How “Parasite” Delivered One Of The Best Twists In Cinema | The Art Of Film


Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” is a virtually perfect
film on every level. On the surface, its technical execution is so precise and immaculate that it’s hard to notice the
film’s greatest achievement hiding underneath: the screenplay. For Bong, who has written every
single film in his career, “Parasite” is essentially a culmination of everything he’s learned over the years. But in its more than two hours of runtime, there is a single moment that truly exemplifies his genius, a sequence that transforms “Parasite” into cinematic perfection. [doorbell rings] Like all great stories, “Parasite” has a beginning, a middle, and an end, yet it never quite follows the usual three-act structure we’re familiar with. Instead, the film plays a
lot like two separate movies that are joined into one. The first film deals
with the two families: the impoverished Kims,
who plan to infiltrate the wealthy Parks by
each posing as a tutor, a driver, and a housekeeper. But it creates an odd moment in the story about 50 minutes in, after the Kims have removed
all of the existing employees to essentially take over the house. Suddenly, there’s no conflict
left to carry the film, and the story comes to a literal stop. But it’s the sequence that bridges the end of the first film
to the unexpected second where Bong stages his attack. Let’s take a look. Bong begins the sequence
by visually establishing the Kims’ false sense of success, having dedicated an
entire previous sequence to show the Kims reaping
the rewards of their scheme. But he does it most effectively with a simple parallel image using a window, a motif of luxury that was introduced earlier in the film. The Kims, who had previously
been subjected to the views of ordinary life outside
their basement apartment, discover privacy as a form of luxury. Yet, despite all of this, their success is only downplayed by their dialogue, which emphasizes just
how far they are from it. Bong keeps the dialogue engaging by faking out three moments of tension that gradually build over time. These moments are known
as beats in a dialogue. Each beat organically
interrupts and changes the flow and the topic of conversation. Until it seemingly
explodes on the third beat. [glass shatters] [both laughing] [doorbell rings] It’s no coincidence that this doorbell marks the exact midpoint
of the screenplay, appearing on page 71 out
of a 141-page script. It’s a sound that signifies
the end of the first film and what Bong refers to as
“the real start of the film.” It’s a brilliantly foreboding moment after a series of peaceful sequences. The audience is aware that
something is about to go wrong, they just aren’t sure what it is. This is probably the
best moment to talk about the films that inspired “Parasite.” Bong has mentioned several, and the most obvious is
Kim Ki-young’s 1960 film “The Housemaid,” which
features a similar story about a poor maid infiltrating the rich. But thematically, its most
interesting inspiration comes from Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 film “High and Low,” one of the first films that used height as a visual representation of class, with the rich towering above and the poor living underneath. “Parasite” expands upon this idea through another visual
motif introduced earlier: stairs. On second viewing, it’s incredible to see how vertical the film is right from its opening image. Whenever a character
climbs a flight of stairs, it’s a visual symbol of the
rise in the social class, while the walk down suggests the opposite. Just like the window,
it’s this very sequence where Bong starts to take advantage of all the visual concepts
he set up earlier, and it’s the reason why we feel so uneasy in a moment like this. The film that most heavily
inspired “Parasite” is probably Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” The two films share a surprising
number of similarities. Both mainly feature a house that almost becomes a character itself, the architecture guiding the film and sometimes hiding
the truth in plain sight on another level. And, most importantly, the
game-changing twist midway was also done most popularly
by Hitchcock in “Psycho,” who killed his main character exactly halfway through the film. What makes the twist
in “Parasite” so great is that it’s as predictable as it is impossible to see coming. The basement in question is featured only twice in the film for less than a minute before its actual role is revealed. But it’s a twist that
doesn’t feel out of question, as we’ve seen it happen already, just through the eyes of another family. The truth finally reveals itself. And Bong expertly reveals the twist strictly from the Kims’ perspective through a handheld camera. As the lighting, camera, tempo, and even the genre of the film changes, what awaits at the end of the tunnel is an entirely different film. All in 10 minutes of a sequence. What makes “Parasite” so perfect is that it understands the
rules and power of storytelling. Everything on screen
has a specific purpose and a meaning that transforms
the story as it unpacks. And it’s ironic that, as
brilliant as Bong’s plan for the story is, the genius of “Parasite” lies in the 10-minute sequence where an entire plan
is demolished on sight.

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  1. No offense but don't get your hopes up about Parasite winning an Oscar. The Oscars are a VERY LOCAL award show, as Bong Joon Ho said.

  2. I genuinely don't understand why people find this movie so fascinating. Everything was telegraphed and nothing was unexpected other than the dude living on the secret room, but even that was already done in way too many stories and even movies.
    The only answer for people getting insane for this movie is that they are just ignorant and haven't seen and watched too many stories and they just see someone praising this movie and they just follow that thought like sheep or monkeys that do what they see. Just like the tale of the invisible clothes of the king that only intelligent people could see even when the king was in fact just naked. This movie is only average, not a master piece and I haven't seen anyone explaining the master piece part of it yet…

  3. Why are people not talking about this movie's CHARACTERS? The father of the Kim family is essentially the main character and the driving force. Throughout the entire movie he subtly shows his strong resentment against the rich. From describing a list of shittty jobs he had, to raising a family of parasites… And right before the twist… When he almost punches his wife. That was NOT a game. Kim father is an incredibly prideful guy who has been eating shit and work shitty jobs his entire life. When his wife makes fun of him being poor he almost explodes in rage. He then passes it off as a joke or trick to his kids… Him and his wife knew it was not. It's why he kills the other guy in the end. He's a characterization of pride. Poor people have pride too. It was him who created the family of parasites as a long planned resentful vengeance against the rich who have leeched off his poor situation his entire life.

    The character study of this film is what makes it amazing. Perfect plot and all that… Bong has done it before. It's the characters that make you feel the damn movie and justify all the actions.

  4. I love this movie. It prob is one of the most awesome movies I have ever watched in my life. It's simple and yet very riveting every moment.

  5. The scene where the former maid was trying to open the door is horrifying but absolutely brilliant that changes the atmosphere of the film. Also the doorbell was sound was very tense in this film. A masterpiece!

  6. No. Parasite is not the movie I expected to be. It is OK for Korean movie, but not worthy of being an Oscar nominee.

  7. The mom(Jang Hye) and the made (lee jung) deliver such a stunning performances i'm so DISAPPOINTED that they weren't be nominated,because of political correctness and social agenda of the oscars,like margot robbie is good ,but she wasn't that good at bombshell

  8. i think im too stupid to understand this movie. when i watched this movie i really didnt think much of it at all. I had no idea people would praise this movie as they do now.

  9. I still get goosebumps from watching these scenes. I remember in the cinema, I kept saying in my head : why is she smiling ? Why is she beat up ? Why is she laughing ? That's not normal…. Omg is it a horror film ? . It was so well edited, truly a masterpiece!

  10. Nooooo I love the movie! But now I know they copied the Japanese movie like they copy everything else from Japan. It ruined it!!!!!! 😩

  11. Random Korea fact:, the entire country loves underwear. You find references to it anywhere and everywhere, a character examining an washing machine will comment on its "lingerie" setting

  12. i really dont get how this movie is being rated so high, so i came here in seek of answers, but everything being described in this video didn't reveal anything new. Do people feel bad for the poor family? They cheated to get in a wealthy family and when they could have shown mercy to the original maid and husband they choose to call the police. The poor dad decided to kill the rich dad because he didn't like his smell and didn't care about his daughter's death? How is that justified.
    If a poor family like them is so skilled to pretend to be real tutor/maid/driver, why are they still folding pizza box? Things are pieced together just to set the stage but it is so awkwardly linked.

  13. Thank God, Bong Joon Ho make Parasite sooo good. 😆
    He deserved Oscar, not just as best foreign movies but also in best picture.
    I must say Bong is genius, how he can make this movie so relatable in this era.
    Especially in country of Asia who still poor of economy.
    I crying so hard after the ending of the father.
    I feel like I've been slapped with this reality.
    Sooo ironic 😢😢😢
    The twist Truly Masterpiece 👏👏👏

  14. ha..ha.. perfect film in every level my ass, common. a lazy family who cant even fold pizza boxes correctly suddenly become hard working when employed by the rich family, and who would kill someone just by mocking them smelly? common guys

  15. " Audiences realize that something is about to go wrong….they just don't know what it is"
    This is ridiculous. This film is one of the most predicatble and ludicrous pieces of cinema I've ever watched. Example, when the housekeeper was fired I turned to my gf and said…"she'll be back and she'll be their unraveling" Then, when the doorbell rang….I turned to her and said " it's the housekeeper" The entire film was like this. Completely ruined it for me. I admit….I didn't know there was a shelter below the basement housing her husband. Aside from that, everything was disappointingly predictable.

  16. I just realised, during that scene where Kim family are drinking at the mansion's living room, Jessica is the only one sitting on the sofa and rest are on the floor. While at the beginning of the movie, everyone is sitting on their semi-basement floor. This best shows that she is the only one who really is capable of "climbing up" the social status. From floor to sofa, behind her family yet higher than them. Among them, she appears to be the most clever and natural con artist. This is the reason why the director killed her at the end of the movie. Without her, the family will struggle to climb up again.

  17. This movie is really greata and i love it. But on that drinking scene i have a problem with it. Theres a highly emphasis on smells but the rich family cant smell the stench of alcohol in that living room.

  18. "House that become a character itself …" Is the key here, while other movie only considered their setting as prop stage, where its only a place for their actor to perform , Parasite make their setting another actor. Watch Accented Cinema youtube channel talk about Parasite where the author find 'The Line' , which is another key of Bong's secret in this movie that made the cinema language more perfect.

  19. Well now first time in Oscar History, Parasite a non-english film; is an Academy Award Winner Of Best Picture!!! tuly earnt

  20. 김기영 하녀 영화에서도 계급차이를 계단으로 표현하는데..언급이 없어서 아쉽네요..꼭 보시길 추천합니다

  21. Saw this movie recently and agree that's it's a good movie but don't understand how it is considered such a masterpiece. Especially because there was one glaring hole in the story that had me thinking about it throughout the movie and was never resolved. What happened to Min, the guy who got the son replaced to tutor the rich family's daughter? Also Min mentioned about having feelings for the daughter and was never mentioned again or thought about when the son start making moves on the daughter as well.

  22. Congratulations…Hollywood, for maturing enough to hand these awards to a foreign (and Asian) film with subtitles.

  23. Sad thing is even thought the Kims live in a semi basement, there are always someone else below them hiding in a secret basement bunker. Masterpiece of a film that is so relevant today.

  24. I didn’t expect the old maid to come back. Then when that husband was down there like a baby 👀. Why was he not working and why was he acting like that? I couldn’t figure it out! I loved this movie. Because I couldn’t figure it out just like Alfred Hitchcock films. Genius. 👏🏽

  25. Solid analysis of a great film. I take issue with the statement that "High and Low" was the first film where the rich reside up and the poor below. "Metropolis" did that even in the silent era.

  26. Hirakawa High and low ?? You name one movie that don't use DIFFRENCE IN Height to describe Rich and the poor I could probably name Dosen the use the same concept lol <3

  27. I like the part where the basement man stab the Kim daughter….unlike in other movies where they would drop the cake or something…..she shoves the cake in his face…that's what our instinct would do even if we know the cake will not have hurt

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