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The Year We Lived in Someone Else’s House

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A handful of films in 2019 showed heightened anxiety regarding the idea of squatting. Storylines have protagonists living in a house that’s not their own, but what exactly does this show about the current state of homes and property ownership? While the world in which these characters live is in no way a utopia, the houses of these films serve as the only way out — herein lies the gut-wrenching fear of hierarchies, as they’re presented through one’s living space.

Paul Downs Colaizzo’s debut feature, Brittany Runs a Marathon, hides this anxiety within a subplot. When Brittany (Jillian Bell) grows tired of her roommate’s rude behavior, she decides it’s time to move out. There’s one huge problem: Brittany has no money. She’s a millennial in New York City, too busy filling the stereotypical needs of endless social media binges and clubbing. Brittany tries her hand at the job market, finally earning a dog-sitting position at a wealthy couple’s house. After she figures out that the owners have pretty much abandoned the house, she moves in.

The house squatting in Brittany Runs a Marathon speaks to both the flighty spending habits of the American millennial and anxieties towards the steep cost of living, especially as a young person with college debt and a lower-paying job. Brittany’s inability to pay for a new apartment, much less a fully-furnished house, is a highly relatable issue for younger generations.

While it’s only a subplot in that film, Bong Joon-ho’s widely celebrated Parasite is devoted to wealth and the dreadful costs of living. Though Parasite’s tale of class warfare is mainly between the Kims and their rich employers, the Parks, it equally involves ex-housekeeper Moon-gwang (Jeong-eun Lee) and her husband Geun-se (Myeong-hoon Park). As the Kim family begins........

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