Korean Film ‘Parasite’ Makes Oscar History

Photo courtesy of CJ Entertainment – Movie poster for film ‘Parasite’ which was the first foreign film to win the best picture Oscar in their foreign and domestic category.

By Theda Kleinhans Richman

This year, the South Korean film “Parasite” made Oscar history by being the first foreign language film to ever win the best picture Oscar in two categories–foreign and domestic.  

In doing so, it knocked “Marriage Story,” “JoJo Rabbit,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “The Irishman,” “Little Women,” “Ford vs Ferrari,” “1917” and “Joker” out of the running for Oscar gold.  

That doesn’t seem quite fair to me, but why should the Motion Picture Academy care about my opinion? 

That being said, it doesn’t mean that “Parasite” isn’t an interesting and disturbing film fiction by Korean director Bong Joon-ho who also won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival as well.  

The film “Parasite” is a tale of two families.  One is rich, the other poor.  

As the story begins, we meet the poor family first.  They live in a shabby apartment below street level. 

The daughter Kim Ki-jung (Park So-dam) has a job folding pizza boxes and her older brother Ki-woo  (Choi Woo-sik) is a clever young man who never completed his college education. 

This day, he is visited by an old school chum who asks Ki-woo if he would like to take over his job as a private tutor.  Ki-woo accepts and thanks to his sister, who is a wiz on the computer, a college diploma is printed out. 

In no time, the entire family lands a job in the wealthy Park Dong-ik household. Ki-woo will tutor the daughter and his sister will be hired as an art therapist for their young son Da-song.  

Soon, their mother will replace the housekeeper and their dad will become the family’s driver. Things go well for Ki-woo’s family – until they don’t.

It turns out that Da-song keeps in touch with the former housekeeper so she knows what is going on with his parents.  

One night while they are away, the housekeeper returns and at that point all hell breaks loose when she confronts Ki-woo’s family. 

Up to this point, the film is basically a comedy. However things turn dark the following day at Da-Song’s birthday party. To say too much more would spoil the film’s surprises.

Years later when Ki-woo revisits the Park Don-ik home, now owned by another family, he makes a startling discovery which could easily fuel another film.

If you haven’t seen “Parasite,” check it out on Hulu. It is rated R for language, some violence and sexual content.

Other Oscar contenders to rent or buy include “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, “Ford vs Ferrari,” starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, “Marriage Story,” “1917.” “The Irishman” and “JoJo Rabbit.”

For the youngsters, keep them entertained with Disney’s “Frozen II” now available on DVD.