The world’s love for ‘Parasite’ and what it holds for the future of global cinema

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Kang-Ho Song, from left, Jang Hye-jin, Park So-dam, Lee Sun Gyun, and Choi Woo-shik, winners of the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture for "Parasite" attend the 2020 PEOPLE SAG Awards Afterparty at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolf/Invision for PEOPLE Magazine/AP Images)

Kang-Ho Song, from left, Jang Hye-jin, Park So-dam, Lee Sun Gyun, and Choi Woo-shik, winners of the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture for “Parasite” attend the 2020 PEOPLE SAG Awards Afterparty at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolf/Invision for PEOPLE Magazine/AP Images)

Over the course of three months, I have heard the same buzz from friends and family regarding Bong Joon-ho’s latest release, “Parasite,” with most calling it a masterpiece. It wasn’t a film I was determined to see, despite being bombarded by constant statements validating its greatness. It wasn’t until its Academy Award nomination for Best Picture that I finally felt required to see it. 

Just like every review, article and opinion I’ve heard, I agree that “Parasite” is indeed a good movie. However, it wasn’t just the performances of the cast or the cinematography that caused even the most rigid film buffs to cite it as one of their all-time favorite movies. Instead, it was the commentary behind every action of the film that seemed to draw the favorable attention of audiences and create the perfect unity that every decent movie hopes to achieve. 

There are many different interpretations of the film’s title. I interpret it through the actions of the Kim family, acting like parasites by latching onto the wealthy lifestyle of the Park family by acquiring jobs as their daughter’s tutor, their son’s art therapist, their driver and their housekeeper. It essentially creates an image of the poor eating the rich, providing an interesting commentary on social class. 

The unusual decision to portray the rich as gullible and helpless was not only a smart method of grabbing the audience’s attention but also a plot device that I had not seen before. Seeing how the street smarts of the Kim family eventually help them infiltrate the ever-trusting Parks’ home provides a refreshing statement about the assumptions we develop about the lower class. It says that formal education is not everything and most need to struggle to survive. 

“Parasite” has acquired numerous accolades, including a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Director and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film among many others. Its immense popularity has proven to be a major turning point in cinema, as it brings an open-minded attitude toward film culture. 

A rise in global perspective is an important aspect of cinema that we should all be aware of and become accustomed to. “Parasite” is the 11th foreign film ever nominated for Best Picture in Academy history, none of which have won, but many believe it has a fair shot of winning. Milestones like this are a first step towards international film acceptance and recognizing the talents of filmmakers around the globe. 

“Parasite” being nominated not only brings opportunity for global perspective, but also a potential solution for lack of diversity. Diversity in Hollywood has been a constant controversial topic that has become noticeably prominent in recent years. The release of Bong’s film helps fill that gap and opens doors for other international directors as well as diverse casts featured in other international films. 

Like others who have seen this film, I have not hesitated in recommending this movie to everyone. However, numerous friends of mine simply refuse to watch foreign films because they hate reading subtitles and assume they won’t understand it. I guess they’ll never know what they’re missing. 


Esther Ju is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. They can be reached via email at esther.ju@uconn.edu.

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