I went to see the movie, ‘Parasite’ over the snowy, wet weekend with my s.o. and that was wild. It may be cultural (in multiple ways) but a trepidation of mine about movies has been their predictability. When I grew up, I think I sort of took for granted just how creative they were at that time (I’m thinking the early-mid 70’s in particular). I feel as though I either know every plot now because they are derived from a well known book or I know the plot because they just aren’t very creative or intelligent. This movie showed how to do all that.

The story is about a family – a poor one – in Korea. They’ve adapted to their circumstances by doing what they need to, spending more time appreciating small victories than grieving the circumstances that put them in need of those abilities. For instance, they scamper all over their apartment trying to find the magic spot to land a free, publicly available WiFi service. When one is password-guarded, they know how to go about guessing what it likely is. When they get it, the family as a whole are happy as clams -over that victory.  The son ends up being ‘gifted’ a chance to be an English tutor for a wealthy family’s teenage daughter. He leverages that to land his sister a job as an art tutor. He also leverages his place to land his Dad a job as a car-driver for the family. He is then able to land his wife a job as a house-keeper. In each case, no-one knows that these individuals are part of a family. In the cases of the car-driver and housekeeping jobs, the family uses their ‘smarts’ to get people who already had those jobs dismissed.

One fateful night when the Parks (the rich family) are out of town and the Ki family (I think that’s their family name) is squatting the their home, the former housekeeper comes back and it turns out that her husband had been living in a hidden basement cellar for many years. That pair discover the Ki’s ruse and the two families fight (physically) which ends up in the former housekeeper and her husband being tied up in the basement when the Parks come back. The housekeeper suffers what is eventually a fatal blow to her head falling down into the basement. The next day, after a rainstorm and sewage failure flood the Ki’s home, they are called back to the Parks to help manage a birthday party for their young son. The Ki’s son, goes to the basement -I think with the intent of killing the couple there. He ends up being ambushed and badly hurt. The man in the basement goes on a stabbing rampage in the party, killing the Ki’s daughter. The Ki’s patriarch kills the Park’s father, and the Ki’s mother kills the man from the basement.

The killing of the Park’s father is the only moment where the family explicitly reacted to some part of their circumstances that crossed their line about how to be treated.  It followed a chain intermittently linked throughout the movie about how the Ki’s are thought of by the Parks with regards to their smell. The Park’s young boy comments that all of their ’employees’ have the same smell.  The Parks comment about the Mr. Ki’s smell when he is hiding nearby and can hear them. The killing of Mr. Park comes not long after Mr. Park has made a comment for the 3rd time (I think) about Mr. Ki being good but ‘almost’ crossing a line for being too familiar. The wealthy get the privilege of having a line that cannot be crossed, but are completely unaware of such a line for others. The film expresses just how alien and segregated the two families are without taking away what would make the audience perceive as familiarity in each with themselves. It’s a nice trick.

I could (and maybe will) write a lot more about this movie. Again, we don’t watch a lot, but this one was wild and will stick in my memory for a long time.

 

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