How the award winning ‘Parasite’ director Bong Joon Ho integrates various social themes in his films

In celebration of Bong Joon Ho’s birthday, let’s take a look at his incredible filmography and intricate plots that stays in the audience’s mind.

Published on Sep 14, 2022   |  04:24 PM IST  |  349K
Bong Joon Ho; Picture Courtesy: News1
Bong Joon Ho; Picture Courtesy: News1

Bong Joon Ho is a South Korean film director, producer and screenwriter. The recipient of three Academy Awards, his filmography is characterized by emphasis on social themes, genre-mixing, black humor, and sudden tone shifts. Known for creating cult classics, Bong Joon Ho’s filmography is truly impressive as each film challenges the very core of many social themes and norms that many people accepted over the years. 

Taking from his most recent and successful film, ‘Parasite’, which follows a family that struggled to make ends meet and decided to use nefarious ways to scam a rich family by slowly taking over their house by working menial jobs for them. From the very beginning, the film stresses a lot of importance onto the sad life that the poor family lives as they struggle to bring any steady income while living in a basement house. The children- Ki Jung (Park So Dam) and Ki Woo (Choi Woo Shik) take a stance and decide that they do not want to live the same ‘pathetic’ lives that their parents are living and find an easy way out for them. 

The film goes on to show how the two families- even though they speak the same language, live in the same city and stay in close quarters- they could not be more different. From adding expensive cuts of meat to the ramen to shopping, their worlds could not be more different. One jarring example would be when a storm broke out in the city and the poor family’s house flooded but the rich family enjoyed the rain to the fullest from the comfort and safety of their home.

Bong Joon Ho used angles, color, expressions and subtle indications to make the audience understand how doomed the families’ destinies were. In the end, the poor family lost their daughter and even then, Park Dong Ik wanted to save his son from the panic attack he suffered but all the microaggressions that were pent up in Kim Ki Taek (Song Kang Ho), came out in the most violent and horrifying nature. 

Other films like ‘Snowpiercer’ and ‘Okja’ also carry social themes which are shown in the most bizarre setting but the impact is just as hard, nonetheless. Bong Joon Ho carefully crafts the hidden meanings and subtle mentions of the troubles that society suffers due to the disparity of wealth and that is an incredible feat to achieve. We hope he creates more unique films in the future! 

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Which is your favourite film by Bong Joon Ho? Let us know in the comments below. 

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A BMM graduate, Anoushka has been writing professionally for over 2 years. K-Pop and K-Dramas consume her day and she...

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