At first, it was hard to believe that the film Parasite was as deserving of the waves and waves of reverence that everyone adopted when speaking about it. I was a firm non-believer, especially because even the best movies seem to have to rely on reproducing Hollywood tropes in order to achieve acclaim. For that reason, I believed that if you have seen one film then you have surely seen them all – it’s just nice to get out of the house and eat loads of popcorn every once in a while. Quite a big deal was made of the fact that a so-called foreign film scooped so many statues at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Even then, my expectations for the film were decidedly low because we all know how the hype machinery of Hollywood can ensnare even the most vigilant people with its hyperbole.
As my blog title shows, I was pleasantly surprised. The plot is refreshingly unpredictable. Set in South Korea, the film explores some stark contrasts in the material realities of the social classes. Considering that this was the first Korean film I’ve ever seen, it was really interesting to explore what poverty means in that context and, of course, to see the familiar and universal aloofness that accompanies wealth. By putting the Kim and Park families in close proximity and entangling their lives so humorously and tragically, Parasite exposes the relationship between the rich and poor; making it even more apparent that poor people’s suffering sustains and energises the lives of the wealthy – in ways that the latter can afford to pay very little regard to because their own survival is not as precarious. Take some time out of your life and watch this film. It’s astoundingly good.