Parasite

Parasite

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Some of ya'll remain unconvinced that this is actually an adaptation of the classic nursery rhyme, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Let me impart some wisdom upon you.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Bong's film (literally titled Parasite to invoke these connotations), begins with our main family being fumigated. It's a very evocative gag, but one that offers a metaphorical meaning. They are deemed to be pests by those at the top of the chain.

This insect metaphor runs rampant throughout the film, particularly in the way that Bong directs his actors to move about the frame throughout the film. Think Ki-woo scurrying up the stairs to place the diary back in its place, Ki-taek having to move "slug-like" out from under the table. It's also prevalent in the smaller details. Ki-woo is ultimately crushed by a rock, the members of the family are given "pet" names by the rich mother, I'm certain that you could probably find more if you look hard enough.

went up the water spout
There's a great Tony Zhao video where he talks about the spatial dynamics of Snowpiercer, one of Bong's earlier films. Zhao makes the argument that the film is oriented in a way that the whole film is a constant choice between left and right. Here, Bong does something similar. Spatially, Parasite is about the up and the down, a thematic implication towards the greater stratifications of classes under late capitalism (there is no middle class). Ki-woo wandering lost around the rich neighbourhood, where all of the walls are massive, builds within the greater tradition of vertically equating power within films. The first act is ostensibly about the family moving out of their semi-basement to the rich family's home, or their attempt to move from the bottom to the top.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out
If nothing else, I am at least very appreciative of the fact that Parasite has an easily demarcated three act structure. It'll make this a strong candidate for High School film studies in the future. The first act climaxes with the family having "ascended" to the top of the ladder. There's a lot that happens in act two, however, the climax of act two is a biblical rainstorm that literally washes the Kims out of their home. Their little semi-basement is flooded. All they can do is spend the night in a gym.

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
The third act begins with a glorious sunshine pouring through the house. The rain has dissipated, so much so that we're able to hold a lavish spur of the moment party for our nine-year-old on the grass.

And the Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the spout again
Once the sun comes out the two "lower" groups in this film are able to come out of the lower areas. But the last verse has two endings within the film. Ki-taek's rebutted fantasy at the end of the film takes place in the sunshine. In this fantasy, he has accrued the most important thing: capital. The sunshine augments the fantasy, where beams of light pour in from the side windows. It's a beautiful dream. Father and son hug. The film fades to black. But Bong must twist the knife once more. The camera tracks down to where Ki-taek is writing his letter. It is dark and snowing. The sun all but a distant memory under late capitalism. There is no climbing the spout again.

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