Parasite: The South Korean Film That Made History

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Who has never heard of Parasite? This film attracted a lot of attention when it won the Oscar 2020 taking 4 statuettes. And it was the first non-English-speaking film to win in the Best Film category. Definitely a great milestone for South Korean culture.

The film Parasite (기생충) was released in Brazil on November 9, 2019, is directed by Bong Joon-ho and produced by Barunson E&A Corp. In the main cast are the actors Park Seo-joon, Park Sodam, Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin, Cho Yeo-jeong, Sun-Kyun Lee, Jung Ji-so, Lee Jung-eun and others.

What made this drama worthy of the Oscar? What message does it bring and how does it compare to the biggest series of the moment Round 6?

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Parasite plot

According to the dictionary definition, Parasite means “organism that lives from and in another organism, obtaining food from it and often causing damage to it”. Surely that name couldn't be so appropriate! The film tells the story of a family of 4 people who suffer from so much poverty. They don't have a job and live in a very simple place.

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Their luck changes when Min (Park Seo-joon) receives a proposal from a friend to take his place as an English language tutor while he leaves the country. His friend teaches English to a rich young woman and is apparently in love with her so he asks him to take care of her until he returns. But Min has no training, but he knows the English language. So he asks his sister Ki-jung (Park Seo-joon) who knows art to make a fake resume.

Min manages to be accepted to teach the young Da-hye (Jung Ji-so) and ends up falling in love with her a short time later. There he realizes that the son of the hostess likes art so he suggests his sister (not to mention his sister, but an ex-college classmate) and she can also work at the house. The two earn well, but not satisfied, Ki-jung sets a trap for the driver to be fired and then she suggests her father Kim (saying he was a driver for an acquaintance) to work there.

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After the three family members are in the house, Kim and the children set up the housekeeper and have her fired. He then suggests his wife Chung-Sook (Jang Hye-jin) without saying that she is his wife. Then the whole family starts working on the house based on lies to have a better financial life.

One day the family of parasites are alone in the rich family's house, then the former housekeeper appears saying that she needs to get something she had forgotten. Upon entering she takes Chung-Sook to a basement where she hides her husband and says that she kept him there all this time because she couldn't afford it and asks her to continue feeding her husband.

But Chung-Sook refuses and the rest of the family rolls down the stairs and the former housekeeper discovers they are just like her. The former housekeeper threatens to show the rich family their video. When the owners of the house return everyone disguises and the former housekeeper and her husband are locked in the basement, but she ends up falling and dying when she hits her head.

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On the birthday of the youngest son of the housewife, everyone is together and the husband of the former housekeeper manages to escape from the basement, throws a huge rock at Min's head, locks a knife in Ki-jung's chest and tries to stab Chung-Sook who manages to kill him, but Kim sticks a knife in his half-complex boss every time he complains about his scent and holds his nose as he approaches. Kim goes into hiding in the rich family's basement and stays hiding there until the day he can leave.

Parasite social critique

The film Parasite makes a heavy criticism of social inequality in South Korea. There it shows the extreme of those who have a lot and those who have nothing. And those who have nothing do everything to try to reach the top, even if it is illegal. Able to even kill not to have the same life as before.

The criticism that I believe is present is also about the poor having fewer opportunities for employment and education because of the social situation. Everyone in the parasitic family actually had the skills they used to work, but none of them had enough education and couldn't get a job because they didn't have experience and proven training. And when they got some jobs they weren't paid fairly.

The desperation for not having the basics is so much that they accept to humiliate themselves to the point of living in other people's basements just to have food. And those who have resources do not want to be too involved with those who are not of the same standard of living. This despair caused by inequality is worldwide mainly in less developed countries.

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Parasite X Round 6

I've already written about Round 6 here and the drama is leading the ranking of the most watched series on Netflix. What they have in common is that they are well-received South Korean creations. Parasite received 4 Oscar statuettes, the first North Korean film to receive the Oscar and Round 6 came to break the prejudice surrounding Korean productions, for being leading the platform.

Both have comedy, drama and suspense. The starting point is financial difficulty and debt. These people are capable of anything to get out of financial distress. This reality draws attention to the fact that many people live on the edge as well.

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Have you seen any of these South Korean productions?