With the Oscars coming up in a few weeks, the awards’ season fever has definitely spiked up the hype for Parasite—by visionary director Bong Joon Ho. Garnering a total of six nominations, it's the first South Korean film to be nominated for Best Picture and the next Asian film to be this well acclaimed in two decades since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. It certainly deserves all the hype it’s been reaping because dare I say it, it is the best film of 2019, hands down. Fite me.
Parasite is Bong Joon Ho's social commentary on the disparity between the privileges and necessities of different social classes. This disparity becomes the driving force for some of the characters in the film to do dishonourable acts just to be able to survive. The film’s tone is very light, bordering on almost parody and the drama never goes to melodramatic territory but the suspense, even with just very minimal blood and gore, is absolutely edge-of-your-seat thrilling.
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Another rare occurrence in a film that Parasite has is a perfect casting and a solid ensemble performance. That’s why it definitely deems them deserving of the their Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture just recently—a pretty good precursor to the Oscars, putting them another step closer to the Best Picture plum. Each character is impeccably portrayed wherein each of them is easily relatable, so real and almost tangible. No matter which class you belong to in society, there is a Parasite character you can definitely relate to for sure.
By this time, so many articles have already come out about the filmmaking process of Parasite, and one of the most amazing articles I’ve read was on its set design and how almost all their locations started from scratch following the requirements of the script. Now that’s vision and dedication thanks to Bong Joon Ho. Well, of course this kind of attention to detail comes with a price. Something that our local film industry cannot afford… yet. But maybe with the likes of our very own visionary directors like Erik Matti, hopefully we could come up with our very own groundbreaking masterpiece that would be universally resounding.
There are also talks of Parasite being adapted in Hollywood or turned into a series—a testament as to how this film has impacted the global filmmaking industry. I’ve also been reading quite a lot of opinions regarding this matter and mostly quite against it, saying why not just give them the Oscar and not remake it anymore? Well, I say, give them the Oscar and have it remade. This way, the film lives on in other avenues. I’d be curious to see how they’d transpose the situations in the film in say, an LA or New York setting. That certainly sounds like fun, don’t you think?
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It’s a tall order to declare this about films, but Parasite is a perfect example of a perfect film. It has a convoluted yet comprehensible plot that shifts genres from comedy to drama and even suspense/thriller. The storytelling is clear and concise, and the pacing is quick which is rare in arthouse films like these. In fact, it actually really shouldn’t be considered arthouse because of its storytelling style, which is very mainstream so easily grasped and thoroughly enjoyed. The story may be unusual, thanks to Bong Joon Ho’s imagination, but the core of the message that it wants to convey resonates—in all levels of society.
I’ve been trying my best to paint a picture of what the film is like without spoiling it for those of you who haven’t seen it. Parasite returns to cinemas as part of the Oscar Best Picture nominees refresher of some cinemas in the Philippines in preparation for the big night soon. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, do yourselves a favor, catch it on the big screen and experience what cinema should be all about. Thank me later.
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Banner image courtesy of Vanity Fair