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From Parasite (image courtesy Cinetic Marketing)

Weeks after Bong Joon-ho’s historic win at the Oscars, his film Parasite is still making headlines. Beyond confusing the US President, Parasite may now pave the way for housing reform in South Korea. The country’s government announced it would launch an initiative to help families like the movie’s working-class Kims to improve housing conditions. The Korea Herald reports that the South Korean government, Korea Energy Foundation, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government will offer “3.2 million won per household to enhance heating systems, replace floors, and install air conditioners, dehumidifiers, ventilators, windows, and fire alarms” to 1,500 families in semi-basement apartments who make less than 60 percent of the median income. Applications for funding will open up in March. 

In Parasite, the Kims live in a cramped, dingy semi-basement apartment that becomes easily flooded when heavy rains fall. They envy the wealthier Park family that lives in an elevated area with a spacious modern mansion, and hatch a plan to get each member of the Kim family in the employment of the Parks. 

Some fans in the director’s hometown of Daegu have proposed building a statue or museum to the director after his monumental success. A critical and box office success at home and abroad, Parasite continues its theatrical release with an awards season afterglow, becoming the first film not in the English language to win the Best Picture prize in the history of the Academy Awards, and the first South Korean film to win the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or. 

The film’s clear class distinction between the haves and the have nots also inspired many designers. In a look at the fan art and advertising inspired by the movie, Mubi found several instances where artists visually interpreted the movie’s theme on class through metaphors. Parasite’s attention to architecture featured in a number of the pieces, as several artists incorporated both Park and Kim family homes into their designs. The works ranged from digital illustrations both intricate and deceptively simple to photographic composites reimagining the movie’s many twists and turns. 

Even in the official movie poster, there are hints of a difference between the two families, as the post points out that the Kims have black censor bars over their eyes and the richer Parks have white censor bars. For the French release not long after its Cannes premiere, the Parasite poster featured the Kim family barefoot and the Parks in shoes, a nod to their well-heeled background. 

Parasite will be available to stream on Hulu starting April 8. 

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Monica Castillo

Monica Castillo is a writer and critic based in New York City. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Village Voice, RogerEbert.com, Remezcla, the Guardian,...