South Korea


Assuming you have already watched this Academy award-winning masterpiece, read further to unravel not-so-subtle imagery of class hierarchy in modern society.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

It is not easy to describe or critique a movie like Parasite. It is a satirical, drama-thriller. Like its father, Bong Joon-ho, the movie is highly dynamic as it changes tones like a girl changes clothes (Hot N Cold reference). Bong creates a tapestry depicting class hierarchy via his craft of interweaving various subtle as well as not-so-subtle threads.

The movie opens with the Kim family son, Ki-woo, walking around their tiny house in search of Wi-Fi connection. The toilet happens to be the highest point in the house apparently giving him the connection to a network that probably isn’t password-protected, basically leeching off some neighbour. Evidently, the parasitical attributes of the family are established very early in the film. We also see how the family lives in a semi-basement. Semi-basement means that the house is also semi-over ground essentially giving the family a sense of hope as well.

A little further into the movie we see the Park family house located on some sort of a hilltop. Later we also learn how Moon-gwang and Geun-sae live in an even lower basement in the Park house. Bong uses this element of “upstairs and downstairs” to establish the positions of these families in the class hierarchies. The same concept is used in multiple ways further in the film.

Watching the movie, you realise that this isn’t just a fight between two families from different social backgrounds, but also between two families from the same background. Instead of coexistence, the idea of “survival of the fittest” is somewhat adopted. Eventually, after all the ruckus and drama, the Kim family manages to put Geun-sae and Moon-gwang back to where they really “belong”- the lowest basement.

Right after this we also see the Kim family hiding under the living room table as soon as they hear the owners of the house return; just like how cockroaches hide under small spaces in fear of getting caught and killed. As soon as the family seems to be asleep, they run and escape at their first chance, back to their original “hole”.

Water happens to play a rather significant role throughout the film. Initially, we see a man urinating outside the Kims’ window. They try to fight him away by throwing water at him, which only turns everything messier. Later in the movie, we see how the Kim basement is flooded with sewage water after heavy rainfall. Clearly, water hasn’t been their best friend after all. The flooded basement also gives a push to a domino effect which is to follow.

When the family is called back to work the next day, which is a weekend, a blatant tension can be sensed, best expressed by Ki-taek (Kang-Ho Song). While Ki-taek is driving Yeon-kyo back home from the market, we see her talk to a friend on a call about how the rain had been a blessing clearing up the sky of pollution. We learn how the rain has different effects on people from different classes. While it dragged one family out of their house, it pulled back another from a camping trip, only to appreciate the house more.

The movie reaches its climax when Gyun-sae manages to set himself free and runs up to attack, first Ki-woo, and next his sister Ki-jung. When Ki-taek kills Gyun-sae and tries to save his daughter, Park Dong-ik just asks him to abandon his own family and drive them away. This simply shows how little he cared about the “lower” class family, yet again creating a class division.

Out of frustration, killing Dong-ik, Ki-taek hides in the very place he wished to escape- the lowest basement. He became what he was trying to get rid of. The Park family left the house giving way to yet another rich German family to take their place. No matter what, a richer family will always be above Ki-taek, leaving him to remain a mere parasite.

With Ki-jung dead, Ki-woo and Chung-sook return to their original places in the semi-basement. When Ki-woo decodes a message from his father, he pledges to work hard his entire life until he is able to buy the house, and then all Ki-taek needs to do is “walk upstairs”. We even see the family reuniting, but Bong shoots his final bullet as a sure-fire, bringing Ki-woo back in his home to let his audience know that life isn’t so convenient, and his aspirations can never really turn to reality. This again reflects a very realistic image.

Why Parasite is adored throughout the world is because this same plot which is set in South Korea could have been set in New York or London or even New Delhi. Class division is a universal concept and affects each one of us in one way or the other.


Feature Image Credit: CJ Entertainment

Aditi Gutgutia

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How K-Dramas created a stir and gained love and support from Indian viewers

Korean Dramas or K-Dramas have completely swept the people of India and won over our hearts. The sublime storyline, splendid soundtrack, unique culture and adorable actors have all contributed into getting us hooked. The ‘Korean wave’ or spread of Korean culture happened in bits and pieces but gained momentum with the airing of the worldwide blockbuster show ‘Descendants of the Sun’ on Zindagi Channel in India.

The Plot

What makes these dramas special is the earthiness of the stories. Unlike Indian TV shows which comprise of theatrics and whole new level of extra, K-Dramas remain realistic allowing us as viewers to relate. There are no thalis falling or mandir ki ghantis ringing; the characters, their problems, the setting and storyline all remains grounded. These dramas usually have 20 episodes, with the plot evolving and keeping you on toes with every episode. And thus, the story leaves an impact rather than being stretched for years where the same actors even play their own children.

Although usually famous for its heart-breaking and toe-curling romance, these dramas do justice to every genre. Shows like Goblin and Descendants of the Sun have raised the bar in every aspect of television content and thus every show- be it romance, thriller, action- has become addictive. Another reason for this susceptibility to getting addicted is the deep understanding of emotions in these shows, viewers do not remain spectators but as though become an active part of it. They feel the pain of the characters, cry along with them, feel the chills and suspense, gush with them- such is the command and charisma it holds.

The Soundtrack:

The dialogues, characters, story is all tied together by the soundtrack of the show, and K-Dramas have provided us with stellar music and music artists. These shows also come with beautiful locations, sets and cinematography all beautifully woven by music by popular and talented artists from Korea. While these sets have attracted people to visit South Korea, the OST of these shows has become a gateway for many into K-Pop as well.

The Characters

The best quality about the characters is this sense of relatability we have with them, we get to connect with them and the problems they face. As the story unfolds, we begin to get more and more attached to the characters. Each character has her own unique story, the other characters do not just exist to further the story of the protagonists.

K-Dramas are very subtle with regards to romance and only imply certain things, leaving their viewers wanting more. This innocence and the good-looking actors also add on to charm of the characters. The surreal performance by Korean actors brings these characters to life.


These shows give us glance into the culture of these people, the clothes, language, lifestyle, food, families and so on. A pattern in these K-dramas is that it depicts two extremes- the very wealthy and the poverty stricken. Most shows focus on pressures in school life, authoritarian parental relationships and importance of money. Among these what has gained major attraction are the skin routines and remedies and the funky and trendy sense of fashion, which Koreans are famous for.

This is only the first wave which has created such a strong place for itself in the hearts of the Indian audience, the future holds endless possibilities for this culture.

Featured Image Credits- grafpicf

Shivani Dadhwal
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