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Parasite: Jung Jaeil’s Film Scoring A Satire

3.5 of 5 stars: Review of Parasite, Official Sound Track composed by Jung Jaeil.

Parasite Official Original Soundtrack Review by Music Press Asia.

Parasite, the first-ever South Korean film to win best picture at the Academy Awards, officially turned Korea’s film industry into a global phenomenon.When all attention is on Bong Joon Ho’s buoyant words at the red carpet, and later, on stage receiving the trophy, we see the excitement of a reserve man – an expression of a boyish pride we recognize as anything but superfluous.

We go behind the scene to find one of Bong’s recent collaborator in the music department: Jung Jaeil, the music director who scored Parasite. Known for his most recent work scoring another of Bong’s animated film Okja in 2017, Jung Jaeil also composed other notable films in the region including Doraemon: Nobita’s Secret Gadget Museum, Paboos, Take Point and Romance of Their Own.

His works encompassed a wide variety of genres from scoring theater, film and musical productions to traditional Gujak music and pop music.

Contradictory to Okja’s animated and dramatic storyline, Parasite demands a continuous yet enigmatic melancholic musical structure that commands unrelenting attention from its audience. Heightening the film’s satirical message on the partiality of capitalism and class divide – a family’s creative attempt to improve their impoverished household.

Read more: Korea’s CJ E&M Oscar Win Signify Korean Film Industry Going Global

The opening track introduces the characters of the film, and unintentionally captured the disparate social classes between the two families. What happens next saw the dwindling hope in their morality. The three versions of “Conciliation” halts the scene’s forward motion and mysteriously sets the tone to sly humor, followed by discords.

A far cry from scoring animation, Jung merges baroque-ish musical styles incorporating strings inspired from arias made popular by 18th century German composer, Handel. Track “Camping” cannily echoed the sopranos and children choir displaying one of the most sinister yet ‘perfect’ scenes in the film: the Park family enjoys the stylish home of the Kim’s before the arrival of chaos. The impertinent fall of the Kim family are realized under the brash urges of “The Belt of Faith”, the melodramatic climax of “Blood and Sword” and “The Hellgate”.

Sad piano ballads in “Moon Gwang Left” have the tendency to reveal the blunt realities of hardship, suffering and even hopelessness. Juxtaposing the reality of a sinister plot and bold team-Park efforts, Jung echoed the aspiration of Pina Bausch’s powerful dance conveyed through music, transcribing the mundane daily lives in Parasite into a genre-bending and satirical plot in Academy Award’s foreign films history.

Parasite’s music department:
Music Director: Kim Byoungkeuk
Music Director: Jung Jaeil
Music Supervisor: Park Hyoshin
Orchestrator: Norbert Elek, Bálint Sapszon
Singer: Jihye Lee

Sound Department: 
Sound Supervisor: Tae-young Choi
Sound Recordist: Eun Hee-soo
Sound Effects Designer: Young Kang Hye
Supervising ADR Editor: Byung-in Kim
Foley Artist: Chung-gyu Lee, Sung-gyun Park
Foley Editor: Shin i Na
Dolby Consultant: James Wright (as Jim Wright)

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