I’ve always loved Asian cinema, but modern South Korean films have been particularly good. I’m obsessed with Train to Busan and my favourite film of 2018 was Burning (see it!!). I’d also seen and loved Bong’s other films, The Host (a monster film!) Mother and Snowpiercer (which, admittedly, is English language and made for Americans, but still has Bong’s trade mark skittishness).
So when I saw Parasite at the Sydney Film Festival in June (its first showing in Australia and its first showing after winning the Palme d’Or) I knew I was going to love it. I was biased from the start.
To me, Parasite is the perfect film. I cannot fault it. It is sharp, devastating, hilarious, thrilling, fucked up, witty, chilling, intense, and sad. It says so much about the state of the world we live in in both a subtle way and a kick you in the face way. It is the film I wish I’d written. Films like Parasite are WHY I love film so much. There is so much power in good storytelling.
Bong was at that Sydney Film Festival screening, introducing the film before its screening and then doing a Q&A afterwards. I saw him in the side alley of the State Theatre afterward and nearly screamed; he’s so fucking cool. Bong is a weirdo. He’s odd and so are his films; it’s why I love him/them. I’m a weirdo too.
Bong loves cinema and he is passionate about it as an art form. His instincts are pure cinema and storytelling, they’re not driven by box-office and franchise opportunities. He also has an odd sense of humour, something I can relate to. Crazy shit happens in his films and I often have a big grin on my face watching them; it’s chaos and I fucking love it.
Normally I don’t put much stock in the Oscars because, as Bong says, “they’re a local award ceremony”. Unlike Cannes, where all films no matter the country of origin, compete, the Oscars have one category encompass a whole world of film and that’s bollocks and quite frankly BORING.
My lack of interest in the Oscars also stems from my belief that film is a subjective medium. My favourite film is never going to be your favourite film because we all have different lived experiences that shape our views and tastes. Which is why with an academy of members consisting of a lot of white old men, the films white old men like often win. Hello, Green Book?!? 🤨 I hardly ever agree with the winners (except maybe Moonlight 🥰), but that’s cool because I don’t think the Academy agrees with me when I say Mean Girls should have won in 2005.
And yet, I am so happy for Bong and the Parasite team. They deserve the recognition and reputation an award like this will bring (although to be honest, in cinema circles, I think the Palme d’Or is the most powerful one).
Also, as the weird kid who spent her weekends at Palace Electric watching All About My Mother and Run Lola Run and who had posters on her wall of the Three Colours Trilogy, it is so exciting that a somewhat artistically insular country like the US is branching out more. Same goes for Australia; Parasite has been playing in Australian cinemas for 7.5 months, and it’s still showing…. which is so fucking cool!! I got to see it three times!! Most of the non-English speaking films I have loved over the years I’ve either seen at film festivals or they’ve played for a week. An award like the Oscar means more people will want to see it and have their lives enriched; that can only be a good thing.