What the movie Parasite misses about inequality in South Korea

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To judge by Parasite - Bong Joon-ho's Golden Globe-winning portrait of three Seoul families thrown into queasy proximity by the country's wealth divide - South Korea is an Asian version of Brazil or South Africa.

The poor in Bong's black comedy are unable to escape the bottom of the heap - living in overcrowded basement apartments, or even (in a horrifying twist) farther below ground. The wealthy enjoy a life of careless riches and open skies in Seoul's hilly outskirts, cosseted by armies of staff whom they hold in thinly veiled contempt.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline What the movie Parasite misses about inequality in South Korea. Subscribe