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Film of the week: Parasite

Cert: 16; Selected cinemas

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Yeo-jeong Jo and Woo-sik Choi in Parasite

Yeo-jeong Jo and Woo-sik Choi in Parasite

Yeo-jeong Jo and Woo-sik Choi in Parasite

The surprise nomination in all this year's awards has been South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's Parasite. Co-written with Jin Won Han, it's a dark, often funny, class tale that echoes internationally, leaving us wondering who, or what, exactly is the parasite of the title. Don't let the subtitles put you off this clever, accessible, observation-rich film.

Kim Ki-Woo (Choi Woo-sik) is a young man from a poor family who describes himself as a loser. When his American friend leaves he gives him a stone carving that is meant to be a talisman and a way in to a better life. All Ki-Woo has to do is pretend to be middle class in order to become the English tutor to Da-hye, the daughter of the extremely wealthy Park family.

The gullible mother of the Park family Yeon-kyo (Cho Yeo-jeong) is then easily persuaded that Ki-woo's sister is really an art teacher called Jessica who can tap into the skills of her oddly-behaving young son. Within weeks the entire Kim family, mother, father, son and daughter are working for the Parks, pretending that they have never met before.