We saw Parasite (2019) together at the Screen on the Green, London.
Who has seen the film Parasite (2019)? We went on a group trip to see it at the cinema last night. It’s brutal and funny and we found some compelling philosophical themes woven into its dark, thrilling story. Without spoiling it for you, here’s what we picked out.
State of Nature
A great wealth divide is depicted in the film and people seem to tolerate things the way they are. But what if that divide could be removed and everything became up for grabs? Well, society might descend into an amoral state of nature, where, as humans in competition, we reveal our inherent selfishness to get ahead.
Left to our own devices, we pose violent dangers to each other. We stand on shoulders to get more than our equal shares. We cheat and justify greed and gluttony at the cost of others. Do we have to shed human nature to be good, too? Arguably, yes. While we can rationalise what a good person does, we tend to be left unmotivated by the prospect of being one when acting naturally.
The film displays many brilliant metaphors to symbolise farcical inequality. A so-called civilized society in South Korea organises itself into a big divide, predicating this inequality on false ideas of merit. Within one class of people life is insular, indifferent, and easy; within another life is simple, dirty, and cheap.
But can inequality be fair and just? If stark inequality does exist and you are content with your life, is it better to be blissfully unaware?
The value of hope
Poor families are often happy with simplicity; they only become embattled when opportunities to ‘escape’ arise.
Hope is punishing, especially for the desperate, and results in indignant anger upon the failure of change.
But is simplicity sufficient? Are we able to embed happiness in basic functions of survival, living with small comforts and calm and thankful solace? More, when we are desperate can we use faith to program ourselves into thinking our actions will be worth something, however ridiculous and pseudo-spiritual they might seem, in the end?