Monday, January 20, 2020

The Subtle Representation of the PARASITES (기생충) in the Movie



The Korean movie PARASITE (기생충) has been considered  as one of the best movies of the decade after getting so much attention from international audience gaining different awards from different award-giving bodies. It breaks a lot of records in the history of Korea as it's the first Korean movie to receive major awards in the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globe Awards. Of course, the movie didn't win those awards for no reason at all. The premise of the movie is all about a poor family getting their way up to become employees of a rich family posing as unrelated and highly qualified individuals. Things get complicated when the rich family almost found out their schemes via the previous housekeeper who also has secrets of her own.

Judging from the title, you would probably think that this is another thriller movie with twisted creatures trying to devour our protagonist, but no, this isn't. It's actually a thriller-comedy, an awkward combination for a movie genre. The “Parasite” here is not necessarily the figurative creatures that suck the good life out of the host. It's actually a metaphor that refers to people who rely too much on others to satisfy their needs. This goes without saying that the  Kim family and the Housekeeper who belong to the lower class of the society are the Parasites. However, the movie shows subtle inkling about other parasites too that may exist in real life. I will try not to spoil as much as possible, but if you're not comfortable, you can stop reading from here.

1. The Dominating Country

The living room scene shows how the North Korea became a Parasite to South Korea. When I was still in South Korea, I used to hear people's clamor over North Korea's demand to the President of the South. If the South won't meet the demands of the North, they threaten to launch a missile and destroy the South. How is this portrayed in the movie? It's up to you to find out because the (mis) representation is very subtle.

2. The Capitalists

You think they have all the money in the world that they don't need other people to satisfy their needs? No, not true at all. The Capitalists, also known as the business genius, also known as the “chaebol”, also known as your boss, are also parasites. In the birthday party scene, the boss literally bossed around from the preparation to the actual party celebration. The rich family crossed the border by making their employees do something beyond the agreed job description. You may think you could let this pass as most of them will represent this as a “favor”, but isn't it showing how the strong ones abuse the strength of the weak ones?

3. The Kids

They're cute, they're funny and they're adorable, but little did we know that they are already controlling us. If they don't get what they want, they'll just throw tantrums to make you do what they want to do. This is how kids act like a parasite. They are too dependent on us that they used their being kids to get the life out of us.

There are sure other characters, aside from the poor, who shows subtle intuition of being a Parasite. You may not notice it, but if you watch the movie with a broader perspective, you can definitely recognize them. After all, parasites attack on a hindsight. You only know they're there if the damage has been done!