What viewers of the 92nd Academy Awards witnessed Sunday was more significant than the obligatory sappy speeches, wardrobe mishaps, red carpet gossip and uncomfortable wrap-up music that often accompany award shows.
“Parasite” made history at the Oscars as it became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture, and Ohio State professors said this marks a major turn.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho, the dark comedy follows a working class South Korean family and their relationship with a wealthy household that quickly turns sour.
The film also won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film, an award formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film. In his acceptance of Best International Feature Film, Bong said he is proud of the change and what it symbolizes, something Pil Ho Kim, an assistant professor in East Asian languages and literature, can agree with.
“The name change from ‘foreign language’ to ‘international’ suggests a more open attitude toward international films by the Academy. Moving forward, I expect that non-English language films would get a better chance to be nominated and win most prestigious prizes in American film award shows,” Kim said in an email.
Kim said the film’s success could be the beginning of an increased interest in international cinema among students, as the awards “Parasite” won have created a heightened attraction to the movie. Typically, he said, Korean films that come to the Gateway Film Center might run for a week, whereas “Parasite” has been running since November.
This increase in student interest is something Chan Park, a professor in East Asian languages and literature, said she hopes will open conversation about the film’s depiction of Korean politics — a topic viewers might not seek out on their own.
“Most of the blockbuster-success movies in the contemporary time are pretty simple in that sense that people can kind of immediately know that, ‘Ah! That bad guy in that conservative people or the good guy is a progressive,’ you know that kind of thing … But this movie is intriguing, that ‘I don’t know what — where this is really going.’ It almost seems like it sort of, you know, each the character has a little bit of both,” Park said.
Park said the film might inspire audiences to reflect on the ways in which countries across the world impact one another through policy and diplomatic relations.
“I really think that a movie like this will be a great beginning and momentum to have more serious conversation about Korea, because what happens today is that the whole globe is so connected together,” Park said.