Parasite fans flock to filming locations

South Korea's Academy Award-winning Parasite used a range of visual cues to tell its story of suffocating class struggle through the sights of Seoul.

SEOUL • Nami Island in South Korea enjoyed a tourism boost after scenes from hit 2002 TV drama Winter Sonata were shot there.

Now, it is the turn of several locales in Seoul that provided backdrops in director Bong Joon-ho's movie Parasite, which clinched four Oscars on Sunday.

It won Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film.

Though the locations were already on local moviegoers' radar after the movie became a hit in South Korea last year, they have generated new interest after the Oscar triumphs.

The owners of two places - Sky Pizza, a family-run pizzeria that appears as Pizza Age in the film; and Doijissal Supermarket, which is rebranded as Woori Supermarket in the movie - are proud of their association with the history-making Parasite.

According to Yonhap, the supermarket owners, an elderly couple, were so excited over the Oscar triumphs that they could not sleep.

They said many foreign tourists have also turned up to "take photos and buy something".

Mr Kim Ju-sam, who runs a coffee shop near Jahamun Tunnel, which was also featured in the film, said: "Some of the crew came to my place for coffee during filming.

"To see a movie that I witnessed being made win such a big award feels strange, but also gives me a sense of pride."

The locales could see a spike in British visitorship soon, as Parasite was rolled out in Britain last Friday.

It is being shown in about 100 theatres, marking the widest-ever release for an Asian title in Britain.

Bong and actor Song Kang-ho visited London to attend the Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards on Feb 2, with Parasite bagging best original screenplay and best foreign-language film.

Parasite has already earned US$35.5 million (S$49.2 million) in North America, with distributor Neon reportedly planning to expand the market to more than 2,000 screens from the current 1,060.

Back home in South Korea, a new black-and-white version of Parasite is set to be released at the end of this month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2020, with the headline 'Parasite fans flock to filming locations'. Print Edition | Subscribe