fbpx
27/02/2020 The magazine by Communication Science students of the UvA

What Parasite teaches us about the poverty gap

The Korean movie Parasite got an 8-minute standing ovation at the Cannes film festival, but what kind of story warrants such a reaction from the public?


 In case you have not been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you surely must have heard of the movie Parasite. This Korean movie, directed by Bong Joon-Ho (famous from Okja (2017) and Snowpiercer (2013), among others) has been making the rounds for being the first Korean language film to win a Palm d’Or at the Cannes film festival, winning a Golden Globe and being nominated for six Oscars. The film has been met with so much praise that rumor has it that the film received a stunning 8 minute long standing ovation only cut short by director Bong, who later admitted he was really hungry at that time when he said: ‘Thank you, now let’s go home.’

What is it exactly that makes this movie so special? Except for its stunning camerawork, Parasite tells us a story that is almost as timeless as it is universal: The one about the gap between the rich and the poor. While most of us don’t really live in one extreme or the other (although we as students might relate more to the poor), Parasite does a great job of showing us this issue without blaming either of the parties. So how does Parasite do it? Let me break down the story for you.

The story
The film starts us off with the Kim family. The Kim family is a poverty-ridden family living in a half basement. Symbolically so, as a half-basement signifies that not all hope is lost: It is not yet completely underground. The Kims try to do anything to get a little bit of extra money (including taking up a part-time pizza box folding gig), but luck is just not on their side. Not until their eldest son, Ki-Woo gets an offer he can not refuse from his close friend Min: To tutor the daughter of the elite Park family.

The Parks are everything the Kims are not: First off, they live in a house on top of the hill. Way different from the Kims who literally almost live underground. Second of all, they don’t have to worry about anything, which makes them quite naïve and trusting of anything happening around them. It is this naivety that Ki- Woo successfully manages to exploit and this is how he manages to get all the workers in the Parks’ house replaced with members of the Kim family. It is this employment that gives the movie its name, ‘Parasite,’ as the Kims slowly infiltrate the house and contaminate it in much the same way a parasite benefits from living on or even in its host. 

Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films

What follows is a movie that increasingly shows us how far apart the Parks and the Kims are from each other. The repercussions? I will refrain from spoiling the ending for you, but I highly recommend you to go see it for yourself. 

Is it fair?
There are several aspects of this movie that get lost in translation and/or culture. Think, for example, a scene in which Ki- Woo (played by Choi Woo-shik) teaches his father (played by veteran actor Song Kang-ho) how he should act, a scene which director Bong later explained to us to a Korean audience would be like Tom Holland teaching Robert de Niro how to act. Still, the message the film sends us is a haunting yet relatable one: Neither side of the poverty gap is evil or at fault of the big gap between their way of living. It is precisely this kind of depiction of everyday life that makes us question: Is it fair that either of these people live this way? What decides who gets to live a life in poverty and who in abundance? And what is it that we, people somewhere steadily in the middle class, can do to make life more balanced in both directions?

1-inch tall barrier
This movie left me with more questions than I can answer. The clear lack of a villain in the movie makes it easy to empathize with both sides of the coin and a surprise turn in the movie leaves you questioning absolutely everything you saw. Parasite is a movie worth watching not only due to its amazing story and camerawork, but due to its status as a film that breaks down boundaries: It is not often that a foreign language film is met with such enthusiasm and praise, but in a day and age where subtitles are so easily available, there is no excuse to not indulge in amazing foreign language films. Director Bong himself put it best: ‘ Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.’.

Cover: IMDB

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

A wrap-up on the International Film Festival Rotterdam Awards Ceremony

27/02/2020

27/02/2020

Medium summarizes the awards of the most prominent film festival in the Netherlands, the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. As one of the largest film festivals in the world, 2020 was the IFFR's 49th edition, hosting masterclasses, screenings, panel discussions, and a vast crowd from the most talented in the film industry.

A Requiem to BoJack Horseman

26/02/2020

26/02/2020

Spanning six seasons, Netflix’s first original animated series BoJack Horseman finally came to an end last January. First dismissed as yet another adult animated show much like The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers, BoJack Horseman grew to be revered as a brilliantly dark, thoughtful show that doesn’t pull any punches when discussing social issues. Karina discusses the show's brilliance.

Medium Podcast #9- IFFR Interview with Artemio Narro and Manolo Caso

25/02/2020 and

25/02/2020

Medium Podcast went on the field to interview Artemio Narro and Manolo Caso after the world premiere of Narro's second feature film and Caso's acting debut in ColOZio.

Fake News: het dodelijkste virus dat er is

24/02/2020

24/02/2020

Volgens de media zou de halve wereld als besmet zijn met het Coronavirus. Echter valt dit reuze mee en probeert de media ons door fake news bang te maken.

Fake News and the Coronavirus: How the Media verbalize Xenophobia in the New Decade

22/02/2020

22/02/2020

As the Coronavirus spreads so do the misinformation and fake news that lead to xenophobia around the globe. Stephanie writes about her own experience as an Asian student abroad.

Becoming Your Own Life Coach – Living an Enriched Life

21/02/2020

21/02/2020

The series of Becoming Your Own Life Coach reaches its second chapter. Andrada reflects on the applied knowledge of the first book of the series and reviews a second one.

The Road to Acceptance of Queer Women in Media Representation

19/02/2020

19/02/2020

Acceptance or fetishization? This article takes a critical look at the way the media portrays lesbians and their relationships.

Medium Podcast #8 – Jade’s Pact

14/02/2020 and

14/02/2020

The month in which Jade stopped using smartphones and developed a texting twitch (Parents beware).

Personal Ads: Who needs Cupid?

14/02/2020

14/02/2020

From personal ads to dating apps, people have advertised themselves to find the best suitor. Medium tells you why cupid is out of business.

Parasite wins Best Picture without an ’English-speaking’ host

13/02/2020

13/02/2020

Parasite makes history at the 92nd Academy Awards by being the first non-English speaking film to win Best Picture, defeating eight other competing English-language movies. Danny tells us why Parasite deserved to win.

A day in the life of the FSR FMG’s official secretary

13/02/2020

13/02/2020

Have you ever wondered what the secretary of the FSR FMG does? Meet Robin while she tells about her job! The job that currency has a vacancy, so check it out!

“Trust the child within you”: Interview with Francis Alÿs

Medium interviewed Francis Alÿs, director of "Sandlines", which premiered in Europe at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. His work is currently being exhibited at the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam.

Black tie: A guide on formal attire

12/02/2020

12/02/2020

Your next formal event is coming up and no idea what to wear? Then this article is the perfect guide in what to wear in ‘black tie’ to the next formal event.  

The Lessons of a Mercurius Sales Committee Member

10/02/2020

10/02/2020

Have you ever wondered what the Sales Committee of the study association Mercurius exactly does? Margarete gives you an insight into the useful skills she has developed as part of the committee.

Vienna: City of dreams

10/02/2020

10/02/2020

The Austrian capital is a worldwide famous destination with all sorts of architecture, museums, and landmarks to visit. If you are an art or history lover, a foodie, or you just get a thrill out of traveling to a new place; Vienna is the place for you!

mersin escort mersin escort mersin escort canlı tv konya escort