Parasite, a Bong Joon Ho film, explores contemporary society and points directly at the inequalities we live in and through. Parasite is not the most appealing title to your average viewer, especially if you are not one to watch thriller-like films. But I will say this: while it left me at the edge of my seat, covering my face, it was undeniably enjoyable. I give this film a 10/10 for its musicality, unpredictability, and unique story-telling. There is nothing like it.
Words from the director:
As a depiction of ordinary people who fall into an unavoidable commotion, this film is:
a comedy without clowns,
a tragedy without villains,
all leading to a violent tangle and a headlong plunge down the stairs.
You are all invited to this unstoppably fierce tragicomedy.
The film resists categorization and does not fit into any established genre, and this is precisely what makes this piece so original. In the words of Song Kang Ho, who plays Ki-Taek, “It is a melange of genres, and from an actor’s perspective, it required a lot of concentration to follow these genres to bring the character to life.”
Throughout the film, you see the contrasts in our society perfectly laid out. Rich and poor. Gullible versus wary. You see the lavish lifestyle of the Park family: picture of aspirational wealth versus the Kim family, who lives in the basement of such a run-down community – everyone just trying to get by. Director Bong strategically places these two families side-by-side to show the dynamic between these two very different classes, which speaks to the idea that co-existence is challenging to achieve.
It was pretty spectacular, the way this film pushes your emotions. One minute, you are laughing hysterically. Then moments later, you are holding your breath. The music set that precedent. It enhanced every single scene which set the pace of the film. For instance, the Kim family works together on one of their grandiose plans. The sounds used, combined with the classical music, strings the audience along until the plan is executed. The crescendo and decrescendo of the song orchestrate the Kim’s actions in a way that words cannot express; done so seamlessly.
While this film is set in Korea, it is a story that will be understood and related to everywhere. Song on his character:
I respect the character, who is a Korean man in an ordinary setting. While he engages in strange acts, he is still very average. He is pressured to provide for the family. Once we reach the climax of the film, his integrity, and head of household duties are challenged, and he begins to crumble.
He further explains that these are sentiments that make characters like Ki-Taek relatable to the average person.
Just like the actors, you will find characteristics within the characters in the film that align with your own, causing you to be invested in them — rooting for them. And as humans, you want to root for one side. It is natural for us to do so. But this film forces you to understand all sides — leaving you neutral.
From the wavering emotion to the nuanced story arcs, this film will leave you wanting more. Parasite, released in theatres on October 11 and winner of the Palm D’or at the Cannes Festival, is a film of its kind and must be added to your list this October.