(SEOUL, South Korea) — Kim Da-hye, a 29-year-old South Korean, mentioned that shifting right into a semi-basement condo was her least-preferred choice when she was on the lookout for a brand new place to reside.

However after a rigorous search and an in depth examination of her funds, she was compelled to accept a “banjiha,” the Korean phrase for a cramped basement flat.

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho‘s Oscar-winning movie Parasite has introduced banjiha dwellers like Kim to worldwide consideration, due to its depiction of two households — one residing in a semi-basement condo and the opposite in an ethereal mansion — and the variations of their social standing.

In 2015, round 1.9% of South Koreans lived in semi-basement residences, in accordance with knowledge from Statistics Korea. It’s an reasonably priced selection for city dwellers in Seoul, one of the costly cities in Asia. The residences, which are sometimes cramped and generally squalid, usually value between $210 and $500 a month with a hefty deposit.

Ahn Younger-joon—APKim Da-hye in her semi-basement condo in Seoul, South Korea, on Feb. 15, 2020. For a lot of South Koreans, the picture of a cramped basement condo portrayed within the Oscar-winning movie “Parasite” rings true, bringing variations of their social standing to worldwide consideration.

Kim, who moved into her $211-a-month banjiha condo after leaving her job to handle her mom, is not any fan of her present lodging, which flood in the course of the wet season. “Throughout one summer season, I left the home with the window open,” she mentioned. “After I got here again, there was water throughout and the partitions have been moist.”

She says that when she dries her laundry, “the partitions get damp and my laundry smells.”

Previous to shifting in, she was very involved concerning the condo’s bathroom, which sits a lot larger than the ground with a view to stop flooding. “My lavatory has stairs similar to that place,” Kim mentioned, referring to the basement bathroom within the movie that spews out filthy sludge throughout a flood that destroys the home.

“I might slip whereas climbing the steps,” Kim mentioned, laughing and pointing on the two steep steps resulting in the sq. lavatory. She joked that she doesn’t try and go to the toilet when she’s drunk.

Because the condo is half underground, it’s tough for daylight to seep via the window, inflicting the partitions to mildew.

“It’s simple to see inside from outdoors and vice versa,” Kim mentioned, including that her window additionally invitations mud from automobiles and bikes on the road.

Kim Da-hye
Ahn Younger-joon—APKim Da-hye in her semi-basement condo in Seoul, South Korea, on Feb. 15, 2020.

She mentioned she has blended emotions concerning the movie regardless of sharing her title — Da-hye — with the daughter of the prosperous household.

“In the beginning of the film when a picture flashed of a drunkard who was peeing on the road, I didn’t discover it humorous,” she mentioned. “I felt a bit bitter as a result of (the film) had moments I might completely relate to. I had blended emotions as a result of it didn’t really feel like another person’s story.”

“I assumed it actually resembled actuality,” Kim mentioned. “[The father in the movie] needed to climb larger however ended up going decrease than the place he was earlier than. That’s much like how I really feel about my future.”


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