The Reading

For this module we’re going to be reading chapter 03 in The Art of Watching Films, entitled "Fictional And Dramatic Elements.” This chapter goes into what makes any story work: dramatic structures, plot, conflict, characterization, etc. But it also explores how film is unique amongst storytelling forms: how rhythm and pacing, visual language, movement, and sound and music all work together to help tell stories in such a dynamic way.

The Watching

The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”– Karl Marx

Parasite 2019 film
Parasite (2019) by Bong Joon-ho
Triangle of Sadness (2022) by Ruben Östlund

After reading chapter 03, we will be watching and comparing two films for this module: Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (Gisaengchung, 2019) and Ruben Östlund's Triangle of Sadness (Sans Filtre, 2022). Both of these films deal with class struggles and reversals of class position. Both of them are violent. Both of them are awesome!

Parasite (or Gisaengchung in Korean) is the first South Korean film to win the prestigious Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it initially premiered. However, the film is most notable for being the first non-English film to win Best Picture at The Academy Awards, while also winning Best Director for Bong Joon-ho, Best Original Screenplay (co-wrote by Bong), and Best International Feature Film. It's loosely based on a the true story of Christine and Léa Papin: two sisters, working as maids, convicted of killing their employers in 1930s France.

Like Parasite, Triangle of Sadness (or Sans Filtre - Without a Filter in French) is also a satirical dark comedy, with a delightful and mesmerizing blend of off-putting violence, obscenely rich white people, and disgusting bathroom humor. Also like Parasite, it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, where it premiered and received an 8-minute stand ovation – a tradition at Cannes to show an audience's love for a film. This film isn't based on real events, however and, given how outrageous it is, I'm not actually sure it ever could be.

Be sure to make note of parallels between these two films, specifically centering around social station, economic class, power, and the seemingly eternal struggle between the have and the have–nots. As always, the media for this can be found in the LEH 353 - Visual Storytelling library on Plex.


The Questions

After watching these films, complete the following questionnaire. You will only need to answer these questions once, commenting on – and sometimes comparing – both films in your answers. You can access the questionnaire for Module 02 in another window here.

Note: the questionnaire below contains multiple sections.