secondOng Joon-ho’s climactic Oscar win in February with his lurid satire Parasite now seems like something from another era. Perhaps it was the last happy international event and the last talking point of the movie world before the industry plunged into lockdown, chaos, and the terrible feeling that things would never be the same again. But the spectacular success of Parasite brought a welcome rebirth on UK streaming services of much of this director’s great previous catalog, including his notable 2003 Memories of Murder, based on the late Hwaseong serial murders. 1980s in South Korea, then unsolved: The film sparked a surge of interest in the case, eventually leading to the identification of the culprit in 2019. Parasite continues to exert control, and even had the distinction of getting a blank version and black from luxury connoisseurs released. That was certainly an intriguing new slant, though not quite as good as the rich, densely colored original in my opinion.
The parasite, for all its cruelty and ingenuity, actually seems even more claustrophobically appropriate for our new world of snuggling uncomfortably together with our families and forming bubbles with other homes, or perhaps transgressing, entering bubbles where we have nothing to do and disobey physical conditions. rules of distancing. Perhaps the film is fundamentally about precisely this: the abolition of the rules of distancing, a world in which the lower class is huddled together and then reaches out and relates personally to the upper class. It is a film whose satirical reflection extends to a vision of South and North Korea living together in a paranoid and resentful intimacy.
Antiheroes are a dysfunctional family of parasites: Dad is the laid back lazy Ki-taek (a wonderful performance by veteran Bong repertoire player Song Kang-ho) and the mother is former track star Chung-sook (Chang Hyae -jin). The son is Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik), a lazy young man who never made it to college, and the daughter is Ki-jung (Park So-dam), a cool customer with an artistic gift for the web. fraud. By fraudulently posing as a college student, Ki-woo has the opportunity to tutor the teenage daughter of a very wealthy family who lives in a spectacular modernist house in the largest part of the city. With cunning, Ki-woo can see how to get every member of his family to work in this household: as second guardian (daughter), housekeeper (mom), and driver (dad), all pretending not to be related and complete strangers to each other. yes. . They are a whole family of cuckoos in a luxurious new nest. But the youngest child in the host family notes with amazement that they all smell the same and that they smell like poor people.
Parasite is about an invasion of lifestyle thieves: it is about status envy, aspiration and materialism, the patriarchal family unit and the idea of having (or leasing) servants whose intimacy is so easily frozen in hostility. It’s comparable to Joseph Losey’s 1963 classic, The Servant, in which Dirk Bogarde’s valet somehow gets the psychological edge over his teacher. And Parasite is also part of Korean cinema’s rich vein of “servant” dramas: like Kim Ki-young’s 1960’s The Housemaid, remade in 2010 by Im Sang-soo, and also Park Chan-wook’s classic mystery drama. The Handmaiden.
It’s also about visibility: the richer and more successful you are, the more visible you are, and shame or financial debt erases people, takes them out of the picture with Photoshop, pushes them into the basement of society. And Parasite gestures to something else: Parasites aren’t meant to be the underdog forever. When their insidious and predatory work is completed, they become masters: they are the face of power. The parasite hums positively maliciously.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.