Parasitic Perspective

Going beyond parasites historical achievements

So-dam Park (left) and Woo-sik Choi in a scene from “Parasite.” (Neon/TNS)

History has been made. Parasite is the first foreign film to not only be nominated for best picture at The Oscars, but to win the category. While it may seem like an odd choice due to it being a foreign film, it was ultimately received well by international audiences.

The film is first and foremost a subdued social commentary on the disparity of social classes in South Korea. The issue may seem distant for some, but the class structure that it criticizes is similar to other major nations such as the U.S..

¨I thought it was an amazing movie overall and its statement on the problems with the extreme social gap in South Korea only added to that,¨ senior Kristin Bianco said. “I think that it’s definitely different [to our issues] in some ways, but for the most part every country can relate to having a socioeconomic gap and can therefore learn from the problems being exposed in the movie.”

Bong Joon-Ho, the director of the movie, has a filmography that contains many films following the same central theme of classism. His film ¨Snowpiercer¨ takes place on a train that contains different classes in each cart.

¨Income inequality has been getting worse as of late, so I think that’s why so many people have resonated with Parasite because it exposes this division. I think many people feel hostile towards rich people, it’s a pretty common feeling, even in such a capitalist country like the US,¨ senior Kayleigh Leahy said. ¨I mean it won best picture at one of the most ´American´ award shows to exist, so it must be pretty relevant to us.”

The story begins with the Kim family, who live in a semi-basement household with few resources. The setting and dark lighting makes it evident that they are barely scraping by. Through a series of schemes, they manage to get various employees fired from the rich Park family home, and take the places of those they have eliminated.

¨Their family’s basement home was always shot tightly and the production design was consistently grimey and overcrowded just like their suffocating lifestyle that consisted of a constant struggle for money,¨ Leahy said. ¨And then the Park home was very open and had a free-flowing feel to it, and it felt richer due to their money.¨

The characters all have the same goal in mind: to be rich. Both families have a set of parents and two children: one boy and one girl. The Kim family has an older boy and a younger girl while the Park family has a younger boy and an older girl.

“I loved the characters. I feel like they made the movie and the actors were perfect for their roles,” Leahy said. “Their performances were spot on\; I couldn’t see anyone else playing these characters.”

The film’s international success has given representation to minorities that is rarely given.

¨From what I understand, the director meant it to be a critique on capitalism, and I’m personally not too big on politics, so I don’t have too strong of an opinion there, but, as an Asian American, Parasite is a monumental film,¨ senior Allan Stacy said. ¨It represents brothers of my culture, and to see it be so successful is inspiring me to do something great to represent my culture as well someday.¨