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South Korean thriller “Parasite” sweeps the Oscars

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: The cast and crew of South Korean thriller celebrate their historic Oscar wins - Getty Images

“Parasite,” a South Korean thriller and dark comedy about modern poverty and wealth, swept the Academy awards on Sunday, taking home four Oscars including Best Picture, and making history. It is the first non-English-language film to take home the most coveted prize in Hollywood.

Its Best Original Screenplay award was the first Asian Oscar in that category, and the first for a Korean in any category. It comes on the heels of the 100th anniversary of the birth Korean cinema in 2019. The film also snapped up the prize for Best International Feature Film, as was widely expected.

Filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, who also won for best director, could barely contain his enthusiasm:

“I feel like I’ll wake up to find it’s all a dream. It all feels very surreal.”

The vicious satire about social inequality snagged the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival last year, and Best Foreign Language Film at last month’s Golden Globes, two more firsts for a Korean movie.

The movie follows a family of scammers from South Korea’s underbelly, who plot to secure work in an affluent Seoul household, as tutors, a driver and a housekeeper.

Critical reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Bong told his Hollywood audience in his Golden Globes acceptance speech: “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Bao Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American filmmaker, says Bong’s Oscar win is an “example to aspiring Asian and American filmmakers to follow”.

“Parasite” is deeply rooted in its depiction of Korean society without having to pander in any way to foreign audiences.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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