In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Parasite, we will discuss the meaning behind the movie’s title.
- Mr. Kim – Song Kang-ho
- Chung-sook – Jang Hye-jin
- Kim Ki-woo (Kevin) – Choi Woo-shik
- Kim Ki-jung (Jessica) – Park So-dam
- Mrs. Park – Choi Yeon-gyo
- Mr. Park – Lee Sun-kyun
- Park Da-hye – Jung Ji-so
- Park Da-song – Jung Hyeon-jun
- Gook Moon-gwang – Lee Jung-eun
- Oh Geun-sae – Park Myung-hoon
- Min-hyuk – Park Seo-joon
- Written by – Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won
- Directed by – Bong Joon-ho
Why is the movie called Parasite?
The most obvious application of the title would be a reference to the way in which the Kim family ends up taking advantage of the Park family. First the son, Ki-woo, gets a job as an English tutor. He leverages that to get his sister, Ki-jung, a job as an art therapist. She then engineers her dad, Mr. Kim, becoming the family driver. And he manages to get the old housekeeper removed and his wife installed. Now the whole Kim family is employed and benefitting from the Parks. The culmination of this is when the Parks go on a trip and the Kims make themselves at home, eating and drinking and talking about it being their house.
But the title also applies to Oh Geun-sae, the man living in the bunk of the Park home. As “parasitic” as the Kims were, they have their own home, their own stuff, get their own food. They have a life that’s completely separate from the Parks. Geun-sae does not. Every minute of every day, he’s in the home. He’s using their power, their plumbing. He drinks their water, eats their food. He’s pretty much the truest parasite the film has.
Unfortunately, that title of parasite transfers from Geun-sae to Mr. Kim. After the tragic events at Da-song’s birthday party, Mr. Kim takes over the bunker space and becomes the titular parasite.
Of course, you can apply the title to the film’s commentary on class disparity and wealth inequality. The Parks are rich. The Kims are not. They’re symbolic and their interaction serves as illumination and critique. If we are to read the word “parasite” as applicable more to the Kims, that might seem harsh and like a condemnation of those who have less. But remember, Parasite is a darkly comedic film. It’s bitter satire. The dehumanization that comes from the word “parasite” is an exaggeration by Bong Joon-ho. It’s sarcasm. “Oh, those with less are just parasites, right? Right? …” It’s him saying “This is how the world views people who are struggling. As parasites, rather than as people who have hopes, dreams, who struggle, who are capable if given the opportunity, who deserve compassion and kindness. The title is a condemnation of that dehumanization.
What are your thoughts?
Is there more information about the title that you think should be part of the Colossus Movie Guide for Parasite? Leave a comment below and we’ll consider adding your thoughts to the guide.
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