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.

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

  1. Nah.. it's just like the korean thriller Hide and Seek made even better with more cast, a bigger budget and a better script. Too much hype for people who rarely watch asian films.

  2. This movie is overrated just woke bullshit. Like most Asian movies you have to be Asian to get any of it. I live somewhere in Asian now and have for fifteen years. I still don’t get these whacked ass movies. This guy was given some Oscars because he was Asian. The Oscars are not to honor the world cinema. Does the Korean version of the Oscars or China’s version reward western films? No. Do Asian people cry that their award ceremonies are too “yellow”. No. Woke bullshit.

  3. When she was following the old housekeeper down the stairs I was expecting her to have an entire family down there, hinting that this isn’t the first time a family has scammed the Parks into being their employees. It still had a lot of parallels with Mr. Kim becoming the one stuck in the bunker.

  4. well westerner audience never expose to this kind of movie, they being serve wit the same shit by the "hollywood". parasite just ok movie but like i said westerner audience is outdated and way behind so for them parasite is "new" experience. mother is better than parasite

  5. it is also no coincident that 3:55 marks exact midpoint of the whole length of the video, that describes the exact midpoint of the movie itself

  6. why the ex maid look so beaten up already prior to going down to the basement. you can see her face when she rang the doorbell and the shot before right she went to the basement @5:37 i kinda missed it why she look like that.

  7. The only "Twist" to me was the housekeeper's husband hiding in the basement… The rest I called pretty easily… But it was still a great film.

  8. "Exact midpoint of the screenplay", page 71 of a 141 page script. "The real beginning of the film" @ 3:56. Well, 3:56 is the exact midpoint of this video. What a perfectly made youtube video!

  9. I don't see what's brilliant about literally anything you said. It's the most basic kind of plot structure, everyone knew something would go wrong from their early success.
    The visual metaphor of stairs is also about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

    I found the movie pretty mediocre when I saw it in cinema and paling extremely in comparison to any of the material it draws from. I really shouldn't be disappointed in the Oscars for selecting this beautiful but ultimately very mediocre piece for best picture because the Oscars have always been about baseless hype and not real quality, and yet I still struggle to understand how a movie no one liked beyond a 5/10 half a year ago suddenly gets hailed as a flawless masterpiece by everyone riding on that hype wave.

  10. Very bad perception and narative ! Director of this movie is genious and why would he borrow something from West when their cultural heritage is wealthy enough! Amazing movie plot and everything. He is even mocking the western values in the movie ! Via employing in one scene " Will that tent be wet" "No we bought it from America" ! Naratives in your video are highly out of context but still tnx for making one . Hopefully one day you will make I objective one !

  11. I still can't believe they won so many statuettes. Not because they didn't deserve it, oh my God no, Parasite could have run for many other categories (like Best leading actor and Best supporting actress) easily but… They (and all the fans) still feel like underdogs somehow. Like it is all some kind of magic or parallel universe or Jesus, I don't even know. I'm so so so happy though. It still feels like living a dream.

  12. Hong Gyeong Pyo robbed of his cinematography prize…but I guess 1917 had to be acknowledged as well. Amazing to see how great cinema can be!

  13. I remember watching the kims party and feeling so uneasy I stopped watching. But then a friend told me no don’t worry nothing happens here. 30 seconds later the past housekeeper is screaming HONEY as she runs down the stairs

  14. SOmeone was tapping their pen and said , We should Americanize this movie. I say , leave it alone , its perfect the way it is.

  15. Not only was the levels a big difference, I found the space of living quarters a big change in class and luxury. What an amazing epic movie. I knew the first time watching parasite it should win an Oscar!

  16. Many forget, that in the scene where the Kims talk about their false sense of "making it in life" and living in a nice big house, they still sit on the floor, except the daughter, for which the son in the same scene says he can picture her in this world of rich people. The fact that they sit on the floor while simultaneously speeking about "their" big house shows that they are subconsciously knowing that they are still poor.

  17. I saw it, entertaining. Sure. BUT… I don't feel that masterpieceness of it even watching these desconstructing videos. I wish I did. Most of all: it did not deserve its four Oscars (I mean, no more than the Lighthouse, Little women, 1917…

  18. Just watched this today and i felt that it was too plain since at the start everything seemed to easy although i will agree that in the second part then it did escalate a bit and there were surprising moments but nothing out of the ordinary.

  19. I hate that the reveal was that the maid was also leeching off the rich. It's like, you gave me this cool, interesting and unique story with the Kims, now here it is repeated! Which makes both stories not as cool or interesting.

  20. when i first watched the film, i knew the real shit was about to go down when the former housekeeper showed up out of the blue but i was still surprised nonetheless with what happened after which is what makes this movie so good

  21. hey, if you haven’t seen it don’t scroll any further and sit down to watch it. it’s the greatest movie i’ve seen this decade.

  22. This movie was good but far from 'perfect' or a 'masterpiece'
    Current generation doesn't know crap, even his earlier works such as Memoirs of a Killer is a much better film. smfh

  23. Well out of sudden, this film won Oscar, that’s why so many YouTuber made video about the film analyse and blah blah blah

  24. Knowing that the door bell signifies exactly the middle of the movie is mind blowing. You just know that things will be going very very wrong.

  25. Question that is bugging me, wouldn’t the Park Family see the family resemblance between the Kim family and figure out the scam in the beginning? Am I being dumb but I was like don’t they look like family members?

  26. I cannot describe exactly how I felt when the movie was getting close to the twist.. I was basically having a panic attack: I was shaking, I was cold and scared and anxious. I have never been so anxious watching a movie.

  27. I might be the only one but I thought this flick went downhill fast with the whole "man living in the basement" thing. I just didn't get it. Why would this man we were supposed to empathize with just come up out of the basement and start stabbing people? If he wanted to harm the Park's he could have done this at any time… Why is this the first thing he does when he gets out? I woulda been like "whatup everyone? What's been going on the past 4 years?" But the first half of this movie was incredible

  28. Parasite is one worst movies I’ve seen. The story makes no sense. The good parts are half though this movie could been 1hrs 30 instead of 2hrs and 18mins I give it a 3

  29. Okay but privacy as a form of luxury is really so true and something i never really realised? In different forms of housing starting from the lowest, our houses are not so private where anyone can enter to our neighbourhood with ease. Secondly the richer middle class: their houses are not easily accessible to the public, only allowed if you know their unit number and get confirmation. Thirdly the upper class: they have unlimited privacy ( sure maybe less so thn the super rich due to neighbours ) However they do have the extra land for blocking out their houses

  30. I don't get the hype. It's an OK movie but nothing special for me, the movie never made me care about the story nor the characters. I never felt anything and all the time I was thinking maybe the ending will save it but no; actually the ending is a disaster, could even be the weakest part. Average movie for me.

  31. I’ll forever thank myself for watching this movie with only seeing the official trailer and nothing more. It is simply MASTERFUL

  32. The key to great filmmaking is understanding that the devil is in the details. Rewatching Parasite, almost everything captured in the frame is telling of the larger story. From the dialogue to the cinematography to the set design, everything was planned and executed perfectly

  33. Horror is when you are scared of ghosts or unnatural beings.

    Terror is when you are scared of that one crazy homeless guy on the street.

  34. I remember sitting in the theatre watching the film, and as soon as the doorbell rang, a chill went up my spine, and my stomach dropped. I immediately knew that something truly awful was about to happen, and that everything would change. That will forever be one of my most favorite moments watching a film. Parasite is an absolute masterpiece, and the way it explored genre is unlike anything I've ever seen.

  35. So I originally watched parasite only because PARK SO DAM and CHOI WOO SHIK were there coz I'm a fan and I hadn't even watched the trailer so when I watched the movie HOLY SHIT I WAS LIKE 😭🤯🤯🤯

  36. I'd like to give a small Psychoanalysis on the film and how well the impactful scene deliver.
    Whenever we are expecting for something to happen our mind and body tenses up, our adrenaline kicks in our heart beats faster getting ready to response in a fight or flight way. But what this film does and many other Korean film is they throw in light hearted moments, to throw in before the shocking, scary moments. What this does to our mind is we then go through cognitive dissonance after a scene of laughter and happiness turns to a dark and gruesome scene leaves us confused and almost not knowing how to react. With the 3 beat tempo incorporated also plays a key part, it increases the suspense and builds up til (doorbell rings). The interesting part there is that you should actually already expecting something like that to happen BECAUSE of the dramatic buildup. Its a rewarding factor for your mind knowing you were right. But then, the movie ends up with another dark turn towards the end and 2 characters meet their fate and you may be left shocked about that sad ending. It should've been expected but the events happened so fast in so little time. sure maybe you thought of it happening. what this did was add to a wall of emotions conveyed throughout the whole movie, finishing off with a dark terrifying scene then subsides to a melancholic ending.

    towards the end I forgot what point I wanted to make so I just rambled on

  37. I heard somewhere that this movie is not really successful in Korea because it is too realistic and apparently make the Koreans feel uncomfortable.

  38. I never watch movies without reading about it. This is the first movie i saw without reading and I'm so happy i did that.

  39. One of my most favorite scene there is where the Kims are calmly watching the rain outside their window thinking that it's a picturesque scenery while the Parks are struggling in the evacuation area because of that very same rainfall. A clear distinguishment of the rich and poor.

  40. In hindsight, it’s chilling that dasom who hardly spoke was the only family member interacting with the basement guy in a way. The boy had been drawing his face with one put on the wall n decoding the light signals of the house…

  41. The never-ending nerve wrecking moment begins when the former maid came back to the house 😭 I was like “aw shit she’s fucked up” 😭

  42. This was the only film worthy of its hype up till its well deserved Oscar win. Was skeptical at first but the movie was a tour de force on every level.

  43. One thing that makes this film a masterpiece is that it's very unique and creative without any loopholes and without relying on any CGI! Everything is realistic or physically possible.. Some movies have this "unique twists" but are non-realistic.. I thought the movie "us" was so unique and amazing and was robbed of any Oscar nominations, but after I saw Parasite, I forget I ever liked that movie.. Hollywood should take some notes from this Korean movie and Bong Joon-Ho..

  44. i watched half of it and i couldn't understand what they were saying most of the time since my dad had to explain the subtitles (the subs were not in english) but it was definitely a great plot twist

  45. I think the best scene is when the sister sits on an exploding toilet smoking a cigarette when just a while before she was sitting on a very expensive sofa that she will probably never be able to afford in her lifetime.

  46. holy shit there are MASSIVE spoilers within the first 30 seconds of this. You should probably warn people who haven't seen it yet before you start showing clips from the final sequences of the film .

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