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The spaces and times of the "parasite"


parasite, a South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho, hit Italian theaters on November 7 and is still available in several theaters. So far in Italy, many haven't seen him, less than 100,000 viewers (to give you an idea, joker exceeded 4 million), but it is a well-known film: it received excellent reviews and won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and is also known as a possible Oscar nomination for best film. . A very unusual thing for a movie where English words are just a handful.

Before talking about this in more detail, there are three things to say about parasite. The first is that it is one of those movies that is hard to give a genre because – though very rigid – it is a thriller, but also a comedy, and certainly also a dramatic movie. The second, partly a consequence of the first, is that it is a lively and dynamic movie, full of twists and disturbing moments. The third, useful if anyone is frightened by the words "South Korean movie", is that in parasite there are some references to South Korean culture – among other things very appreciable for those who like to watch movies "from other cultures" – but as New York Times, could well be set also in Los Angeles or London.

Bong Joon-ho, the director, is 50 years old. Your most recent movies are Tomorrow Express and Okja (both at least a bit of science fiction), but the movie with which it became known is Murder Memories, which in 2006 followed the horror of science fiction The host.

parasite It is currently set in South Korea and begins by introducing the four members of the Kim family: father, mother, son and daughter. Parents are unemployed and neither college-age children study or work. All four live in a damp basement of a poor neighborhood, whose only view from the outside is from a street-level window. The trigger for the film's plot comes when his son finds work as an English teacher with a wealthy family, who lives in a design house in a neighborhood right on a hilltop, with a large garden. In this village lives the park, also in four, with his housekeeper. Mr. and Mrs. Park are naive and the boy can make sure that his other family members (not to mention that he is his family) end up working for them. About an hour into the movie, Park leaves for camp and the Kim are free to do whatever they want at Park's house. They seem to have achieved their goal, but then a series of unexpected events (which we will not write) happen.

parasite was appreciated in all its aspects – from acting to soundtrack photography (in which, among other things, is a song by Gianni Morandi) – and the vividness of the plot is obviously due to the script, of which Bong Joonho is co -author. But there are two elements that, more than in other cases, are crucial in making the movie what it is: the choice and use of space and the management of time.

The spaces
You do not need to be a subscriber to Cahiers du Cinéma, the prestigious French critic of film criticism, to immediately observe the obvious difference between the two main parasite: Kim's tight, dirty basement and the big, elegant park house. There are also some notable scenes outside, but it's no coincidence that Bong said he initially thought of the movie as a possible theatrical performance.

Both houses were recreated in a setting and then built from scratch for the movie. Park's house is spacious and "ultra-minimalist": when there's only one or two framed characters, there's plenty of space around you; When there are many characters together, you can show them all in the same frame. In the park house, there is also room to hide or spy. On the contrary, it almost seems that the Kim almost have trouble putting everyone in the same room, as well as in the same scene.

Undoubtedly, the house that stands out is the park house, where most of the film takes place. The website Architectural abstract he spoke from the aesthetic point of view, calling it "simple, elegant, modern, full of wood, glass, silhouette and clean lines". The movie site Indiewireinstead, he studied the more cinematic parts, talking about it with production designer Lee Ha Jun. Lee explained that he "prioritized camera points and angles" and planned and realized this from the script and already knowing the needs that Bong would have for certain scenes. Indiewire He speaks of Park House as one of the "best achievements of contemporary cinema set design," and Bong said the entire Cannes Film Festival jury – people who understand cinema like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Yorgos Lanthimos – were convinced that it was a real home.

Another very important space for the film, and whose recurrence is easy to notice, are the stairs: but it is something that becomes even more evident in the second half of the film, which we chose not to talk about.

The times
In addition, where much of the success of parasite is given by how. When Park's home becomes the main setting in history, the viewer discovers the spaces with the Kim. To make the viewer comfortable with the new home, Bong often uses very long scenes – the movie has 960 cuts, when many action movies or thrillers can be doubled – just because large spaces allow you to keep up. happening by rotating or moving the camera and therefore without highlighting between one photo and another. In the park house, the cameras are "laid out like the bones of a skeleton," he wrote. Indiewire.

In addition to the times when you choose when and how to move from frame to frame, there are also moments in the story, the choice of when to make what happens happen. As the Kim succeed with the trick to infiltrate the park, you may have a sense of understanding where the movie will end. At one point, as we said, the parks leave for camp and the Kim are left alone to enjoy the house and the success of their machinations, with "Kneeling for You" in the background by Gianni Morandi. Until that moment, the film was, by a widely used definition, a "social satire"; thereafter the film follows unexpected paths and slides toward other genres and records. Bong said he wanted to make sure that parasite they were "a fine drizzle" slowly growing "to become a typhoon".

Bong he said for Entertainment Weekly for that he had to create a "controlled chaos" and create what the New york magazine defined "a state of constant and agitated transformation". Still talking about Bong and his ability to manage different times and records, A.O. Scott wrote in New York Times who has "merciless technical precision" and that "in his films the actions and reactions are often surprising but never meaningless" because "his characters have seriousness, density and grace, and a great deal of stupidity." Scott also added that parasite it's "the movie of the year" and that "Bong could be the director of the century".

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