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Thanks to Parasite, Seoul Will Now Improve Semi-Basement Dwellers' Living Conditions

That's the power of a good film.
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Academy Award-winning movie Parasite has opened the eyes of the world to a side of Seoul that was previously unknown to many non-Koreans: the semi-basement dwellings. It is the city’s underbelly filled with the stench of sewers and garbage.

In the movie, the semi-basement dwellings depicted a community of society's bottom feeders, among whom are the Kim family, who take odd jobs just to afford the next meal. But thanks to that depiction and the massive worldwide attention gained from the film, Seoul will now support people subsisting in these squalid urban dwellings to improve their living conditions.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government, in partnership with the Korea Energy Foundation, will allot 3.2 million won per household to some 1,500 families living in the city’s semi-basement dwellings as depicted Parasite, according to the report by the Jakarta Post.

The fund will be spent on household heating systems, windows, fire alarms, and air-conditioning systems. In a 2015 survey, it was reported that there were around 383,000 semi-basement apartments in South Korea, almost 60 percent of which were in Seoul. According to a report by Time, around 1.9 percent of South Koreans lived in such dwellings in 2015.

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This video by Insider offers one of the best analysis of the film, offering insights into the poverty in Seoul, and explains the film's highly nuanced and symbolic scenes.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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