Tue, Feb 11, 2020 - Page 4 News List

South Koreans celebrate ‘Parasite’ Oscar wins


People watch a TV screen showing images of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho at the Seoul Railway Station yesterday.

Photo: AP

South Koreans yesterday reacted with joy and stunned disbelief to the best picture Oscar for Parasite, with one film fan suggesting that the feat should be recognized with a public holiday.

Director Bong Joon-ho’s movie — about the widening gap between rich and poor people — became the first non-English-language film to win Hollywood’s biggest prize, prompting celebrations in South Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that he was overjoyed to see South Korean cinema receive world recognition.

“I extend my gratitude especially for giving a sense of courage and pride to the [South Korean] people,” Moon said. “I am very proud of director Bong Joon-ho and the cast, as well as the staff members.”

Parasite won four awards — best picture, best director, best international feature and best original screenplay — defying the received wisdom that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would overlook a subtitled movie from Asia.

South Korean film fans were overjoyed.

“I am in tears,” one wrote on Twitter. “I’m so proud of Bong Joon-ho. It’s amazing to hear acceptance speeches in Korean.”

Another joked: “Shouldn’t today be declared a public holiday?”

Along with a congratulatory tweet, US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris posted a photograph of what looked like jjapaguri — an instant noodle dish featured in Parasite, where it was unusually garnished with sirloin steak.

“Wow! Congrats Director Bong, Team #Parasite & ROK cinema!” Harris wrote.

Darcy Paquet, a Seoul-based film critic who wrote the English-language subtitles for Parasite, said: “I’m so happy ... this isn’t real.” “I hope that all Korean filmmakers can share in this moment and be proud, because it’s the tremendous hard work and professionalism of the industry as a whole that makes a movie like Parasite possible.”

South Korean filmmaker and academic Kim So-young, who introduced Bong’s early comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite to programmers at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2000, said the win was “well deserved.”

“I’ve been following his work for the last 20 years and I can confidently say he is a true artist,” Kim told reporters.

“I’m very happy for him as a fellow cineaste in South Korea, as Bong has always been a respected colleague who always remained a socially conscious, outspoken citizen even outside the film industry,” she said.

While South Korea’s film industry is one of the largest in the world, the Korean-language Parasite made unprecedented waves in international markets.

After the nominations were announced last month, Bong said he saw it as a sign that language is no longer a barrier to global success.

One clip making the rounds on South Korean social media mocked a reporter who asked Bong why he shot the film in Korean.

“She should’ve asked [Martin] Scorsese or [Quentin] Tarantino why they shot their own movies in English,” one commenter said, referencing other directors who were nominated.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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