Academy Awards' Special: Parasite

Our third review of the Oscar-nominated films is about the South Korean film that is surprising on the billboards.

Oscar statuette and frame of the movie 'Parasite'

Oscar statuette and frame of the movie 'Parasite'. / Photo: Pxhere / Composition: LatinAmerican Post

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón

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Leer en español: Especial Premios de la Academia: Parasite

We bring the third installment of our Academy Awards special. This time it is about Parasite, the only one of the foreign films nominated in the category for Best Picture.

It is a South Korean production directed by Bong Joon-ho that follows the union of two families of different social classes. The film has gone around the world and has opened the eye to the public to see more cinema in other languages, outside the Anglo-Saxon world. It won last Sunday the Best Cast Award in a film at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and is nominated for two categories of the Oscars: Best Picture and International Featured Film.

Also read: Academy Awards' Special: Little Women

What is Parasite about?

The Park family begins to hire all members of Gi Taek's family, who live in a basement, but without knowing they are related. The union of the two families is comical but takes an unexpected turn: the more they come together, the more ominous and dark the movie is.

Parasite reflects on the class struggle not only with the learned formula of contrasting how they live with how others live but imagine comic and dark situations in which the daily behaviors that revolve around social classes are exaggerated: the housekeeper who lives in the basement or in the kitchen room, the rich man upset by the smell of the poor ones, the condescension of one another, etc.

In that encounter between the two families lie the discomfort and criticism that the film is attempting to make. The darker it becomes, in metaphorical but also literal terms (that is, when night falls), the film becomes more critical and more painful.

With a somewhat cheesy ending, very different from the general tone of the film, Parasite is one of the best nominees.

Also read: Academy Awards' Special: Marriage Story

South Korean cinema

Although not much of this reaches Latin America, South Korea has a very broad film industry and culture. When Bong Joo-ho received the Golden Globe, he said that if the public exceeded the subtitles barrier, they could encounter a new cinematic universe. With all this, it is only the first time that a Korean film has reached the category of Best Picture on the Academy Awards.

Bong Joo-ho is a director and a writer who has already experimented with different film genres. He has made criminal dramas, monster movies, and science fiction. This occasion was that of comedy.

Parasite is fun and uncomfortable. Its director made an effort to make social criticism not only by using the contrast between two families of different social classes but by uniting them, causing them to intersect and form an interesting pastiche. That class encounter is for the comic public but, above all, uncomfortable.