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Parasite (2019) - a film review

I have been a fan of Bong Joon-ho for a long time, so when I saw the images released from the early development of the film, I was quite excited. Bong seems to have perfected his unique style of dark comedy which can be seen though many of his films. The first film of his that I watched was Snowpiercer, a film that I will always stand up for in debate as I believe each actor's performance alongside Bong writing and directing, makes the film truly great. I also really enjoyed the satirical dark comedy of Okja.

Parasite is a 2019 a dark comedy film with thriller elements, it manages to showcase the the deep social and monitory divide that exists not just in South Korean society but all over the world, mainly in capitalist countries. I think one of the reasons why this film specifically did so well internationally despite being a Korean spoken film, is the universal message shown. One that most if not all its viewers could relate to, being exploited by those placed above you in society, whether it be your employer or the government that you are placed under. Parasite is able to compare the lives of the wealthy with that of the struggling working class in a way that is comical but for all the wrong reasons.

In all of Bong's films, the common theme is class and how poverty changes a person. Going all the way back to his film 'Barking dogs that never bite' back in 2000 was his very first film. It follows the same exportation of how wealth or lack there of. It shows how the relationship of the main couple is untimely destroyed by their financial situation. Along with this, many of his other films portray lower class characters who are suffering because of their economic systems, in some films there is solidarity between their class as they try and help each other either destroy the system they've been placed in (snow piercer) or there is no solidarity, and all the characters are fighting between themselves to come out on top or even just survive. Examples of this would be Mother or Parasite, itself. Either way is seems that Bong's general message is that that solidarity is necessary.

Whilst watching the film in the cinema, I was struck by the masterful editing. The editing is what landed most of the 'jokes' so to speak and as it was weaved in so well that it was truly great. This was the handiwork of Yang Jin-mo, a film editor who has worked on Bong's Okja back in 2017 and also on the highly acclaimed 'Train to Busan'. Another Korean thriller film that was well received Internationally and that I immensely enjoyed. (Perhaps this was because of the lead actor. I really am a big fan of Gong Ji-cheol so it was great to see his acting career take off again around that time.) Yang's abilities are evident in the work he has created over the past 6 years. Hopefully he will continue to collaborate with Bong in film.

Anyway, I am getting off track. I just wanted to take this post and really just talk about the elements that I really enjoyed. I thought that having the major visual theme of the film being stairs made for some great parallels for the three main family units of the film. The same could be said for the use of windows and sunlight being used as a visual metaphor of hope for the main family but it is what ultimately brings them down to the very lowest place.