Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite (2019) is the first foreign language film to receive an Academy Award. The Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay were given to this outstanding masterpiece in 2020.
The disparities between socio-economic classes, human dilemmas and value systems becomes the central theme of this black humour film. The plot focuses on events happening between two families from different social classes.
“Who or what is the parasite?” is an obvious question when it comes to Parasite.
So, the movie depicts a working-class family of Kim, who lives in a small basement apartment. The director skillfully conveys the pitiful state in which economically backward people find themselves.
Gradually, Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi), son of Kim ki-taek (Kan-Ho Song), is recommended by a friend to tutor the wealthy Park family’s daughter. When Ki-woo arrives at Park’s, his eyes light up with envy for what he and his family don’t have. It is interesting to see how Ki-woo replaces members of his own family, most notably his father, Kim, with members of the Park family’s home staff.
Kim probes the limits of how far the Parks can be misled before they realise, they’ve been deceived once his family is in place. When the Kims take over the Park home, they are obviously becoming the parasite as they have no choice but to come together to strategise their next move. It is the only way they’ll be able to reach society’s definition of acceptability.
The eventful second half of the film shows Kim and his family reacting to the dreadful societal structure that continues to let them down.
It is heart-breaking to realise at the end of the film, that their desire of living a decent societal life remains a fantasy and not a reality.
Apart from the plot, the film’s lighting is also crucial in depicting the class divide. For example, the Park family’s home is always in a warm colour, whereas Kim’s basement is in a cool colour. The shots are mostly symmetrical. Again, the use of dividing frame shots, the director distinguishes between wealthy and poor.
The purpose of the shot, according to the director, is to make the audience feel as if the character will never get anywhere no matter how hard we try.
Parasite is indeed a thought-provoking film that sheds light on the class struggle by paying attention to even the smallest details.
Image courtery: Twitter