With the evolution of modern cinema and introduction of digitization, movies now have a purpose more than to entertain only. They also carry some important lessons and value insights of our societies.When a social issue is raised In a movie, the makers need to do this in a smart and intelligent way. So that the message is delivered and the audience also feels entertained and also gets the message in its true sense. Many directors make many movies on different social issues, everyone having their own unique style and own perception about ideas, what matters most in the end is, that the message is conveyed.
Bong Joon Ho –a Korean director who has won many awards especially the Academy award for his recent work Parasite- a director famous for his dark humour and sudden tone shifts- has a unique way of changing the tones of the scene with artistic tools and the audience finds this very impressive. If the underline story is serious and impulsive, it’s imperative for the director to make sudden tone shifts so that the audience doesn’t feel dragged away and Bong Joon Ho makes an effort less screen play in this regard. That the viewers are indulged in the story. This style of Bong makes him a director whose movies are anticipated by viewers and they want to see more of his work.
His movies Like Snowpiercer (2013) and Parasite (2019) are the examples where the director, brilliantly depicted the social anarchy and societal imbalances which are created by humans themselves.
The primary approach of such movies is to deliver a strong message to the masses about what’s happening around in the society. And what do people need to learn and sometimes amend their behaviors. Art is a beautiful way to depict the realities of societies, and cinema being a source of [performing arts, has a great influence on peoples mind. This medium can be effectively used to depict and deliver that how human behavior gives rise to social anarchy, social imbalances, social disparities and so many other issues which needs to be highlighted.
In today’s world, where everyone is now in a race to get farther, humans have somewhere left behind the moralities and basic ethics of how to live in a society. Everyone is in pursuit of self-interest. Every Human behavior is derived through this self-interest, and to achieve this, humans sometimes leave behind the virtues rights and wrongs’.
Why humans behave like this? Social and economic deprivations and exploitation of human sufferings leads to social anarchy and unrest in a society. When the masses are deprived of their basic rights, and are pushed towards the extent where they are left with no choice but to retaliate, to clap back and do whatever it takes to get their rights, they set aside the norms and ethics of a society.
The movie revolves around a societal chaos /anarchy arose because of the imbalance created by the wealthy and resourceful persons against the poor and deprived people of the lower segment of the society (Train) known as the tail. The movie basically is shot in an environment of a train, depicted as the last survival home for the humans who have escaped from the ravages of an ice age . The train is metaphorically used to show a society which is divided in classes. There are two classes in the train, one living at the engine, the upper class people, and the second living at the tail of the train, the lower class or the deprived people. These people have been pushed to their limits with no provision of basic human rights, and are regarded as a burden to the train. The higher class or the monarchs of the train do their best to push the residents of tail at the verge of poor conditions and keep them deprived off their basic rights.
The movie artistically shows the difference in both classes. The upper class aka the engine people live their luxurious life despite the fact that the world has been devastated by climate disaster. Upper class has managed to maintain their lifestyle in that train environment. There are artificially preserved gardens, and marine life,. They have also maintained their leisure options and everything one could think of is available to this class .On the other hand, the lower class aka the tail people, are not even able to have proper meals. The director artistically narrates how these people were forced to eat their own children because of extreme hunger. And even after the ruling class offers them food, that is done in an inhumane way. Whereby, the lower class is forced to eat protein bars made up of insects and worms. This class is deprived of food, water, education, security, hence every basic right is taken away by their ruling elites. They are killed brutally in order to keep the level of population at a certain level .All this oppression and cruel treatment, leads to a social unrest among these tail people. They start thinking about how to take our rights back and manage to have an equal representation in that train society.
The plan revolves around the idea to take hold over the train’s water, most important source of the elites to manage their affairs. And if water is taken hold of, these poor people shall be able to have negotiations on an equal level. This unrest grows and a carefully drafted plan is prepared to attack the upper class soldiers and snatch away their rights. The movie creatively shows the struggles and battles of these poor people against the soldiers of the upper class. Obviously, there has to be made sacrifices to get your rights, many people lose their lives and are killed brutally in that war. But the leader of the tail people, named as Carter, bravely manages to hostage an important personality of the ruling class. And by this, they manage to enter that Utopian world of the engine people.
Carter and his team gets stunned and shocked when they enter this world. What an idealistic place to live in. They pass through all the segments of this upper society and see how much difference is there between them and these elites. The story goes on and shows how the team after fights and struggles, and losing their team mates, eventually reaches at the door of the engine. The door of the master of the society or the train. The Willsford.
The director artistically reveals through conversation between Carter and Willsford that how Willsford manipulatively called Carter to this level. The train now needs a young leader to carry forth the legacy, and for this, Willsford has called Carter to his rescue. But Carter, obviously refuses the offer as he has seen and suffered how it feels to live a life of a tail person.
The movie effortlessly shows how one of the team member thinks to get out of the train and get liberty from this colonial system. At first Carter refuses this idea, but at the end, this was the only hope for these people to end the rule of Willsford. Director shows how the people blindly follow the ruling class, that there is no life outside this train and they would be freezed to death if they go out. But Namgoong intelligently plans how to explode the door and get out of the train. In the end, the explosion destroys the train, opens up the doors in to the real world. Both children for the first time in their lives, see another living being and get astonished to be in the real world outside the train.
The movie has been taken by storms. It has taken the Korean cinema to another height. Along with many other awards and achievements, the movie became the highest grossing of the Korean cinema. With the advent of platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime etc., there have been increased opportunities for foreign cinema to come forth and show their talent.
The movie is another classic work of Bong Joon Ho. The movie is about two families, showing two different classes of society. One family, The Parks, belonging to the upper class, filthy rich. And the other family, The Kims, belonging to the lower segment of society and struggling hard to meet their ends.
In the absence of good economic activities, family is trying hard for survival and fulfil their dreams. That’s when Kevin –the son of Mr. Kim-gets to meet is friend and he offers Kevin a job of a home tutor for a rich girl Da Hye because that friend is leaving for abroad. Kevin finds this opportunity as a golden chance to bring his family out of the poverty and to have a good life. Although he is good in English but has no college degree or certificates, so from the very beginning, they start to forge and cheat to get the job. The whole family is depicted to be smart and cunning and in the first meeting, Kevin manages to impress the girl and Mrs. Parks and she hires him as English tutor.
Mrs. Parks introduces her younger son Da Song to Kevin and tell him about his restless nature, Kevin cleverly tells her about an art teacher who could help Mrs. Parks with her son.She gets curious about this teacher and asks him to bring her. That’s where Ki Jung enters the Parks house as an art therapy Teacher and she also cunningly manages to impress Mrs. Parks and reserves her position as an art therapy teacher.
Now Ki Jung further cons the family and manipulatively lets the Parks fire their driver and then introduces her Father as an ideal candidate for this post. His father also gets hired. Lastly,Ki Jung again plots tactics against the house maid and successfully manages to prove that the maid is suffering from TB and Mrs. Parks fires her as well .And Choong Sook is introduced as one of the best maids Parks could have.
With their clever and cunning forgery and cheating, the Kims family is now serving the Parks and is enjoying the luxury they have always imagined in their dreams only.
In doing all this, the family not even once thinks that they have done something wrong. They naively perceive that the people whose jobs they snatched would definitely have got other jobs.The plot begins when one night the Kims are enjoying and making plans for their bright future as Kevin discloses he would marry Da Hye and this house would be his in laws’ house. The Park family is out on camping. Amid all this casual discussion, the doorbell rings and all of them get alert. There is the old maid at the gate and requests Choong Sook to plz let her in as she has left some of her belongings in the basement. She informs her that she has cut the main door CCTV wires so the Parks won’t be able to know she was here. Choong lets her to the basement and waits for her but when the old maid doesn’t come back, the Kims family goes down to see and what they see is very astonishing. The old maid is feeding an old and feeble man. She tells her that he is her husband and she has kept him here for a long time even before the Parks came in this house. Choong gets angry and threatens her to call the police as she has been deceiving the Parks. The old maid begs her not to do this and amid all this, Kevin, Mr. Kim and his children slips down from the stairs and the old lady captures the scene in her mobile. Now she is in a position to threaten the Kims. To cut the story short, Kims cunningly manages to lock these two in the basement again as the Parks inform—that they are coming back. The old maid in this chaos, is dead till now. The Kims struggle hard to get out of the house as the Parks are now back home. After successfully escaping from the house, the three walk back to their home and are welcomed by rain floods which have drowned their house and they are left with nothing.
The movie moves toward the end with a birthday party where all of the Kims are invited. The Kims get worried about the old couple and tries to reach out to them but couldn’t. Kevin somehow manages to go down but the angry Oh Guen hits Kevin with the prestigious stone Kevin was gifted by his friend and goes to the party and also kills Ki Jung and all the chaos is happening and every one is stunned as what’s going on and Parks are unable to hold their senses, in the meanwhile, Kims kills Mr. Parks.
The movie ends at the point showing that Kevin after getting treated at the hospital, gets punished for some time along with her mother on the charges of forgery and cheating .Mr. Kim couldn’t be found. Kevin searches for him and gets to know that he is in the basement of Parks house. And promises his father that he will buy this house one day and get him out of the basement.
Causes of Social Disorder and Societal Classism which leads to irreparable damages
Both movies discussed above, depict and deliver the problems our societies face. Snowpiercer, artistically and fictionally portrays a colonized society in a train. The upper and lower class and its sufferings of lower class which led to a civil war and there by bringing an end to the rule of elite class.
The societies which we live in, also have such kinds of models where the masses are ruled over rather than being governed. And ruling classes never understand the sufferings and problems of lower classes. These lower classes are exploited for the benefits of elite class and nothing is done for their betterment in return. Snowpiercer exactly depicts the same scenario. And shows how this extreme deprivation leads to social unrest where the masses think that the only way to get our right sis to snatch them away. And that’s how the reality is. When people are kept deprived of their rights and needs for a long time, they retaliate with a much greater force and without the fear of losing anything. Their sufferings make them strong enough to fight for their rights or die.
When the society is divided in classes, the lower class is always in pursuit of better opportunities. That’s what our second movie ’Parasite’ is all about. When an economically low family gets a chance to make their life better, they leave the virtues of right and wrong behind and do everything to avail the opportunity. Circumstances make people opportunists. Constant sufferings and struggles for bread and butter make them less ethical.
Self-interest driven societies always ends up in social anarchism. When people only think about themselves, they forget the human values, morals and virtues.
Parasite shows another aspect of human behavior. That is, it always wants more. Kims instead of being thankful for getting good paying job, tries to take all the possible opportunities for themselves.
Both the movies dramatically portray the realities of life. Even in 21st century, we see colonial mind-sets of monarchs to rule instead of govern. People and societies suffer a lot by this behavior, but no one comes to their rescue they themselves have to rise and fight for their rights.
Similarly, when societies have divisions among people on the basis of economic opportunities, the lower class always finds it their right to manipulate and get what they want.
Both movies beautifully present the end results of the societal issues. Unjust rule always comes to an end, by a strong force from the lower segment of society. And, when you do wrong, you will always pay a price for that.