MATTHEW LIEDKE ON FILM: 'Parasite' is a big win for origin storytelling in movies
"Parasite" was No. 7 on my top 10 list of 2019, so I can't say it was my favorite movie from last year.
If it hadn't won Best Picture, I would have had a better record in Oscar predictions last Sunday.
With that being the case, I'm still very happy it earned that award, and others, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The win was a great step in the right direction for the Academy in promoting original, fresh content.
The win is especially important after the 2019 Oscar night, when the Academy handed its top prize to "Green Book," a movie far less challenging and original than some of its competitors that year. Instead, the Oscar went to something new and different.
The latest Best Picture winner sets up a good four-year trend overall, with the Academy also making bold choices in 2017's "The Shape of Water" and 2016's "Moonlight." It sends a strong message to filmmakers that there's a want and desire for original films that push boundaries and explore new topics.
Another plus from the "Parasite" win is it creates another positive for genre films. "Parasite" is very much a suspenseful thriller, and for it to win Best Picture is great for a more niche genre. With its victory, "Parasite" joins other greats in the genre like "No Country for Old Men" and "The Silence of the Lambs" in representing a more suspenseful side of filmmaking.
The movie also represents a larger movement in filmmaking to make more intelligent, artistic thrillers. "Parasite" joins films such as "Get Out" and "Us" from Jordan Peele, as well as "Hereditary" and "Midsommar" from Ari Aster, in adding deep stories and social commentary, while still providing thrills.
The fact that "Parasite" is a foreign film is also important. Movie makers across the world are putting in hours upon hours into the art form, coming up with original stories and characters that are relatable to all audiences.
"Parasite" is such a film. Despite taking place in South Korea, the movie could easily have taken place in the United States with American characters. While the characters spoke a different language, the whole point of the picture still rang true.
The fact is, cinema is an international language, regardless of how the people on screen talk. It's always been this way, too. Just look back at 1925's "Battleship Potemkin" from Russia, 1927's "Metropolis" from Germany, or 1948's "Bicycle Thieves" from Italy. Those films portray issues that impact the human condition and provide commentary on topical subjects, and a viewer can pick up on it regardless of the language they speak.
The same is 100% true for "Parasite."
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