Just over two weeks ago, “Parasite,” from director Bong Joon-Ho, took Hollywood by surprise. The film won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and has found greater financial success as a result of its wins. However, President Donald J. Trump mentioned the film at a speech this past week, talking about how ridiculous it was that a South Korean film has won a Best Picture. “Has this ever happened before,” he asked, in reference to a foreign language film winning Best Picture. No, Donald. This is a first for the Academy, and that’s what makes this win for “Parasite” even more special.
The comment itself is enough to stir any fans of the film (pretty much everyone who has seen it, loves it), but also made waves among the film-going community who believes the film is an accurate representation of the class struggles. The film follows the poor Kim family who slowly latch onto the wealthy Park family for work. The dynamic between the families is cleverly shot, with most of the symbolism surrounding class coming through this element of the film. The Park house was even constructed for the movie to ensure that director Bong Joon-Ho’s vision was fulfilled. All of the performances are pitch perfect and the film has some of the most tense moments I’ve ever seen on screen. It’s by all means a perfectly constructed film.
Not only is it a clever commentary on class warfare, but the fact that it comes from a Korean filmmaker emphasizes this. Hollywood and the Academy have been struggling with honoring people of color as well as international films in general. The fact that enough members of the Academy acknowledged, viewed and voted for “Parasite” is a huge step forward for the industry. Bong Joon-Ho, an already wildly successful and known director, just upped his star status in the United States market. This will hopefully result in more studios giving him bigger budgets to realize his vision.
“Parasite” winning Best Picture has made a huge impact on the world as it is today. Not only is the South Korean film market represented in awards history, but now the American film audience is being exposed to a fantastic international film. Clearly from his speech, President Trump has yet to see “Parasite,” as he questioned if anyone had. I highly recommend that he should though, because it’s an amazing movie!