Forthcoming: Parasite & Memories of Murder

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Noiradelic
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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#76 Post by Noiradelic » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:34 am

zedz wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:53 pm
quim_font wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:24 am
Regarding the charge of its central motif being over-determined:

To the charge of the deluge being over-determined, the answer is simple, it’s not a thematic choice, but one of verisimilitude.
I think the deluge counts as "over-determined" - though I don't know if any of its detractors actually used that term - because of the way Bong films it. It's not just a sudden flood, it's a downpour that we physically follow from the upper class mansion on the hill down through the various echelons of the city to the 'lower depths', where the sewers overflow and the homes of the poor are destroyed. It's given a deliberate metaphorical weight by this presentation. The fact that floods often actually happen is no inoculation against a director using one to make a point. If this were mere verisimilitude, the flood could have been an overflowing river, or a tsunami, or just a hell of a lot of rain. Instead, Bong shows a flood that, cinematically, trickles down from the rich, unscathed suburbs to cataclysmically inundate the poor ones.
If you've read Angela's Ashes, you might not find the flooding quite as over-determined. In the memoir, McCourt's family lives in the worst house at the bottom of a lane in an impoverished Irish town in the thirties. The house's first floor is often a lake from the water streaming down the lane through most of the winter and they essentially have to live on the second floor. Then the only lavatory in the lane is in a shed right in front of their house, and every house on the lane empties their chamber pots into the lavatory and nobody ever cleans it, making the house unbearable in warm weather. Bong said in an interview that semi-basement apartments in back alleys of Seoul are common. He might've heard a story about one of these apartments and men urinating on the windows or walls and perhaps even flooding too. So even if he shows water streaming down from a luxurious house on high ground and a basement apartment flooding, doesn't mean that it's not grounded in reality to some extent as well. When I saw the dirty water coming out of the toilet I immediately thought of Angela's Ashes (the lavatory in the book might've overflowed sometimes during the flooding). That a once-in-a-decade/generation storm happens right before the climax of the film is somewhat of a coincidence, but it's the kind of artistic license filmmakers take all the time -- at least it wasn't part of the actual climax.

Another thought: Bong's last three films have had a strong environmental theme. Maybe he also had climate change in mind when he devised the flood.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#77 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:13 am

Black Hat wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:42 am
...he's so good that here that it makes you want to stroke your fucking cock out in admiration in the way Hitchcock would.
Sweet Jesus, if there's a porn channel that wants to take on Siskel and Ebert's legacy, I guess it's going to be "two cocks out" instead of "two thumbs up."

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#78 Post by Black Hat » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:00 pm

That's a great idea, write it and let's pitch it to pornhub. Probably more viable commercially if we switch to 'two tits out' tho.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#79 Post by zedz » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:05 pm

Noiradelic wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:34 am
If you've read Angela's Ashes, you might not find the flooding quite as over-determined. In the memoir, McCourt's family lives in the worst house at the bottom of a lane in an impoverished Irish town in the thirties. The house's first floor is often a lake from the water streaming down the lane through most of the winter and they essentially have to live on the second floor. Then the only lavatory in the lane is in a shed right in front of their house, and every house on the lane empties their chamber pots into the lavatory and nobody ever cleans it, making the house unbearable in warm weather. Bong said in an interview that semi-basement apartments in back alleys of Seoul are common. He might've heard a story about one of these apartments and men urinating on the windows or walls and perhaps even flooding too. So even if he shows water streaming down from a luxurious house on high ground and a basement apartment flooding, doesn't mean that it's not grounded in reality to some extent as well. When I saw the dirty water coming out of the toilet I immediately thought of Angela's Ashes (the lavatory in the book might've overflowed sometimes during the flooding). That a once-in-a-decade/generation storm happens right before the climax of the film is somewhat of a coincidence, but it's the kind of artistic license filmmakers take all the time -- at least it wasn't part of the actual climax.

Another thought: Bong's last three films have had a strong environmental theme. Maybe he also had climate change in mind when he devised the flood.
Who on earth ever said that the flood was not based in reality? That's got nothing to do with the criticism i or anybody else made.

For the record, I am not a Deluge Denier.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#80 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:37 pm

Deeply disappointed. The first Bong film I have pretty much thoroughly disliked. Heartless and schematic -- with surprisingly weakly drawn characters.

(I wonder if I was the first Bong enthusiast on this site, or rather one of its predecessor incarnations). ;-)

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#81 Post by zedz » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:36 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:37 pm
Deeply disappointed. The first Bong film I have pretty much thoroughly disliked. Heartless and schematic -- with surprisingly weakly drawn characters.

(I wonder if I was the first Bong enthusiast on this site, or rather one of its predecessor incarnations). ;-)
If you were a fan from Barking Dogs Never Bite, then yes, if it was Memories of Murder then you share the distinction with me and a few others, I believe.

Actually, looking at his filmography, I had no idea he was a writer of Motel Cactus, which means my connection with his work goes back to 1997. But I wouldn't qualify as an 'enthusiast' because I thought that film was little more than a Chris Doyle technical exercise.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#82 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:54 pm

Black Hat wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:42 am
Bong's one of those filmmakers who just has that 6th sense for where to place the camera, he's so good that here that it makes you want to stroke your fucking cock out in admiration in the way Hitchcock would.
How hard do I have to hit myself in the head to only forget reading this?

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#83 Post by Black Hat » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:55 pm

Michael, could you expand on what you mean by heartless and schematic? I agree that the characters are in a sense weakly drawn, but are they not archetypal and in so far as such not particularly important to give more color to because we already know who/what these people are and thus can do so on our own?

DH - HA! not that hard, I've posted a lot today!

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#84 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:28 pm

zedz -- I was a fan of Barking Dogs well before Memories of Murder came out. ;-)

Black Hat - I didn't see the characters as archetypes but rather as puppets simply carrying out roles in an (overly -- for me) elaborately plotted story. Perhaps the film is Hitchcockian (as you suggest) -- which could explain why it is a mis-fire for me (since I am generally allergic to films of that sort).

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#85 Post by Black Hat » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:04 am

Thank you Michael. Yeah there's lots of Rope, Psycho, Rebecca, Suspicion etc Hitcockian elements inside Parasite so as you have distaste for that then it explains a good deal.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#86 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:26 pm

I don't dislike ALL Hitchcock -- for some reason I am quite fond of Strangers on a train. ;-)

None of Bong's previous films struck me as particularly Hitchcockesque...

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#87 Post by Black Hat » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:32 am

Strangers on a Train is a weird one, you're not really into it while watching but it expands in your mind later like one of those things you add water to or object may be closer than they appear. I've seen a few of Bong's films, but don't really remember them well enough to comment, but in a number of interviews promoting Parasite he's mentioned how heavily Hitch has influenced him.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#88 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:38 am

It seems this forum respected the 'spoiler' rule for the Tarantino film but not for this film. I would argue that anything beyond the roughly one hour mark is a spoiler. But the genie is out of the bottle now, so I will play ball. Moderator Note: no you won't spoil a film brazenly, tags added below and don't do it again

The film is structured in about 7 segments -
SpoilerShow
1. Introduction - the protagonists are introduced in their hovel
2. Set-up - the setup is triggered by 'Kevin's' friend giving him an in into the wealthy Park family. This is a long sustained comic farce which results in the entire Kim family embedding themselves into the Park household. As entertaining and amusing as this section is, this is still all set-up and there is no conflict as such. We are still watching a cleverly staged swindle.
And it is then that the movie truly kicks into high gear with an insanely dramatic and engrossing second half which over the course of 12-15 hours or so, brings everything to a head. This is superb dramatic construction.

What follows are 4 outrageously gripping set-pieces
3. the episode of the fired housekeeper
4. the episode with the Park family's return
5. the flood sequence and
6. the party sequence
followed by the
7. the denouement or the aftermath.
The film is gripping throughout but once the set-pieces start piling up, you cannot look away. The direction is absolutely dazzling.

--

I might say, this might be the most accessible and entertaining Palme in some time. I cannot think of an equivalent where a Palme was so entertaining. This really could be a mainstream blockbuster film. It played very well with the largish audience that I saw it with. I saw this movie in a fucking AMC!!!!! I never imagined I would see a Palme in an AMC. But this belongs there. This is an audience pleasing movie that is skillfully made and extraordinarily satisfying.

That is saying a lot without delving into the themes of class warfare which are embedded throughout. This is simply good film-making.

Everything is aces - the production design, cinematography, editing, writing, performances and of course the direction. Definitely a contender for the best film of the year.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#89 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:52 pm

I don't see Parasite as offering anything of value on the topic of "class warfare".

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#90 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:20 pm

Right. It pulls a necessary punch that would've been needed to veer into that territory. However, class disparity would've been a much more accurate descriptor, and likely what Nasir meant.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#91 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:51 pm

I just saw Bong as saying everyone --from top to bottom -- is utterly rotten. As fundamentally nihilistic a film as Clockwork Orange.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#92 Post by Black Hat » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:46 am

That's interesting, I felt he wasn't particularly concerned with condemning his characters or rather judging them one way or the other. What I appreciated a lot about this film is while the characters aren't fully drawn out as you said earlier, they are complex, meaning they aren't just one thing. Nobody's completely terrible, nobody's completely good, they're all kinda like people. I think it would have been pretty easy for Bong to strip nuance from the film and still receive the same reception so I think the fact that he didn't pander was a risky choice I greatly respect. Having said all this, while I think calling it 'fundamentally nihilistic' is overstating, the film's ending is bleak. I didn't interpret that as nihilism tho, I took it as sentimental.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#93 Post by nitin » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:44 am

He doesn’t necessarily side with the Parks or the Kims but I do think he clearly sides with the have nots rather than the haves. Which is fine, but I agree with Michael that it’s not exactly done in any kind if deep or nuanced way.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#94 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:53 am

His have-nots wage war against other have-nots. His haves are clueless and entitled -- but comparatively benign.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#95 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:58 am

Since when has Bong's appeal been the subtlety and nuance of his treatment of complex themes? Hasn't his appeal always been as a top-tier stylist and technician more so than his delicate treatment of his subject matter? Feels like there's a bit of post-Palme goalpost-moving happening here in regards to people's expectations...

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#96 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:14 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:53 am
His have-nots wage war against other have-nots. His haves are clueless and entitled -- but comparatively benign.
There's a line in the film that sums up Bong's thoughts on this, though - that money smooths out the bumps in the road (paraphrasing), so no wonder the "haves" are comparatively benign. Between this and Snowpiercer, I don't think I'm taking much of a leap to think that Bong is approaching these films with a socialist philosophy. Merely representing wealth disparity the way he does here is not something films concern themselves with very often, let alone digging into it as he does. I don't think you, or DarkImbecile, are giving him enough credit for that, and I say that as someone who thinks the film would've been better had he taken it even further!

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#97 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:40 pm

I realize my prior post makes it sound like I'm giving him zero credit for what he's doing here, but I think he did as well in this respect as he ever has with Parasite; just surprised to see people ragging on the film for any slack in its socio-political allegory, which I guess doesn't live up to the standard set by Okja, Snowpiercer, and The Host?

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#98 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:09 pm

I think these earlier films featured much more interesting characters -- which made any allegorical elements less central (for me).

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#99 Post by Shrew » Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:43 pm

I don't think the film is nihilistic, but rather takes a structuralist view on class. Meaning that the enemy is inequality itself, not rich people who obtained their wealth in morally objectionable ways or are otherwise just plain evil (as in the recent Ready or Not). That inequality forces those on the low end of the totem pole into competition, which breeds amorality and suffering, while the morality of the haves (and here I'd agree the best word is "benign") is irrelevant to whether the system is fair or not. But this also means that an "eat the rich" mentality isn't productive, as seen in the anti-cathartic ending.

I'd agree that the characters in this film are less interesting than in Bong's other films, but I think that might be just as much due to the larger ensemble cast than to any sociopolitical constraints.

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Re: Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)

#100 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:57 pm

Right. Whether knowingly or just by sheer instinct, the way "bad" wealthy people protect their interests is by doing what they can to establish as much of a disparity as possible between having wealth and not having wealth to ensure that regardless of their own morality or disposition, "good" wealthy people also operate in their own self interest as much as possible, because the fall-off is no longer merely being comfortably middle class - the stakes become higher and higher the more polarity there is. Parasite is a fantastic representation of that polarity, and the banality of evil in the case of the wealthy family. They aren't doing anything wrong specifically, but they are not using their clout and wealth to be part of the solution, either.

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