Thursday, November 28, 2019

PARASITE by Bong Joon Ho

One of my favorite scenes in Parasite (the movie by the brilliant Bong Joon Ho) is when the poor neighborhood starts getting flooded. It's a massive disaster, the flood. And in the middle of the chaos, the adult daughter from the poor family (played by So-Dam Park) stoops on top of the toilet in her house and starts to smoke a cigarette. Her house is literally being flooded and the water level is rising in the bathroom so she takes a moment to stoop and light up.

The reason I love this scene is because it challenges the double standard our world places on who is allowed to experience comfort and who is not.

When a poor person is seen buying cigarettes or a soda or a beer or a joint, the privileged casts harsh judgement. Like how dare a poor person spend money on anything that might bring them some enjoyment, some escape, or a little buzz.

When a privileged person is seen buying the same, the privileged characterize it as "a well-deserved treat."

This double standard affects the way we participate in charitable giving, too. The privileged prefers to control the "gift" by buying a non-privileged person food or clothes or toys but the idea of just giving a poor person cold hard cash to buy what they want, is decried. "But what if they use it to buy junk food or booze?!"

Parasite unfolds in unbelievable ways for the audience to wrestle with such double standards.

The scenes are funny at times but it is not a comedy.
The scenes are horrific at times but it is not a horror film.

It is a film without a single bad scene. And the sum of the amazing scenes results in a film that I would fervently say is the best of 2019. Perhaps the best I've ever seen.

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