The cover image of the Parasite DVD/Blu-Ray
By Guest Contributor: Nicholas Wong
Last month, people around the world celebrated the underdog success of Korean film Parasite as it swept through the 92nd Academy Awards to win four Oscars. Each new award for the film ratcheted up a breathless excitement that culminated in a historic win for Best Picture, the first foreign-language film to ever take home that honour.
Continue reading “Focusing on Parasite’s Success Misses an Opportunity to Challenge Anti-Blackness”
The victory was especially meaningful to Asian North Americans, who took to social media in droves to express their pride in the film’s achievements. For decades, Asian North Americans have lamented the deplorable state of Asian representation in Western pop culture. In North American media, Asians have been either almost non-existent or, when portrayed, depicted through harmful racist stereotypes. In recent years, high-profile controversies surrounding films like Aloha and Ghost in the Shell – both of which featured the “whitewashing” of ostensibly Asian roles – have amplified the call for more Asian representation in Hollywood.
A positive shift in this cause has occurred over the past two years, with Asian-led films like Crazy Rich Asians, Always Be My Maybe, and The Farewell garnering box office success and critical acclaim. These films, all helmed by Asian directors and featuring Asian actors in starring roles, have been praised within the Asian North American community for proving the viability of Asians in pop culture, authentically portraying our experiences, and debunking stereotypes. Add on Parasite’s Best Picture win, and it would appear as though Asians have finally broken through Hollywood’s bamboo ceiling.
However, the reading of these films’ significance as primarily tied to their success in achieving Asian representation reveals a limited capacity for Asian North Americans to critically evaluate their own media. The perceived scarcity of – and consequent hunger for – Asian popular media representation has foreclosed the possibility of talking about our successes in anything but celebratory tones. “If we don’t support our own at all costs,” the thinking goes, “we may never get another chance.”
Writer-Director Bong Joon-Ho accepts an Oscar at the 2020 Academy Awards.
Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” — a compelling exploration of class inequality in South Korea — has received near-universal critical acclaim. The first Korean film to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes, and the first non-English language film to receive the Outstanding Performance by a Cast award at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, “Parasite” made history tonight when it also became the first non-English language film to win the Best Picture Academy Award.
In total, “Parasite” — which was released on Blu-Ray last week — received four of the six Academy Awards for which it was nominated: in addition to Best Picture, the film was awarded Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay and director Bong Joon-Ho was awarded Best Director.
Prior to tonight, Bong Joon-Ho called out the narcissism of American Hollywood while claiming the Best Foreign Language Film prize at the Golden Globes. “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” he said in his acceptance speech.
This is a truism many of us familiar with non-American film already recognize: amazing films are made around the world, and (whether in America or abroad) in languages other than English. Indeed, some of my earliest memories of of fantastic films are Chinese-language films introduced to me by my parents. And yet, only rarely do non-English films (even American-made ones like “The Farewell”) get recognized or celebrated by Hollywood — a trend that underscores the many ways that non-white films are still Other-ized.
Continue reading ““Parasite” makes history at Oscars”
The cover image of the Parasite DVD/Blu-Ray
By now, you might have heard of this little movie called Parasite which has taken the Hollywood awards season by storm. If not, you should check out guest contributor Claudia Vaughan’s review of Parasite for this site.
Directed by Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite has received widespread critical acclaim, and has already won Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Golden Globes, and the Outstanding Performance by a Cast at the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards. It is nominated for Best Picture at next month’s Oscars.
Parasite comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray next week on January 28th. In time for that release date, I am hosting a free giveaway of a Parasite Blu-Ray. Here’s all you have to do:
- Follow @reappropriate on Twitter.
- Write a tweet sharing a thought about how income inequality affects Asian Americans. Could be anything: the wealth gap, the gender pay gap, student loan debt, etc. Tag @Reappropriate and #ReParasiteGiveaway.
- That’s it! On January 28th, I’ll select a winner and send you your free copy of the Parasite Blu-Ray.
Get to tweeting!
A scene from Bong Joon Ho's film, "Parasite".
By Guest Contributor: Claudia Vaughan
Bong Joon Ho’s films can be described as a genre in their own right: they play with the fantastical and the extreme to make assertions about society that leave viewers feeling deeply unsettled. While his worlds are sometimes quite outlandish, his characters and their pains are always very real and relatable. Such is the case with his latest film, “Parasite,” which Bong describes as a tragicomedy. Though “Parasite” does not use any supernatural elements, it is a major thrill ride that will have viewers nervously clutching their seats for the duration of the film.
Note: This review
may contain minor spoilers for the film “Parasite”.
Continue reading “Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” Manipulates Space to Spook Viewers and Make a Statement about Social Class”