“Parasite” – Contemporary Tragicomedy by Korean Director Bong Joo-ho
Bong Joo ho’s film “Parasite” is a perfect combination of almost all genres. During the film, you will be taken over by envy and sorrow. Apparently, the Director tries to represent one great sin by combining 7 Deadly Sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride). Each and every sin is thought to be a small step, a push to the next “fall”.
The film is about a family living in the remote district in a tiny basement with its half-part in the ground, while the other one faces the light. Though they may dwell upon the abyss, their pride still let them walk on the Earth. Thus their current home is a perfect expression of the invisible bar putting the poverty and riches apart. Their story could be considered as the disfigured version of Plato’s Cave. As if they have already heard about the shadows, the real creatures living beyond the wall. But it has turned out to be not enough for their starving souls and they try to return back to the basement hopelessly. Their inner emptiness, constant feeling of the hunger rushes to gluttony.
There could be multiple expressions of Hunger and each of them respectively could be represented by raising awareness through suffering or breaking down. For example, there is one Korean storytelling that when the man from socialites passed away, the family would put some rice into the man’s mouth, believing he would not leave the world unfed. One of the heirs of the Joseon Dynasty was locked in the box by his father for 8 days due to his “bad” behavior. On the last day, he died from starvation. Notably, he was so hungry that 7 spoons of rice were given to him instead of one. If you take food, water, light and freedom from people, time by time they can get closer to being the real “them”, yet not enliven. They will clearly understand the reason for their existence and the things they expect from life to get. They will never be that calm again. On the contrary, due to the lack of knowledge, the characters of this film cannot find metaphorical explanations for the food. They are insects, parasites, but yet not like Gregor Samsa (Franz Kafka), who was turned into an insect because of his surroundings. The characters of this film were born parasites, creatures crawling on the Earth. Every pedestrian is able to step on them, but they can put up with this condition right after making sure, that this shoe is about to step into the wealthiest family.
Ki-woo is one of the protagonists of this film. He treacherously enters the family of the wealthy and settles down. For the protagonist, this wealthy family is a kind of prey, a deer killed by the claws and teeth of the lion. He tried the first bite, then invited his whole family to taste leftovers. Now they are enjoying their violently acquired meal.
Meanwhile, as it turned out, they are not alone and this house has its well-known basement. And from that basement, the same eyes filled with hunger are looking at the game of the shadows. These are stairs connecting the basement and the house. Representing the broken bridge to connect “poor” with “rich”. These are the stairs Ki-Woo has to bear his burden. He is Sisyphus of the modern era, who was supposed to unconsciously bear the burden.
It seems like, this film is breaking all the myths and realities connected to high matters and super-humanity. Naturally, a battlefield is a sacred area betokening the representation of the bravest. The area, where the game is not for winning but showing morality. On the contrary, in this film, the winner is a morally crashed individual, instead of superhuman. Finally, a bite spilled by accident is acquired by someone, who “better” killed the person in oneself and became a parasite.