details on special features, see the Parasite registration on the Criterion website.
Clayton Ashley contributed to this story.