Parasite cemented itself in our cultural canon as a contemporary classic more quickly than perhaps any other film in recent memory. Director Bong Joon-ho’s dark comedic takedown of Korean class systems was a record-breaking phenomenon, becoming the first non-English language film to take home the Academy Award for Best Picture; it took home further awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Film. It helped to create a wider interest in the West for Korean cinema and television, leading the way for shows like ‘Squid Game’ to gain the success they did. While one would think that it’s a film that could lose some magic once the plot twists are revealed, there are fresh layers to uncover with every rewatch, showing the intricate design of Director Bong’s work.
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10. Min Gives Ki-woo the Rock
It is a seemingly innocuous gesture, but comes to represent so much to the Kim family.
When Ki-woo’s college educated friend Min drops by the house unexpectedly, he brings with him a scholar’s rock. It’s an unusual gift, but he shares that his grandfather collects them and insisted that he brought this one for Ki-woo. Kim Ki-taek immediately starts analysing it, reminding us that this is a character who likes to demonstrate his knowledge in a variety of areas, while Ki-woo can only exclaim in awe, “This is so metaphorical!”
It’s the first time we hear Kim Ki-woo utter what becomes an oft-repeated catchphrase, but the truth of it rings most prominently here. Min has told them, after all, that the rock is a symbol representing good fortune and wealth to come upon this family. And it does, not through the rock itself but through Min’s delivery: with him comes the opportunity for Ki-woo to tutor at the Park household, an invitation that sparks the events of the whole film. The rock is both Ki-woo’s way in, but also his downfall, as this later becomes the weapon that Geun Se attempts to kill him with.
9. Meeting Jessica
This clip was used repeatedly during Oscars season and, though only a small moment, it is certainly a memorable one.
Ki-jung comes to the Park household to interview for the role of Da-song’s art tutor, and pauses for a moment to remember the backstory that her brother has created for her as ‘Jessica from Chicago’. To do so, she sings a little song, to the tune of a Korean nursery rhyme.
This is one of many funny moments in Parasite – amongst the political satire and scenes of graphic violence, it can be easy to forget that Bong Joon-ho’s film is definitely a black comedy. This moment reiterates that genre classification.
It also tells us something significant about the Kim siblings – this plot to secure their entire family jobs is a game to them. While they do need the money, and they do come to enjoy the roles, there is certainly a sense that conning the Parks is deliciously fun to them. This is only reiterated further in the scene following Jessica’s interview, in which the family have lunch together and she laughs as she tells them how she Googled art therapy and then improvised from there.
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