Parasite: A Scathing Satire on Capitalism Today

Official Poster of Parasite

Synopsis: The Kim family are living in destitute conditions doing low paying jobs, while struggling to make ends meet. One day, when son Kim Ki-woo’s friend Minhyuk asks him to tutor Park Da-hye, daughter of the wealthy Park family in his place by posing as a university student, the family sees this as an opportunity to get out of the destitute conditions by posing as sophisticated, highly qualified individuals.

Review: Parasite is one of the most hyped up films of 2019 (and rightly so), with the film’s director Bong Joon-ho winning Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Korean director to win this prestigious award. What makes this win even more special is that Korean cinema has completed its 100 years.With the Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma winning major awards last year and now Parasite winning Palme d’Or at Cannes, it is a clear indication that, the film loving audience are craving for films, especially art-house ones that don’t just touch hearts, but also make us question the world we are living in, which Hollywood films nowadays are lacking. It also indicates, globalization of cinema where the audience are not averse to appreciating foreign films made on real life subjects.

Bong Joon-Ho’s films deal with the social issues (in this case, capitalism) plaguing the society. And, when directors have their foundation well laid, chances of their forthcoming films being stagnant is high, which luckily doesn’t happen with Mr. Bong’s films, because he always succeeds in authentically capturing the realities of the world, irrespective of the fact that they are set in dystopia.

The way cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo and director Bong have used visual cues to symbolically show the contrast between rich and poor is marvelous, the camera shots showing each families’ houses to show the divide between the rich and poor, is a great usage of mise-en-scene technique. The lighting also helps in showing the conditions in which both the families are living in.

This film would not have been successful in conveying the film’s message, if not for the ensemble cast of the film. The actors playing both families have done a very convincing job in portraying the contrasting attitudes the rich and poor have towards their surroundings and each other. It’s hard to choose who stole the show exactly because it’s such a realistic film that, you’ll end up thinking that you are seeing the bigger picture mirroring your world.

The title of the movie is a metaphor (which shows that the director loves metaphors), but who’s the parasite in this capitalistic world? There’s no simple answer, and the film doesn’t help in answering this question either. The director has left it to the audience.

All in all, the film is a must watch. Especially for those of you, who love metaphors and like analyzing the semiotics of films irrespective of its genre and thematic elements.




Currently pursuing Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Takes keen interest in pop culture, movies, music, books, languages and politics.

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Anugya Srivastava

Anugya Srivastava

Currently pursuing Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Takes keen interest in pop culture, movies, music, books, languages and politics.

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