The latest Oscar-winning Bong Joon-Ho’s marvel, Parasite movie has got everyone talking about the unique plot and the enigmatic climax. So if you are here reading this article, we assume that you must have already watched the movie and if not then off you go!
The Parasite is a ‘dystopia’ which as per Wikipedia means an ‘imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic’. The very base of the movie is based on the discrepancies and the income inequalities between the richer sections of the society and the poor ones however Parasite is far more pessimistic in this argument. Throughout the movie, many different themes are followed in a collective form which justifies it as a cinematic wonder.
Theme – CLASS
One of the most evident themes of the film which makes the primer for the film is class. In the beginning, we are introduced to Kim’s family struggling to live in a half-basement house characteristic of Seoul, South Korea, the family have no proper jobs and struggles to get even 3 meals a day. The family is then gradually employed by the wealthy Parks family which makes Kim’s and the audience visualize the class discrepancies of the society. Throughout the film, they want to live the life of their employers and then they encounter Moon-Gwang the previously employed maid of the house who had her husband hidden in a secret bunker beneath the mansion. Here the audience encounters three families the wealthy yet naïve and helpless Park’s family and the two poor families the Parks and Moon-Gwang’s which when bumping into each other are no less than a reflection in the mirror of themselves, both trying to benefit from the wealthier, helpless and desperate.
Money is depicted in many colours both bright and dark, its something which makes everything seem brighter, nicer and at the same time lack of wealth makes a person dull and less accountable. The Parks family is happy and abundant but at the same time the wealth makes them vulnerable and shallow. In the movie, Chung-Sook says in reference to Mrs. Park that “she is nice because she is rich” meaning that it is much easier to be generous to others when you are rich also when one is far away from the dark realities of the society.
Theme – PARASITISM
If one dissects the title, a parasite implies an individual which lives on another organism or entity known as the host and feeds of the nutrients at the host’s expense.
In the film, the Kim’s family and Moon-Gwang family are the obvious parasites feeding upon their employers to sustain themselves, however, from another point of view the Parks can also be seen as parasites who equally naïve and helpless feeding off the obedience and skills of their workers. But they cant be regarded as the real parasites rather just stupid wealthy people relying on the lower class for their own benefit. The class difference is the Parasite altogether which makes the Kim’s always dream about the wealth they one day would be able to possess. In the last scene, we also see Kim Ki-Woo wants to become wealthier and buy the Parks mansion so that his father can walk again freely but the scene rather ends from where it all started in the half-basement and that is where the harsh reality of the society is spilled like water on the eyes of the audience that he won’t ever be able to become so wealthy and it’ll only remain a dream.
Theme – SURVIVAL AND GREED
Survival brings the two kids into the Parks mansion when they are employed by them and gradually they make space for their parents by somehow tricking the Parks to remove the previous employees. The father takes up the job of the driver and mother becomes the new maid while both the children teach the Park’s kids, here survival is transformed to greed because no matter how much a person has, its natural human tendency is to want ‘more’.
The encounter of Kim’s with Moon-gwang who hid her husband in the basement leads the two families to fight for their own survival. As previously quoted they are no less than a reflection in the mirror of themselves because it is the same urge of survival that makes Moon-Gwang keep her husband in the bunker amidst working for the Parks and it is the similar instinct of the Kim’s to which makes them so inventive to maintain their economic mobility.
Theme – RAGE
Rage comes like sleep in the movie, slowly and then all at once. Along with inequality and desperation comes the companions rage and violence. There is psychological violence in the film where the Parks invite the Kim’s to their parties but also exclude them in some way or the other. In the film, the Parks kid Da-Sung points out that all the four of the Kim’s smelled similar though the Park’s are unknown of the fact that they are a family. When the Parks are out for vacation a struggle breaks between Moon-Gwang and the Kim’s both fighting to maintain their positions in the Parks house for their own survival.
The end scene is both brutal and a mockery of the political positions of the characters Chung-Sook pushes Moon-Gwang down the stairs leading to her death, her husband hits Ki-Woo with the rock and stabs Ki-Jung and Da-Song collapses and most unexpectedly the real rage of the lower class with the inequality of the upper class is shown when Ki-Taek stabs Mr. Park when he is saturated with the expression of his boss making faces to the smell, of Ki-Taek.
Theme – INFRASTRUCTURE
The Park family returns home due to thunderstorm but Da-Song urges to stay in a waterproof tent outside in the lawn while they enjoy a good sleep. In contrast to the Kim’s family which reaches home only to see their half-basement home flooded with the dirty sewage water. The very gist of the scene shows that being lower class, one not always wants the luxuries enjoyed by the upper class but also wants to be lesser vulnerable to diseases and infrastructural collapse.
Theme – HOPE
The very sense of hope keeps the Kim’s going, the hope of a better job, hopes of better living conditions, hopes of wealth, hopes of studying in reputed Universities and also the hope that one day, Ki-Woo will become so wealthy that he would be able to break free his father by buying the Park’s mansion. Ki-Taek hides in the bunker below as a scavenger in the hope that one day he would break free. Ki-Woo writes a letter to his father hoping for a better life for his family even after all of the endurance.
Hope is the parasite which thrashes them down but keeps them going, anyhow.
Image Source – IMDB
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