Parasite Movie: A Visual Metaphor of Reality

person holding clapperboard

"This is so metaphorical!”- The interjection used by one of the characters in the beginning establishes the whole context of the movie in its true sense. The 2020 Oscar winning movie Parasite stands inimitable in terms of direction and language, among other similar movies like Joker and Knives Out that put forward the ceaseless disparity between rich and the marginalized. In a world where humanity is questioned and the class struggle is constantly debated, the movie becomes a real manifestation of social inequality.

It is the story of two families, one is out in the open while the other is pushed into shadows. Director Bong Joon-Ho has distinctively captured the visual metaphor of the movie by getting the two families involve in a symbiotic relationship that eventually turns out to be a battle for existence. 


Unveiling the plot

The Kim family includes the siblings Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and Ki-jeong (Park So-dam), their father Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) and their mother, Choong-sook (Jang Hye-jin). They struggle to make their both ends meet as each one of them in the family is unemployed. The plot establishes itself as Ki-woo happens to take the job of tutoring a rich teenage girl that made him realise the aristocratic lifestyle of the rich Park family. He sneaks his sister Ki-jeong into the house and together they make the family dismiss all their existing staff with the further installment of their mother and father as housekeeper and driver respectively. But the story makes a turn as the former housekeeper shows up who has her husband hidden in the secret room of the basement. The visual grammar of class consciousness begins as the Kim family confronts another group of parasites that threatens their existing symbiotic relationship. This creates a conflict among the parasites that turns out to be a fight for dominance. 


Struggle for survival

The further violence among the parasites seriously injures the former housekeeper who crumbles on the basement. The unexpected disruption of the peaceful symbiosis caused by the inhabitants of the basement leaves the Kim family in a fix. The hosts are unaware of the mishap in their house as they blissfully live in their ignorant world of materialistic pleasures. The only person in the Park family who thinks different is their youngest son who figures out the flickering of light in the staircase that was actually the deed of the hidden husband in the basement. The scene where Kim family hides under the table and the Park couple indulging in sexual act gives a stark contrast between the luxurious life led by rich and struggle of survival by the rest of the world.
The sudden onset of flood makes the dilapidated house of Kim family uninhabitable. This tragic incident leaves them all in the streets.

There is something that has been nothing but conspicuous at this moment is that how Ki-woo clings on to the "sacred rock" even after losing everything in the flood. The irony lies in the fact that a family that has potentially nothing holds on to a rock that is supposed to bestow good fortune and wealth upon them.

Kim family shows up the next day at the house of Parks with no plan whatsoever. Meanwhile, the former housekeeper dies in the basement and her husband is left alone in the room. Kim-woo attempts to kill the husband in the basement, but he succeeds to escape. He has been a strange yet plausible character from his introduction in the movie as he shows immense respect to the host, Mr. Park by flickering the lights with the help of switches in the basement. The alienation and loneliness that he suffers make him savage and he resorts to violence as it is his only chance of survival. This leads to the murder of Ki-jeong in the end. 


Odour of poverty

The Kim family is seen making constant efforts to hide their penury, yet the smell of poverty remains so obvious that they cannot fake it. The despicable odour that they carry upon themselves infuriated Park family every now and then. The loathsome cringing of the eyes of Parks when they get the smell develops into a slow evolving vengeance in Ki-taek. The burning fire inside him bursts out in the end when he murders Mr. Park. The transformation of Ki-taek from being a loyal driver to a discriminated and ruthless servant is incredibly portrayed which makes the movie less of a classical tragedy. 


Circle of symbiosis

After the murder, Ki-taek hides in the basement, taking the place of the hidden husband. Ki-woo gets attacked by the same rock that he considers as his lucky charm. Ki-jeong is murdered and Choong-sook gets expelled. The symbiosis broke off. But the question is: When a parasite conquers its host, won't there be a possibility of yet another host and a parasite?
The circle of host-parasite existences remains unbroken in the laws of nature. This is reflected upon the human life as well. As the movie closes, the Park house is occupied by another rich family where light flickers at regular intervals. 


Conclusion

The gripping tale of inequality and class struggle takes over its trail of success by grabbing Academy awards for best director, best film, best screenplay and best foreign film. The movie rules out ambiguity and dramatic outpour. When the rainstorm hits, it is seen as the vivid contrast involving an invigorating rain for the rich and as a destructive force of nature for the rest of the world. The film's unparalleled message of increasing capitalism and an ignorant society devoid of humanity makes the audience think twice while watching the scenes which are coherently put together. It is true that the movie talks about inequality, but it doesn't mean that it favors the rich. The rich like Park family isolates themselves from the rest of the world. One cannot call the Kim family innocent just because they are poor either. 

Being highly entertaining and thought provoking, the movie stands out as one among the best of 2019.

Written By: Chandana J. S.
Edited By: Harshit Agarwal                      


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Parasite Movie: A Visual Metaphor of Reality Parasite Movie: A Visual Metaphor of Reality Reviewed by EMN on March 15, 2020 Rating: 5

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