I’m going to talk about Parasite, hopefully without giving spoilers. There are some things I’ll need to give away, but I’m putting them in white with a warning and you can highlight the passage to read them. (I read your comments on our last story about this film and while the trailer gives a lot of these things away I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. I promise even the parts you need to highlight are quite vague.) First of all, the cinematography is breathtaking without being over-the-top. It’s like a work of art and the lighting, architecture and visuals are spectacular. Highlight this next sentence to see a mild spoiler with my feelings about the movie: It’s funny without being obnoxious and it’s tragic and touching without being maudlin. It’s an expertly balanced, highly entertaining movie that I want to see again. As you’ve surely heard, it also defies genres but somehow never feels manipulative or exploitative. (See: The Prestige.) There were some elements that reminded me of Jordan Peele’s work in that there’s nuanced foreshadowing which makes you feel clever when you figure it out. Highlight this next sentence to see a mild spoiler with the themes. There are also specific themes based around class, money and particularly water and earth. I did have some misconceptions going into it which were based on Bong Joon-ho’s other films, but I’m happy I was wrong.
Parasite made the Oscars shortlist for Best Foreign Language film, and it’s very likely to win in that category. As you probably know, it won at Cannes and got a 9 minute ovation after the screening that was very well deserved. I also read the crazy news that it made the shortlist for best original song! Taylor Swift’s Cats song, co-written with Andrew Lloyd Webber, didn’t even get shortlisted in that category. The song that plays over the credits, “Soju One Glass,” has lyrics written by director Joon-ho, was composed by Jung Jae Il, and is sung by actor Choi Woo-sik, who plays Ki-woo/Kevin in Parasite. (If you know Korean the song may have spoilers as it serves as a kind of bonus story about a key character.) This incredible and somewhat spoilery interview with Joon-ho explains so much about the movie and that song, but don’t read it if you don’t want to know key details about the film. I loved this film and am definitely going to watch more of Joon-ho’s work.
Parasite will go down in cinematic history and I would very much like it if it won Best Picture at the Oscars. At the minimum it should be nominated. A lot of people are buzzing over the fact that it’s only the second foreign language film to ever be nominated for Best Ensemble at the SAGs. 1997′s Life is Beautiful was the other foreign language film nominated in that category. (A previous version of this story said it was only the second foreign language film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. This was incorrect, thanks OG Cleo!)
Photos credit: Avalon.red