2. The Staircase Reveal
Parasite is a film that encompasses many genres, but its shift from black comedy to psychological thriller comes with one particular sequence about half way through the movie.
The former housekeeper Moon-gwang interrupts the Kims’ evening of hedonism claiming that she must retrieve something she left in the house. The rain is pouring outside, she is a mess, we have no idea what is about to come.
Chung Sook lets Moon-gwang in, who quickly runs to the basement. Chung Sook is horrified and terrified as she goes down to basement and sees the woman she replaced desperately trying to push a cupboard out of the way. She goes to help, but she could never have predicted what was behind that cupboard, and neither could we. The camera, in a long continuous take, reveals a door to a bunker, and we follow the camera, and these women, down this long set of stairs to find something we never expected: Moon-gwang’s husband, Geun Se, living in tunnels underneath the Park family’s home.
It is a remarkable sequence of filmmaking, and an absolute gamechanger in the narrative. This reveal shifts the course of the rest of the story, and the lives of these characters. It completely redefines the film, and changes the tone for the remainder of its runtime.
1. The Peach Montage
Whilst not the most dramatic or shocking scene in Parasite, the most iconic and the best is the peach montage. Having discovered that the housekeeper Moon-gwang is allergic to peaches, Ki-woo and Ki-jung hatch a plan to get rid of the stubborn last hindrance to their goal of all working for the Parks.
As we see them enact their plan, it’s a sequence that is dark, conniving and clever, but also very funny.
From the iconic shot of Ki-jung exiting the shop with a peach, to Ki-woo offering feedback on his father’s performance of a pre-written monologue, it is an unmissable scene. What it means to the story is vital, but more so than that, it really shows us who the Kim family are, both as individuals, and as a family unit.
We see the theatricality of the men, we see Ki-jung’s willingness to risk it all, we see Chung Sook’s playful side teasing Ki-woo. It is the sequence that offers the most clarity as to what this family are willing to do for each other, and for themselves – to protect their family, and to gain social progression. With composer Jung Jae-il’s original score beautifully soundtracking the build-up in momentum, this is a sequence that is close to impeccable.
Written by Rehana Nurmahi
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