Emily Song, Writer
This is such an amazing year for film! One of the most intriguing and powerful movies I’ve seen this year is the South Korean film, “Parasite” which has recently released in Canada. My faith in movies has returned thanks to this film and I will persuade you all why I think this way and hopefully by the end of it, you will be on your way to the movie theatre!
“Parasite” is a dark, comical and thrilling South Korean film directed by a famous Korean director Bong Joon-ho. Despite so many of his great films in the past, such as “The Host,” “Mother,” “Okja” or “Snowpiercer,” I’d say “Parasite” may be his top films. Although after watching the movie, I felt utterly lost and quite upset, I was also extremely impressed and glad I watched it at the same time.
“What keeps you rapt in Parasite is the visual wit — every shot distills the movie’s themes — and the richness of the characters and performances” -David Edelstein (Film critic)
The two families from completely opposite environments and their perceptions of life portray the different classes within our society. (Warning: A tiny spoiler alert, stop here if you must!) The low-class family; who later in the story decides to scam the high-class family literally lives farther down in the city; whereas, the high-class family obviously lives in the upper mainland of the city in a gorgeous, gigantic mansion. Through these comparisons, Bong applies society’s flaws and he beautifully incorporates it into the film with such powerful expressions. In essence, it’s a social satire.
These two family’s diverse lives are frequently portrayed in the film and it was saddening to see how much it reflects our own society. We can particularly witness this when the characters happen to have a huge rainstorm in their area. The wealthy family joyfully looks out their window at the view of the beautiful rainstorm; whereas, the poor family freaks out, as their whole neighbourhood begins to flood and eventually their entire home is flooded with sewage.
Where this film must be most acknowledged is how so much of this film is told just by the visuals! Although I was not aware, later on I read an article, explaining how this movie was filmed. Bong wanted to express the distinction between the classes as much as he could, so he decided to implement small details that are very significant. One of the ones I certainly must applaud for is the movement of the film. The poor family’s home was always filmed moving from the top to the bottom and the wealthy family’s home was filmed moving vice versa. This is such a brilliant and subtle way to film the two distinct homes and it made me grow to love this film even more!
Not only was it the movement of the camera, but the structure of the wealthy family’s home is built in such a way that it also defines the classes; however, I will not go much further as it will become a great spoiler if I do!
“But unlike so many upstairs-downstairs films, there’s nuance to Bong’s depiction of the lower class, largely because of the addition of the secret bunker.” —
Overall, after watching this movie, I was left with an infinite number of questions and thoughts about our society—I was extremely impressed! Near the end, due to some violence and confusing betrayals, I was disgusted and angry, but I quickly understood why director Bong decided to end it that way. I highly recommend this movie as it really opened my eyes to see society’s flaws. This movie is a masterpiece—when you have the opportunity to watch “Parasite,” keep these details in mind!