“Parasite”: a look under South Korea’s bandages

By Lark Commanday Jan 17, 2020


Parasite is one of the most important films released in 2019.

Parasite, otherwise Gisaengchung in Korean, is a 2019 South Korean black comedy psychological thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho.

Bong succeeded in the western market with his release of Snowpiercer, receiving adequate reviews from the critics and managing to rake in a substantial amount of cash.

But Parasite stands apart already nominated for an Academy Award for the best picture category.

The movie follows the members of a poor household scheming to become employ- ees of a much wealthier family by posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

Parasite allows many chances for the trademark South Korean black humor to shine through.

Many of the family’s interactions have explicit and subtle layers to their bantering and bickering with each other.

But the real shine of Parasite comes from the suspense and subtle social commentary.

Watching Korean thrillers reminds me of how closely I need to pay attention to the little details.

There’s no sudden cracks of lightning, no sudden jarring moment in which the whole tension of the movie has converged.

The tension is subtle and constant, never breaking the surface and waiting underneath.

All the black humor leaves you laughing, but still unable to shrug off the creeping feeling that everything is going to come crumbling apart.

The excellent script and writing is also carried by the actors, who delivered everything so perfectly one has to wonder if they were acting in the first place.

The actors seemed human in all of their actions and interactions with each other.

All of this culminated into an ending that was extremely fit- ting and stayed with me long after I left the theater.

All of the little scenes and actions that I thought were meaningless end up clicking with each other perfectly, leaving me to review everything that I had seen previously.

I feel that it’s one of the only things in Korean media that has come out in the West that actually matters.

As a Korean, I find myself feeling jaded when I see the state which South Korea is in.

Parasite’s message was one of South Korea’s huge class divide with no acquittal for the lower class and the extreme pressure that new generations are put through.

There’s a reason why South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates between developed countries.

But all the West thinks of South Korea is glitzy KPop Idols and smartphones.

The West doesn’t think about how those idols are deprived of basic human rights nor how little children work themselves to the bone to build those smartphones.

Western media isn’t completely at fault, but also South Korean society.

Instead of trying to solve problems we bandage it, masking the cuts and bruises and hoping that the coworker who shot himself last night finished his stacks of reports first.

I’m bitter; not towards South Korean people but rather towards the inadequate social systems.

I’m hateful towards world-wide ignorance and the unwillingness for people to notice a huge and glaring problem.

This hate, I still hold great hope to the new Korean generation, one generation that will not let the rat race and the splendor of the media blind us from our issues.

One that looks at Parasite, and realizes that there are problems that can be solved together.

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