[Korean Studies Seminar Series] The Virtual Feast: Mukbang, Con-Man Comedy, and Blackness in Parasite (2019)

The Melbourne Metropolitan Korean Studies Seminar Series 

Talk 8: Prof. Kyung Hyun Kim (UC Irvine)

Wednesday, September 15, 12-1 PM AEST

The Virtual Feast: Mukbang, Con-Man Comedy, and Blackness in Parasite (2019)


This talk will focus on Parasite (dir. Bong Joon-ho, Kisaengch’ung) and probe the reasons why it had become one of the most successful films ever made outside Hollywood. This crime thriller successfully switches out predictable melodramatic codes usually reserved for blockbuster films for comedic conventions of wordplay, con-artist schemes, and food drama. Kim will argue that these themes not only problematize the division between real and fake and serve as a larger subject of the tension between haves and have-nots but also allow us to look at how food has lost its social or even cultural significance and has instead assumed a perverse, negative, and almost undesirable association with gluttony and psychological depression in the era of mukbang (eatcast). How the cynicism raised in the film compares against some of the code-switching themes in Hollywood comedies featuring African American stars will be probed.  The talk will also explore the career of writer/director Bong Joon-ho and contextualize Parasite within the Korean Cinema of the new millennium.


Prof. Kyung Hyun Kim is a creative writer, a scholar, and a film producer, who is currently a professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, UC Irvine. He has worked with internationally renowned directors such as Hong Sang-soo, Lee Chang-dong and Marty Scorsese, and also with American film producers Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. Prof. Kim is author of Virtual Hallyu: Korean Cinema of the Global Era, The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema, Hegemonic Mimicry: Korean Popular Culture of 21st Century, all of them published by Duke University Press, and a Korean-language novel entitled In Search of Lost G (Ireo beorin G-reul chajaso, 2014) about a Korean mother combing through the US in search of her missing son during his junior year in a Massachusetts prep school.  He has coproduced and co-scripted two award-winning feature films Never Forever (2007, Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Main Competition) and The Housemaid (2010, Cannes Film Festival Main Competition), and his co-scripted film screenplay, The Origins of a Detective (Hyeongsa eui kiwon),won the cash prize (US$ 30,000) by being selected for the 2019 Best Film Development Project by the Korean Film Commission. He has also written The Mask Debate, his first theatre screenplay, which premiered in February 2021 through UCI’s Illuminations: Chancellor’s Initiative in Arts and Drama YouTube channel.

Please register here for your attendance:

For any questions regarding this event, please contact:

Ms Soyeon Kim (Soyeon.kim@monash.edu)