As the day of 31st January 2020 and a few days after saw more than a 100 cinema theatres in India screening the Oscar and Palme d’Or winning South Korean thriller, Parasite, the people in India were exposed to a tale of two families from opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum in South Korea and the fate that befalls them.
Parasite, described by its creator as “A comedy without clowns, a tragedy without villains” is played by a flawless ensemble cast that does its best to portray the intricate satirical examination of class conflict in South Korea. This tale that has its own comic elements and yet stands its ground as a horribly fascinating thriller, has managed to appall many in India this January who went to view this satire in the cinemas.
Here’s the trailer to the award winning thriller:
When I went to watch this movie in the cinemas, all that I knew about it were its accomplishments of 6 Oscar nominations and what not when I ventured into this tale set in South Korea that could easily have been set in our own country where the class hierarchy reigns supreme.
This movie managed to open my eyes and make me view things from a perspective that I never knew even existed. I learned to view things from the lenses of the realities of all the working classes in our country that serve the rich and the affluent.
The movie showed clearly the contrast between the lives of the two families, right from the start where we were introduced to the Kim family who live in a sewage-flooded, stinky basement flat and are shown making a living folding pizza delivery boxes and using phones that make use of the unprotected Wifi-s of neighbours and nearby businesses that they get the signal for near their cramped toilet seat area.
Their situations and dialogues at times seem comic and made me laugh out loud but it really didn’t take long for the happy smiles and the pleasant mood to turn to grimaces and looks of utter horror as the story unfolded further.
Next I was introduced to the Parks family which was the high-class, rich family that lived in a grand mansion in the posh area of Seoul, far from the “stink of the people who rode the subway” and it was at this moment when the lives of these two families from opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum collided that all comedy and fun suddenly turned into tragedy and horror!
It is on serving at the affluent household of the Parks that the Kim family confronts a lifestyle that is in stark contrast to their own; it is the life of comfort and leisure they have only dreamed of ever having, even though they are clearly every bit as smart as, and a lot more united than the Parks.
At the same time, the dependency on the poor due to their lifestyle of requiring hired help all the time shines through in how the Parks hire and view the serving class/ the Kim family.
This almost parasitic nature of the rich leeching off the poor and the poor in turn surviving by submitting themselves to serving the rich class in order to survive is what the title “Parasite” hints at. This is also, exactly what makes this movie so “Real” yet “Appalling” for most of us Indians to see as we come face to face with the situation of our own society and the ominous disparities between the different classes of it.
Hence, for me, Parasite is a “Must Watch Movie” for all to see even if they might have missed the dates on which it was screening in the cinema theatres near them!
Parasite is, and will probably always be, a discomfortingly delightful movie for all desi movie-lovers that would love to confront the horror and dysfunctional elements that breed beneath the surface of the ‘pretty normal‘ parallel realities of South Korean society and our own.
Have you watched the movie yet? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments.