Parasite as Cultural Education

Movies are a cultural education, and today was an anomaly as I had hardly watch back to back movies in a theatre. The last time was for Diwali 2013 when I watched Jab Tak Hain Jaan and Son of Sardaar with Jeet, and today was a slightly more global option with Golden Globe Winner Korean Film The Parasite and Jojo The Rabbit with Jiya Chakraborty Prasad Both films are a conversation with the zeitgeist, economic inequality and populism. Parasite, a near cult film up for the Oscar laurels, will be a sample for contemporary sociological theory class. The film has so many layers, negotiating overlaps between the digital divide, urban squalor, climate change, wealth bubbles.

I really liked the edgy feel to the film, where the urban margins with the talent are able to converse with the classes as equals when the conversation arises.

The olfactory politics of deprivation is a key theme in the movie. The disconnect of the elite to the needs of the digital margins is stark that is a contributor to populist protests in Hong Kong and other parts of East Asia.

Developmental Modernity is all glitter, however every shine lends a long shadow. Economic inequality is a long shadow. Parasite illuminates overlapping oppressions between the various socioeconomic classes. The class conflict between the digital subalterns is delicious. The emphasis on urban food insecurity was in the face too, a welcome breach in the neoliberal narrative.

Contestations over space and light juxtaposes with class, to create a cinematic lexicon which is missing in Bollywood. Along with Joker, Parasite brings class inequality into the spotlight. My favourite takeaway line is ‘Money creases over all the pain and makes people nicer’ (with slight paraphrasing)

Can’t be a truer truism. Jojo The Rabbit is a mirror to the recent identity politics and its insanity. Such a joy to watch a Korean film in a multiplex in Pune. Subtitles are a minor barrier to accessing better storytelling. Baghi 3 trailer was a contrast in sensibilities though, during the unnecessary forced intermission.


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