Editorial: Oscar-winning South Korean film “Parasite” touches American values

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In a radical change for the Oscars, the film “Parasite” by South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, which depicts social disparities in South Korea, received the Oscar for Best Picture, the highest honor in the film industry American.

The award has long been seen as a prize reserved for Hollywood products, promoting entertaining epics. In 92 years of Oscar history, this is the first time that it has been dedicated to a foreign language film.

The film tells the story of a poor family living in a semi-basement apartment, whose members gradually cling to a wealthy family living in a mansion. The film contains some surprising twists, and while bitterly criticizing the growing disparities in society, it is also entertaining as a dark comedy.

South Korea had paved the way to create a work with a strong message, with the government supporting film production, although the use of subtitles created a significant barrier to the film’s success in the United States. Nonetheless, although it only started in three theaters in America, the film has been shown in over 1,000 theaters nationwide and has become a success – unusual for a foreign language film.

Along with the movie’s entertainment value, it’s a poignant universal message that has likely touched people’s hearts. This is undoubtedly what seduced the American public. If the film is set in what is now South Korea, the themes of disparity and divisions it addresses are not limited to this country, or Japan, but are also a tender place. for the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump.

On the big screen, Hollywood embodied American values ​​like prosperity and dreams of the future. The fact that its performance award went to a South Korean company film indicates that the themes it covers cannot be ignored.

In recent years, films that have made their way into social issues with a hard-hitting message have had a strong presence in the film industry. The movie “Joker,” which rivaled “Parasite” for best picture and won the award for best actor, entrusts the distortion of a society in which the weak are ostracized to a villain who is an American stand-up comedian. Also in Japan, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film “Shoplifters”, which similarly portrays economic disparities, won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

In terms of box office sales, however, anime titles and Disney films have an iron grip on the top spots in Japan. At present, there is no chance that a social themed film will become a commercial success.

Even so, there are quite a few filmmakers who make works with strong social elements. The success of “Parasite” will undoubtedly give a boost to the Japanese film industry.


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