Since 1927, the Oscars have been the premier award show for films and the people who make them. In 2020, the Oscars did something incredible. For the first time in Oscar history an international film was awarded Best Picture. “Parasite” and its writer, director and producer Bong Joon Ho was awarded Best Directing, Best International Feature Film and Best Writing (Original Screenplay).
This is a monumental triumph of cinema. Bong Joon Ho is a fantastic film director capable of weaving complex, heavily layered stories into an absolute treat to watch from beginning to end. “Parasite” is to Bong Joon Ho what the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is to Michelangelo. In it, we see all Ho’s tricks as a storyteller interwoven throughout the film strand by strand until we are left with an intricate basket woven together with spectacular grace and care. Every component masterfully connects in an intricate web of suspense, comedy, philosophy, and love.
While some have criticized the use of subtitles in the film, they make sense, since the film was produced in Korea. Rather than dubbing the movie, the producers chose to leave the film in Korean. Please don’t let a miniscule amount of reading deter you from seeing a stupendous film.
Sheer originality alone makes “Parasite” a stand out in this year’s class. The other best picture nominations were all fantastic in their own ways, but you can’t help but notice a similar pattern when you look at the movies in broad terms: “Irishman” is a mob movie; “Batman” casts large shadows over “Joker;” “1917” is a war movie shot by a master cinematographer; “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a Tarantino movie which is a genre in its own right; “Little Women” is an adaptation of a book that’s been adapted before; “Marriage Story” is an emotional drama about divorce; “Ford v. Ferrari” is a biography. These are common familiar story frames that we’ve seen before in our Best Picture nominations of past years. That’s why the film’s unique style is such a welcome, fresh part of the cinematic experience.
“Parasite” dares to be something completely unexpected. Although placed under thriller it feels genre-less. It is a Shakespearian comedy, a tense horror and a beautiful piece about familial love. “Parasite” is all these things and more. Do not let the one-inch barrier stop you from enjoying the film that truly and utterly deserves Best Picture.