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Here’s what the movie Parasite is about and why the 2019 film is so special

South Korean film Parasite
South Korean film Parasite won the award for Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. Pic credit: NEON

The South Korean film Parasite shocked everyone last night at the 2020 Oscars when it became the first-ever non-English language film to win the award for Best Picture.

Parasite also won the award for Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Language Film).

South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho also won Best Director for Parasite at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards held last night at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

The movie beat top contenders, such as Sam Mendes’ 1917, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, to win Best Picture

Parasite’s four Oscars came as a surprise as most film critics had expected the Best Picture award to go to Sam Mendes’ 1917. But everyone agreed that the movie deserved the awards.

Parasite hadn’t gone unnoticed before last night. It received lots of praise, with a nearly perfect approval of 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon-ho in near-total command of his craft,” reads the critics consensus on the website.

While giving his acceptance speech for Best Director, Bong said he wished he could split his statuette into five pieces and give each piece to the other worthy nominees.

He also paid tribute to Director Martin Scorsese, saying that he had studied Scorsese’s films at school.

“When I was in school, I studied Martin Scorsese’s films. Just to be nominated was a huge honor. I never thought I would win,” he said.

What is Parasite about?

Parasite is a South Korean satirical dark comedy-drama co-written and directed by Bong Joon-ho.

It follows the impoverished Kim family that lives in a squalid basement apartment. The family schemes to get son Ki-woo hired as an English tutor to the wealthy Park family’s daughter, Da-hye.

Ki-woo replaces his friend Min-hyuk as an English tutor to Da-hye by using college diploma documents forged by his sister, Ki-jung.

After Ki-woo is employed by the Parks, he begins a romantic relationship with Da-hye. The other members of his family also begin to scheme to get employed by the wealthy family by posing as skilled professionals.

Ki-woo’s sister, Ki-jung, impersonates an art tutor and she is hired to instruct the Parks’ young, son Da-song. She then schemes to get the Park family’s chauffeur fired so that her father Ki-taek can replace him.

Ki-woo’s mom, Chung-sook, also gets hired as the Park’s housekeeper after they convinced the Parks that their housekeeper has an infectious disease.

The Parks later go on a camping trip and the Kim family takes over their luxurious mansion. The story-line takes an unexpected bloody turn after the Parks return home early from their trip.

Why Parasite is so special

Parasite broke barriers at the 2020 Oscars.

Right up front, it was the first time in history that a non-English language film won Best Picture at the Oscars. This could and should open the door for future foreign language films to finally get the recognition they deserve at the Oscars.

It was only the 11th time that a foreign language film received a Best Picture nomination.

Second, Bong Joon-ho’s film tied Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Fanny and Alexander for the most Oscar wins for an international feature film.

“I think we destroyed the barrier too much!” Bong Joon-ho joked to CNN after the Oscars ended. “I think it’s great in life when things happen so fast and that’s what’s happening tonight.”

Finally, Bong Joon-ho almost broke a long-standing record with Parasite. Walt Disney was the only person to ever win four individual awards at the Oscars.

Many thought that Joon-ho did as well with his four, but it turns out that Best International Film goes to the country, not the filmmaker, so he fell short by a technicality.

Parasite is available to purchase on Blu-ray and is still in theaters across the country for anyone who wants to see the film that made Oscar history in 2020.

John Thomas Didymus has worked as a writer since 2010. He has written for several sites including Screen Rant and WikiHow, and his articles have... read more
John Thomas Didymus

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