Wi-Fi as Metaphor: Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Reveals South Korea's Class Divide

February 4, 2020 Topic: Culture Blog Brand: Korea Watch Tags: ParasiteSouth KoreaNorth KoreaEconomicsTechnology

Wi-Fi as Metaphor: Bong Joon Ho's Parasite Reveals South Korea's Class Divide

Parasite is a masterpiece, and all the evidence we need that South Korean films have arrived – big time.

Some Non-Korean reviewers took that scene as a criticism of the North. But Bong gently corrected that impression in an interview with Zach Sharf of IndieWire: “There are a lot of comics in South Korea who make sketches on [North Korean] topics and it’s something that’s very common in South Korea,” he said.

 

In that sense, Parasite may also be about survival in a city divided along class lines, inside a country split into rich South and poor North. I came to that conclusion after hearing Song Kang-ho respond to the Screen Actors Guild stunning award on January 19th to Parasite’s actors for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

“I think the [Parasite] story is about coexistence and how we can all live together,” he told the delighted audience of fellow actors. That’s a good summary of a film that deserves every accolade it has received so far. Make sure you watch it before the Oscars on February 9th, where it has a good chance to sweep the top awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

But I’ll say it now: Parasite is a masterpiece, and all the evidence we need that South Korean films have arrived – big time.

Tim Shorrock is a Washington-based journalist who was raised in Japan and South Korea during the Cold War. He has been writing about Korea, North and South, since the 1970s.