The South Korean film, Parasite tells the story of the “Kim’s” a poor family who are looking for a better life.  The Kim’s son, Ki-Woo, serendipitously lands a job with a rich family (the Park’s) and uses his connections to covertly bring in his father, mother and sister to work for and eventually live off the wealth of the Parks.

Apart from making me laugh, the film made me think more deeply about some of the issues that plague our society.  For example, a monsoon hits the neighbourhood of the Kim’s and they are washed out of their home and struggle to hold onto their possessions.  The same monsoon however hits the Parks without the same consequence.  The Park’s home is safe, their children are safe, and it seems like nothing has happened.

This was scary to notice.  An entire neighbourhood becomes flooded and destitute in one evening, and in another neighbourhood, nobody is aware of a thing.  In fact the Park’s were going to organize a party the next day!

In another scene the son confides in the girl he is tutoring that he feels like he doesn’t belong there.  He looks out on the wealthy guests who are playing with classical musical instruments, “dressed to the nines,” and are eating quite well.  The young girl has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

Hence, the viewer after watching the film can be opened up to the area of class which very much exists in our society.   We can enter, just a little bit, into the Kim’s and see their desire and frustration play out as they search for something more in this life.

Yet, I think I should pay attention as well to the envy that is portrayed throughout the film. There is an envy of the possessions of others that at first begins in admiration, falls into jealousy, and then as the final scene so well indicates, can also lead to violence.

I think the story of Cain and Abel applies here.  Abel is blessed by God and Cain was not (Genesis 4:4).  So Cain out of jealousy slays his brother out in the field.  Cain forgets that whether rich or poor he is his brother’s keeper.

What’s most important, we can all remember that if we do what is right, in the end we will all do well for ourselves (Genesis 4:7).  This is what God actually says to Cain.

It’s important for me to remember that in spite of class, the Park’s and Kim’s are brothers and sisters in a much deeper sense.  I think we are called to become more aware of our kinship we all have with each other. Yet, life is somewhat unequal. Class and inequality exists.   In spite of this, I think we all have the opportunity to put our best “foot” forward and live well according to the measure we have been given (Matthew 25:15).

Raj Vijayakumar is working at a retreat centre in Montreal.

  • Donna
    Posted at 05:55h, 06 March Reply

    Lazarus? The poor man by his door? One might take your story as a justification for caste and privilege!

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 14:51h, 06 March Reply

    Thank you Raj!

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