Basements in South Korea

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Movies matter.


Parasite, which won the 2020 Oscar for best picture, is causing housing improvements in South Korea. The family in the movie lived in a semi-basement apartment, and raised awareness–

The South Korean government is taking an active step to improve the lives of low income households by vowing to financially support 1,500 families living in semi-basement apartments. The news comes after the record run of Boon Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” the first South Korean movie to win the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and the first South Korean film to win Oscars, including Best Picture. A semi-basement apartment is one of the film’s most important settings and is the home where the Kim family lives. During one of the film’s most intense set pieces, the Kim’s semi-basement is destroyed by a flood caused by a rainstorm.

While the film is a work of fiction, the type of apartment featured certainly is not– they’re called banjiha, and thousands of people live in these subterranean dwellings in South Korea’s capital, Seoul.

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