Parasite’s Win is a Symbol for a New Age of Film

Robinson Lee, Staff Writer

About a century ago, Hollywood started its world-famous role of producing high quality, American movies for all the world to see. And since then American movies have arguably become the golden standard in cinema. When we look to big movie franchises, we look to Disney’s Avengers or Star Wars. When we think of action or dramas, Universal is commonly recognized as a top producer. Hollywood has reigned on top of the world in movies and in its time as king it has firmly established the film industry as mainly English-speaking if not American. But with the win of director Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite at the Oscars with Best Picture and Best Director, a whole new world of possibility awaits.

Now Parasite is far from the only non-English successful movie out there. European cinema and Bollywood are hugely profitable and widespread across each of their respective regions. But the issue where Hollywood still lies in power isn’t just in ticket sales, or profits. It’s about film prestige. The Oscars is known around the world for crowing movies and heralding stars. I would think that to see a Korean movie beat out every American epic, drama, and great movie must have been a shock to many in the industry just as people outside the industry were shocked. 

In my opinion Hollywood has rested on its laurels without any external competition for too long. Without much external pressure from foreign film industries, incentives for creating artistic movies have been partially eclipsed by making profitable movies. That’s why Warner Brothers keeps sinking money into its DC franchise. That’s why Fast and Furious is still alive. That’s why there are so many reboots in Hollywood. Unfortunately some movies are made to get butts into seats and take the cash. But with this new idea that the U.S. film industry can be challenged and won by foreign film industries, I believe that Hollywood will have to improve itself lest it fails to outshine these newcomers.

Another aspect about Parasite goes beyond international critique and competition, andfocuses on the idea of social critique. Parasite very much uses dark humor, irony, and plot twists to create direct parallels between the rich and the poor. The title itself reflects on the status of both the rich and the poor in the film. While the movie does exaggerate details about living in Korea, it reflects a contemporary reality that seeps into the heart of social issues dwelling there. It is true that there is a huge divide between the wealthy and those who struggle to make ends meet. Parasite is an example that social critique isn’t just valid grounds for the creation of a movie, but audiences around the world want to see films that reflect on contemporary social situations. 

Parasite is a symbol for a new age to come. A symbol of change and growth. Hopefully Hollywood sees its errors. Hopefully, more great movies like Parasite will arrive. Hopefully, socially critical movies can be powerful methods of communication. Until then I will be eagerly waiting to see what happens next.  

Photo courtesy of PARASITE