Parasite

Parasite ★★★★★

After the big Best Picture win that Parasite rightfully earned about a week ago, it felt right to revisit it and rightfully add it to my home collection as soon as possible, AKA whenever the hell Jeff Bezos decides to deliver it to my house. While I jumped the gun on doing so, as the Criterion Collection announced it would be added to their prestigious library exactly one day after I ordered my copy (Hmmm, not sure how I'm gonna recoup that $20 back. Ah well), it didn't feel right having to wait longer than necessary in revisiting what may very well be Bong Joon-ho's masterpiece and finally admit that even with the uncomfortably real strengths of Marriage Story, this was the one that deserved it most of all as genuinely, 100%, the best film of the entire year (I mean, between the two it was neck-and-neck and either one would've pleased me, sooo)

One reason that its win felt so special was because it finally proved the Best Picture really could go towards any film, regardless of country, as long as it was the best (I mean, granted, we've had some clunkers of winners like [INSERT JOKE HERE]). Out of the 563 films nominated for Best Picture, only twelve are productions outside of the USA. Sure, stuff like Cries and Whispers and Roma earned a nomination, and we have a category specifically to make sure we don't leave international films entirely in the dust, but our 'MURICA FEVER prevented plenty of well-deserving, non-US films from having a seat at the table in the category everyone remembers. This film's win ensured that people would continue to talk about a film from outside the United States, and potentially open the floodgates for more art to be recognized by one of the biggest award shows, and finally jump over that one-inch barrier once and for all (as for the people that weren't happy about this, well they tend to lead pretty sad lives anyway).

But yes this is still an absolute masterpiece from Bong and it's miraculous just how much Bong is able to make his message on the issues of class divide obvious without detracting from a impeccably-crafted thriller that uses the rambunctiousness of life as an assistant to the laughs and chills from the film, but also as a driving theme. It holds several hidden details that I'm sure still partially elude me even after this revisit, like the "Jessica jingle" being to the tune of "Dokdo is Our Land", a famous song detailing land dispute between Japan and Korea, much like the Kims integration into the Parks' house to the point that they assert they live the same life of luxury (a concept also briefly alluded to when Mrs. Park mentions the Battle of Hansan Island, another Japan-Korea conflict, in relation to how tables should be set up, diluting the Korean victory for the sake of party decoration). Several lines that seem like throwaway lines come back to influence how scenes will turn out, proving the thought and effort that went into the screenplay but also ensuring that its replay value causes no decay on the film's quality ("He would skitter away like a little cockroach.", "I learned a lot as a Scout").

I noted in my original review how Bong tactfully approaches bringing the concept of social divide in a complex, yet understandable way. Both rich and poor are equal in their affection, self-absorbed flaws and parasitical ways, and yet it is only the economic divide that separates the two sides, differing in survival methods. Such ripe themes on social inequality is ripe for many to specify and relegate to narrower ideas, but what makes Parasite truly special is how universal it is. Bong never hides the idea behind any fraudulent emotions and is able to keep his motifs broad and clear even as his plot piles on crazy upon crazy. It's why South Korea loved it, it's why America loved it, it's why France and its multicultural jury loved it, and it's especially why over half of Letterboxd users from around the world adored it. The deep fear and anxiety in trying to live a life free of economic worry is something anyone can relate to, and learning to recognize that creating a plan to pinpoint our next steps in life is foolish and will inevitably fail is something that I'm sure has been a roadblock towards any of us the least bit ambitious and hopeful of the future. This is a film that will, in fact, go down as one of the greatest and is no doubt inspiring future filmmakers in the same way Martin Scorsese's films inspired Bong Joon-ho to make films like this, and that's something I think will can all (say it with me now) Respect!

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