In an interview with Korea’s FILO film critique magazine, director Bong Joon Ho shared some insight into his Oscar-winning movie Parasite and one of its most controversial scenes — the couch sex scene.
Ever since the movie was released, the audience had different opinions about the Parks’ couch sex scene — especially in Korea, where Parasite was rated PG-13. Some even believed the scene to be “unnecessary”.
Bong Joon Ho shared, however, “That couch sex scene has always been the most necessary scene, ever since I began writing the script.” According to the director, this scene was to serve as the “tipping point” for the Kim’s, especially Ki Taek the Father.
That couch sex scene has always been the most necessary scene, ever since I began writing the script. Parasite is a tragedy that comes from the characters who peep into and get too involved in other people’s lives, whether they mean to or not. Imagine how uncomfortable it is for a father to watch rated R movies with his children, right? So for Ki Taek, having to be there through the Parks having sex, this becomes a tipping point. That’s the very moment that Ki Taek starts to drift away from the Parks — and so it’s a very crucial sequence to include in the movie.
— Bong Joon Ho
Bong Joon Ho also added, “And the sex scene was meant to convey all that anxiety and intensity.” In other words, all of that awkward, uncomfortable, and anxious reaction from the audience had been exactly what the director wanted.
I meant the scene to have zero thrill, like one would usually get from a risqué movie. I wanted the audience to suffer the tension instead — like they want the scene to be done and over with as quickly as possible. I wanted the audience to share that feeling with Ki Taek… Like that suffocating feeling. I even wanted the music to match that vibe… kind of like the inside of a pressure cooker as the pressure really builds up. I specifically asked the music director Jung Jae Il for that kind of sound too.
— Bong Joon Ho
With that said, those who’ve seen Parasite are finding themselves completely fascinated by how Bong Joon Ho did indeed make them “suffer the tension” and “share that suffocating feeling with Ki Taek”.