‘Parasite’ Editor on Cutting One of the Most Talked-About Films of Awards Season

Framing The Scene: "Parasite" Editor Jimno Yang Breaks Down Key Scenes


Parasite” editor Jinmo Yang was more than excited to get on board when director Bong Joon Ho first sent him the screenplay. “It was his return, per se, to Korean cinema,” Yang says.

The two had previously collaborated on Joon Ho’s “Okja” and “Snowpiercer.”

Joon Ho’s meticulous method of storyboarding his film is something he designs with editing in mind, according to Yang. “That method is really effective,” Yang says. “He only shoots what is necessary and that’s effective for the production.”

As part of their collaborative process, Joon Ho and Yang discuss the rhythm and pacing in pre-production, but once Yang is in the editing suite, he doesn’t go back to the storyboard, preferring to refine the footage that Joon Ho sends through dailies.

Below, Yang looks at key scenes from the film and breaks down the most challenging one for him to edit. Yang also discusses editing choices he made to create tension and eeriness for the viewer.

The Housekeeper Returns

That scene was designed from the storyboard. For this scene, I had some options. We pull back and you see that she’s (Jeong-eun Lee) outside the door.

In the storyboard, there was an intercut. As we were editing that scene, I felt I wanted to add this eerie sense to that scene. By watching her through the intercom, that accentuated the eeriness. I got rid of the shots where you see her outside the door and just kept to that intercom scene.

If you watch the film again, closely, prior to that, you’ll see the Kim family is having their house party. Ki-jung is eating jerky and she figures out it’s for the puppy and freezes. We go from a closeup shot to a wide shot of the family. Then you hear the doorbell. If you watch that moment again, you’ll see a small continuity error, where she goes from eating the jerky and holding it in her left hand to her right hand.

We left that in there for the fans to spot. However, no one seems to have picked up on that yet.

Park Da-song’s Birthday Party

Looking back, this was the most difficult shot to edit. The Park family is getting ready for the birthday party. It’s a moment where small incidents are leading up to what happens at that moment, and it was really important to build to that climax. We needed to build to how Ki-taek got to that moment emotionally.

When Ki-taek and Mr. Park are talking about the headdress and he’s got it on, Bong and I went through so many takes and versions. We dissected it and looked at the expressions Ki-taek was making.

We had to sell that emotion and where he was coming from. It was crucial and the entire film hinges on that very moment.

With Bong not using much footage, it was that easier on one hand because there was so little footage in the first place. I had to refine whatever we had. At the same time, it was challenging because I had to pick the best moments from the footage to make the best version.

This goes back to Bong’s style of shooting only necessary footage. Kang-ho Song is familiar with his process and understands it. So, we get the best from him too.

Searching for Wi-Fi

The scene shows how accurate director Bong’s storyboard is and how the camera movement and editing points are lively connected. The shots from the takes are exactly the same as the storyboard, and the edit followed that order as well.

The timing and dividing is what I focused on most during editing, especially Ki-taek’s timing, and the tempo of the following cut when Ki-woo searches for Wi-Fi on the toilet was the most important. And then the camera pans to Chung-sook.

There were many of these kinds of camera movements which made fewer cuts, compared to other feature films. It only has 960 cuts in total. The reason why “Parasite” is so immersive and rhythmical is because of the harmony of accurate camera work and timing of the editing, which started from the exquisite storyboard.