Parasite Photograph:( Twitter )
Filmmaker Bong Jong Ho's latest film 'Parasite' makes class divide glaring and obvious leaving you numb and perhaps more conscious of your surroundings.
We have all been aware of it almost our entire life. Some of us address it, while others tend to overlook but filmmaker Bong Jong Ho's latest film 'Parasite' makes class divide glaring and obvious leaving you numb and perhaps more conscious of your surroundings.
Celebrated for his sharp interpretation of society in films like 'Okja' and 'Memories of Murder', Joon Ho's 'Parasite' scathes the underlying differences between classes in the society and how it leads to greed, envy and subsequently crime. With a brilliant screenplay by Han Ji Won and Joon-Ho himself, the film keeps its wry humour intact and hooked with its numerous, unexpected twists.
Divulging too much of the plot would give out the story but to explain it simply, the family of four headed by Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) wife Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin), son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and daughter Ki-jung (Park So-dam) have no money and no jobs. Living in a semi-basement in the seedy bylane of the big city in South Korea, they live a life on burrowed things including a WiFi connection that they have hacked from their neighbour's.
A friend of Ki-woo introduces him to the Park family where he has to give English tuition to their teenage daughter Park Da-hye( Jeong Ji-so). Ki-woo manages to impress the gullible mother Yeon-gyo( Cho Yeo-jeong ) with fake degrees and starts teaching the daughter. He also gets his sister to teach the younger son art- even though the two do not disclose that they are siblings. Ki-Jung eventually gets the driver of the family ousted on false charges of sexual perversion and gets father Ki-taek employed as the driver and he, in turn, brings his wife as the housekeeper as their original one mysteriously develops a life-threatening disease.
As the family of four suddenly get exposed to the wealth and comfort of Parker household, they feel all their worries are now over- after all, they all are employed. But a night, while the Parker family is out camping and the Ki-taek and his family lay seige on their sprawling bungalow just till their employers are away, things start going off their script and they grapple to cover up the lies that they have spewing for so long.
Jong-ho uses stairs- inside the house, in the city - to define the stark divide between the rich and the impoverished. The film has some great camerawork by Hong Kyung-Pyo and each of his frames define the film and the context well. From the dark, dimly lit alleys of a secret bunker to the clean, structured frames of Parker family home to the cramped spaces of Ki-taek's dwelling on the road- each frame comes alive with great detailing. Music by Jung Jae-il too enhances the narrative- making you hooked to the twists that are sprawled over the two-hour story.
Jong ho's film not only excels in performance and storytelling but the film is a beautiful example of showing a dark twisted tale effectively through great camerawork, screenplay and music. The story may all be too familiar for Asians but it still makes for a compelling watch.
It has earned a whopping 10 nominations at the Oscars this year, and rightfully so. Because even if in India, we have seen films on class divide (albeit through love stories) it still makes for a very thrilling, engaging film- that stays with you, makes you think even after you have left the theatre.