6 nominations for the Oscars, Golden Palm Branch of the Cannes Film Festival and many other prestigious film awards, high ratings from critics and ordinary viewers – all this about the film “Parasites“, shot by the talented South Korean director Bong Joon Ho. There are no crazy special effects or dizzying shootings, but this picture managed to produce the effect of an exploding bomb and touch the thinnest strings of the human soul.
In anticipation of the Oscar, we at Happy Worthy Life decided to review one of the best films of 2019 and pay attention to those details and hidden meanings that you may not have noticed when watching. Attention: the article has a lot of spoilers!
What is this movie Parasites about?
The director of the film said that the history of the film is partly autobiographical: once in college, he worked as a tutor in a wealthy family. Then it seemed to him as if he was spying on someone else’s life.
The plot at first is simple: a guy from a poor family by the name of Kim, not without cheating, gets to work as a tutor of the English language in a rich family of Packs. Very quickly, the Kimov family dawns that this is their chance to escape from lack of money, and gradually all four get a job at the Pak. And if the first half of the picture is like a satirical comedy, then the further the plot moves, the more abrupt and dramatic turns await a numbed viewer.
The film is literally stuffed with symbols and metaphors, endowed with a powerful message and with the help of artistic techniques in every possible way hints to the viewer that every scene is not without purpose. In short, this picture speaks of social inequality and the abyss that separates the rich and the poor. Director Pong Joon Ho called his work “a comedy without clowns and a tragedy without villains,” and this is true, because each hero has his own truth. Let’s take a closer look at some of the details of the picture in order to better understand its meaning.
1. The difference in homes
Almost the entire action of the film takes place in a confined space: it is either the house of the poor or the house of the rich. At the very beginning of the film, the camera slowly glides down, going down to Kimov’s dwelling – a semi-basement shack. There is little light, crowded and dirty, and the highest place in the house is the toilet, sitting next to which the characters are trying to catch free internet. Kimov’s house is located on the basement floor, as if giving hope to its inhabitants. People still do not live completely underground, and yes, there is a fear of slipping to the very bottom, but at the same time there is a chance to get out.
2. The abundance of stairs
It’s even more interesting with the rich man’s house: even during the writing of the script and the creation of storyboards, the director of the picture knew what the mansion should look like. Everything that was shot in the house was shot for a reason, and all movements were planned in advance to show how the heroes deftly hide, spy, sneak – like real parasites. Attention was even paid to the direction on which the sun would shine on the Packs house – this was important for the denouement scene. There is another important detail that occurs literally throughout the film. Guess what we are talking about?
When we learn about the existence of a basement in the house, where the former housekeeper hides her husband from the collectors, it becomes clear where it is, that hopeless bottom from which it is almost impossible to rise. Poor Kimas do not hide their contempt for the owners and, moreover, consider themselves superior to them.
It is surprising that for the whole time of owning their house, the rich did not even know about the existence of a bunker in it. This is because Packs never look down and are not interested in what is happening there. This clearly characterizes the scene in the daughter’s bedroom of Pakov: Kim Jr. hid under the girl’s bed, the dog noticed him and started yapping, but the girl just picked up the dog and did not even bend down to look under the bed.
The sudden return of the owners lowers Kimov from heaven to earth: three members of the family seek to quickly escape. Remember that on the way home they were exposed to heavy rain, which caused flooding in their area? It was Kimov’s house because of its low location that was flooded in the first place, at the same time, the Pakov’s house remained safe and sound. Even a frame with flowing water hints that a rapid stream is pouring down to where Kim’s house is located, and just about they will see that they have lost all their property. The heroes understand that, no matter how they deceive themselves, their place, alas, is on the very bottom from which they just renounced in the basement of a rich house.
3. The difference in the appearance of the characters
Of course, the filmmakers emphasized the different social status of the characters and with the help of their appearance – expensive and simple clothes, but in this regard there are interesting details. So, when the rich and the poor are shown in one frame, the former are always in bright, light clothes and are better lit, and the poor seem to be constantly in their shadow.
4. About borders
The head of the Packov family has repeatedly noticed that he hates when people cross borders. With an original visual trick, Pong Joon Ho showed how these very borders divide the rich and the poor: in many frames of the film, you can see that the rich Packs are separated from the Kim by vertical lines. And no matter how much the Kims dream, they will never cross that border.
5. Why did Kim kill Pak?
After watching the movie, many viewers still had one question open: why did the head of the family, Kim, throw a knife at his master and kill him? To do this, remember some of the details of the picture.
Remember how during the birthday of your son, Kim Sr. and Pak Sr. sat in the bushes in the costumes of the Indians? It was then that Kim, sensing a good moment, decided to compliment his master. Now let’s recall Pak’s intolerance towards border crossing. He abruptly cut short his driver and pointed out to him that he was simply doing his job. They are not friends and have never been. And they won’t.
Recall that the Packov family spoke several times about an unpleasant smell, and once they discussed that the smell comes from the servants. This conversation was heard by Kim Sr. Thus, the social gulf between families is even emphasized by the smell of poverty, which is almost impossible to get rid of if you live in a shack.
That is why when Pak comes to the corpse of a distraught man from the basement to pick up the keys to his car and pinches his nose because of the unpleasant smell that comes from the poor man, Kim Sr. flies off the reels and pounces on Pak with a knife. It was a catalyst. Kim understands that Pakam doesn’t give a damn about the fact that his daughter is dead and his son dies, and the only thing they want is to leave as soon as possible and no longer come into contact with the horror that happened in this place, nor with those people who have suffered.
6. What does stone mean?
Another curious moment is connected with the stone, which the Kim family at the very beginning receives as a gift. The director himself says that he wanted to attract the attention of viewers to this stone and create a little intrigue. There is no tradition in Korea to give stones, so this gift looks at least strange. Viewers think that this may be some kind of metaphor, but at a certain moment, Kim Jr. himself says that it is a metaphor, and this all becomes even more confusing.
That stone was the only thing that Kim Jr. took from his flooded house: it became for him something like a talisman. Realizing that it was he who was to blame for the whole chain of events, the guy decides to deal with the inhabitants of the basement on his own and goes there with a stone. But as a result, the one to whom this stone was gifted himself gets it on the head and almost loses his life. “I think the stone brings an extra layer to the story. It feels like a damn thing, and in the end it is covered in blood. It’s like he tells the story of all these terrible events, ”says the director.
7. Who are the parasites?
On the one hand, it is obvious that the parasites are the Kim family that invaded the house of wealthy people and twists ropes from them. But on the other hand, it can be assumed that parasites are a family of rich people, because without their servants they will not be able to cope with either the household or some other problems – what can they do, they don’t even know what’s going on in their basement. And the Kimov family is not as stupid as it seems, otherwise they would not have been able to survive the driver and the housekeeper and so dexterously circled the owners’ fingers. It seems that the creators of the picture do not have a ready-made answer in this question, and they are merciless to all their heroes, and by and large, all are more or less parasites.
Do you like the movie “Parasites”? What are your feelings after watching?
Preview Photo Credit Parasite / Barunson E&A