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Decoding the Facts about “Gisaengchung” in “Parasite”

“Parasite” is a 2019 South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho. The plot revolves around a poor family, the Kims, who infiltrate the lives of a wealthy family, the Parks, by pretending to be unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

The Kims are able to secure jobs as tutors and housekeepers for the Parks thanks to this deception. However, as their lies become more elaborate, the lines between the two families begin to blur and tensions rise, eventually leading to a dramatic and unexpected conclusion.

Gisaengchung is a term that refers to the traditional Korean practice of keeping and training female entertainers known as Gisaeng, who was trained in the arts such as music, dance, and poetry and were expected to entertain and provide company to men, usually of the upper class.

Gisaengchung was an important part of Korean society, particularly during the Joseon Dynasty, and was regarded as a respectable profession for women. However, it also had a darker side, as Gisaeng were frequently treated as mere objects of pleasure and were frequently mistreated and abused.

Gisaengchung’s Historical Context

Parasite Director Bong Joon-ho Breaks Down the Movie's Wild Ending | GQ

The Gisaeng profession is said to have begun during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and peaked during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Gisaeng were considered a respected profession for women during this time period, and they were trained in traditional arts such as music, dance, and poetry.

They were also expected to be well-versed in Confucian classics and to be able to converse intelligently with their patrons. Gisaengchung was regarded as an important aspect of Korean culture, and Gisaeng were frequently invited to perform at royal and noble events.

Gisaeng were considered a symbol of the upper class and were frequently treated as objects of pleasure by their patrons. They were also expected to be beautiful and well-mannered, and they were trained in traditional arts to entertain their patrons.

Despite their status as respected members of society, Gisaeng were frequently mistreated and abused by their patrons. Gisaeng were also frequently financially dependent on their patrons and had little control over their own lives.

What are some differences between the Korean 'Gisaeng' and the Japanese  'Geisha'? - Quora

Gisaeng were trained in a variety of traditional arts, including singing, dancing, and poetry. Gisaeng were also expected to be well-versed in Confucian classics and to be able to converse intelligently with their patrons.

Traditional arts were an important part of Gisaengchung, and Gisaeng were expected to entertain their patrons with their abilities. These traditional arts were also the means by which Gisaeng expressed their emotions and feelings.

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Gisaengchung in “Parasite”

Gisaengchung is used as a symbol in “Parasite” to represent the theme of class inequality and power dynamics between the rich and the poor. The film tells the story of a poor family, the Kims, who infiltrate the lives of a wealthy family, the Parks, by pretending to be unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

The Kims, who are considered inferior to the Parks, gain access to the Parks’ luxurious lifestyle by becoming their servants, with the mother serving as a housekeeper and the father and son tutoring the Parks’ children. Throughout the film, the Kims are shown to be constantly struggling to maintain their facade, and the audience can see the emotional toll it takes on them.

The symbol of Gisaengchung is used to highlight the power dynamics between the two families, with the Parks serving as patrons and the Kims serving as Gisaeng, constantly at the mercy of their patrons’ whims and desires.

Furthermore, the film uses Gisaengchung as a commentary on the concept of “selling oneself” in order to survive in a society defined by class inequality. The Kims are forced to put on a show in order to gain access to the Parks’ lifestyle, and they are constantly struggling to maintain their lies and deception.

This is similar to how Gisaeng were expected to entertain and provide company to men, usually of the upper class, in order to survive.

Furthermore, the film examines the theme of Gisaengchung in the context of modern society. The Gisaengchung is portrayed as a relic of the past in the film, with the Kims and Parks living in a modern, luxurious home where traditional arts are no longer an integral part of their lives.

This demonstrates how Gisaengchung and its connotations of class inequality, power dynamics, and the objectification of women are still present in modern society, albeit in a different form.

Overall, “Parasite” employs the symbol of Gisaengchung to investigate the themes of class inequality and power dynamics between the rich and the poor. It also uses the Gisaengchung metaphor to comment on the idea of “selling oneself” in order to survive in a society defined by class inequality, and how these themes are still present in modern society.

Cinematography and Symbolism

HD parasite wallpapers | Peakpx

 

 

Different colour schemes and lighting are used in the film to represent the class differences between the Kims and the Parks. The Kims’ semi-basement home is depicted in dull, muted colors, whereas the Parks’ luxurious home is depicted in bright, vibrant colors. This emphasizes the stark contrast between the two families’ lifestyles and socioeconomic status.

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The semi-basement where the Kims live serves as a powerful symbol in the film. It represents not only the family’s poverty, but also their lack of power and status in society. The semi-basement also represents how the Kims are “trapped” in their poverty, with little chance of upward mobility.

Cultural and Social Impact

“Parasite” has received widespread acclaim for its commentary on South Korean society, particularly on class inequality and the power dynamics between the rich and the poor. The film has been interpreted as a reflection of South Korea’s growing divide between the wealthy and the working class, and it has sparked discussions about the country’s socioeconomic issues.

International acclaim and awards for the film “Parasite” has received international acclaim and has won numerous awards, including the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. The film’s success has also helped to bring South Korean cinema to a wider international audience.

Theme of Class Inequality

The film depicts the story of a poor family, the Kims, who infiltrate the lives of a wealthy family, the Parks, by pretending to be unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

The film also reveals the power dynamics between the two families, with the Parks as patrons and the Kims as Gisaeng, constantly at the mercy of their patrons’ whims and desires. The film also emphasizes the concept of “selling oneself” in order to survive in a society defined by class inequality.

Several motifs, such as water, mirrors, and stairs, are used throughout the film to emphasize the themes. Water is used as a metaphor for the fluidity of class boundaries, while mirrors represent the concept of reflection and self-perception. The staircase, which appears repeatedly throughout the film, represents upward mobility and the struggle to climb the social ladder.

The film represents the blurred lines between the rich and the poor by portraying the Kims and the Parks as both similar and dissimilar. The Kims and the Parks have the same needs and desires, but the Parks have the money and power to make them a reality, whereas the Kims do not.

The film depicts how the Kims and Parks are both connected and disconnected, how they are similar but also how they are different. The film also demonstrates how the Kims and Parks differ not only in terms of wealth, but also in terms of power, status, and social mobility.

Conclusion

“Parasite” is a film that uses the concept of Gisaengchung as a symbol to represent the theme of class inequality and the power dynamics between the rich and the poor. The portrayal of the Gisaengchung in the film emphasizes the idea of “selling oneself” in order to survive in a society defined by class inequality, and how this theme is still present in modern society.

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The film also employs various cinematographic techniques and symbolism, such as the use of color and lighting to represent class distinctions and the semi-basement symbolism, to emphasize the film’s themes.

Furthermore, “Parasite” has received widespread acclaim for its commentary on South Korean society, particularly on class inequality and the power dynamics between the rich and the poor.

The film has also received international acclaim and has won numerous awards, including the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. The film’s success has also helped to bring South Korean cinema to a wider international audience.

Discover the powerful commentary on class inequality and the power dynamics between the rich and the poor in “Parasite”. Get the facts about Gisaengchung in the acclaimed film “Parasite”, directed by Bong Joon-ho with important facts.

Overall, “Parasite” is a powerful film that uses the concept of Gisaengchung to explore the theme of class inequality and the power dynamics between the rich and the poor. Through its intricate storytelling, symbolism, and cinematography, the film is able to provide a thought-provoking commentary on societal issues that are still relevant in both South Korea and around the world.

 

 

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