Mosaic / Reviews / February 19, 2020

Students worry about “Parasite” stereotypes

The Oscars made history this year by recognizing and awarding four awards to an international film from South Korea, including the most prestigious award: Best Picture. Director Bong Joon Ho and the cast of “Parasite” brought home Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film and Best Picture from the American award show for a movie focusing on a important topic: classism.

Even without the titles awarded at the Oscars, the movie made it big. It’s been recognized and adored all over the world and even broke down the harsh barriers concerning subtitles in America, getting English speakers to actually watch a film that is not in their native tongue.

The impressive visual aspects of the film speak great volumes on the hierarchy within the socio-economic class, shedding light on what it’s like to live in poverty. The movie focuses on a low-income family, beginning with a focus on the boy in the family getting a job as a tutor for an incredibly wealthy family: the Parks. Once he gains the family’s trust, he and his family slowly con the Parks to hiring the sister as an art tutor, the father as a driver and the mother as a housekeeper. The movie then describes the difference in high and low class with the use of lighting, motifs and camera angles.

With this great win for South Korean films and international films in general, Tina Jeon, junior, feels great pride for her home country.

“We all know that Korean movies are also valuable, it is getting recognized worldwide (É) that just makes Korea more proud,” Jeon said. “The situation of classism and stuff are the same, so I think it’s easy to make connections to the movie.”

Jeon shared that she had studied this director in her classes in Korea. His movies, including “Memoir of Murder” and “The Host”, are widely discussed in South Korea, making it no surprise that his success was shared in America. Although with this win, Jeon hopes that America doesn’t generalize Korean culture.

“If (international movies) get more popular, I hope Americans do not generalize that culture just with that one movie. That’s not the (story) of the culture, so that’s why this one movie has to initiate another interest to the other side of the culture (…) I don’t want this one movie to set the stereotype of the prejudice of Korea or Koreans,” Jeon said.

Jane Lee, sophomore, shares similar concerns about Americans generalizing South Korean culture. Because of the new emphasis on the movie, Lee worries that Americans believe they “discovered” this director, while he has been a topic on South Korea for a long time.

“(These directors) are not really unknown people in Korean cinema and then once it comes over to the US people that watch the film and they really enjoy it are like, ‘We discovered something new’ but it’s not really new, it’s been there for a while,” Lee said.

Still, the movie is a main topic of conversation all over the world. The incredibly tense scenes have gained attention worldwide, making the Oscar awards well deserved. It is important to note that this did not eliminate racism within America. There are many international films that never get the international recognition that they deserve.

“It feels good to see people that speak my native language and look like me being represented except it is kinda shady they didn’t get nominated for any of the acting awards,” Lee said.

South Korea is gaining the attention for art created, and overall, students feel proud of the countries recognition.

“It’s art at the end of the day, you can communicate and understand in the end it because its art. Art is universal to all people and cultures,” Jeon said.

“Parasite” can be rented for a fee on streaming platforms such as Amazon Video.

Sadie Cheney, Co-Mosaic Editor
Co-Mosaic Editor

Tags:  awards classism international film oscars

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