Parasite, The film industry has been dominated by Hollywood since the beginning of cinema. Many films, whether box office hit or critics’ darling, come from Hollywood. These films usually have world-famous stars, cutting-edge technologies, and hundreds of millions of budgets. Rarely we see non-English language film becomes world phenomenon, or even being acknowledged by the most popular and prestigious film award in the world, Academy Awards.
The Oscars does have a category to awards foreign films, but very few of them get recognition in the most prestigious category, Best Picture. Since its first ceremony in 1929, there are only eleven non-English-language films that have been nominated for this category, the majority of which are from European countries. It is a tremendously difficult task for a non-English movie to break these barriers and compete with the Hollywood giants.
Bong Joon-ho is a South-Korean director who directed several South Korean films, such as science-fiction horror The Host and detective film Memories of Murder. His first Hollywood film, Snowpiercer, is an action film set in a freezing, apocalyptic world. His next Hollywood film, Okja, is an adventure film about the friendship between a little girl and a genetically engineered, pig-like animal. Whether it’s a story about serial killers or an octopus-like monster, Bong Joon-ho always infuses ideas that reflect the society in his work. And with his latest project, Parasite, these ideas have never been clear and obvious before, and he presents them with visual mastery and superlative storytelling. Parasite has received worldwide acknowledgment and universal praise, something a Non-English film rarely does.
The Kim family is poor, living in a “basement” apartment and even has to tap into their neighbor’s wi-fi to use the internet. One day, an opportunity to change their lives comes to their way when a friend of Ki-woo, the son in the family, offers him a job to tutor the daughter of the wealthy Park family. With cunning trickery and meticulously designed plan, the Kim family is successful in forming a symbiotic relationship with the Parks. However, things get complicated when the Kim family is faced with a peculiar and unexpected incident.
To say Parasite is a good movie is an understatement. Everything in Parasite is made with such assiduity and finesse. Not a single frame in Parasite is wasted; every scene has meaning and progresses the story forward. We see the contrasting imagery of the Kim and Park family with such clarity and bluntness. Every beat of its storytelling builds and builds its momentum and characters until it reaches an earned and cathartic climax.
The tonal shifts that occur in the movie happen naturally; nothing feels contrived or cliché. The film’s perfect pace raises tension and anticipation, and when the viewers try to predict what’s next, Parasite subverts their expectations with its tricks. Several narratives in Parasite are layered with emotional depth, superb characterization, and profound social consciousness.
This amazing writing is also supported by the gorgeous cinematography. Every shot is sleek and purposeful. The camera captures the movement of the actors and how they interact with their surroundings with stunning precision. The chunk-load of metaphors and allegories that can be contextualized from the settings alone also brings the movie to another level of depth.
And of course, Parasite will not reach this achievement had it not been supported by its cast. Song Kang-ho deserves all the praise for his portrayal of Kim Ki-taek. The way he carries this character and expresses the progression of the character’s emotional state is nothing short of amazing. The supporting cast also gives glorious performances and embody their roles stunningly.
Parasite is a once in a lifetime event. It has become one of the most influential films of the decade, winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the first non-English film to do so. It is a glorious achievement, hitting the balance of pure entertainment and auteurist storytelling. It is a must-watch for anyone who wants to experience great filmmaking and fantastic storytelling.