Full disclosure: this is not a review about “Parasite,” the film created by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho that surprised the world (okay, the white world) by winning Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. If you would like to see excellent worthy articles on this subject, please consult this link on why the win is significant for the global film industry and this link on the singular beauty of the film itself (written before it was awarded Best Picture).
“Parasite,” like most great works of art, is infused with rivets of meaning. It is not designed for mass appeal. It is not a comfortable film. That is why it deserves our attention and respect.
Our world is heaving under the mangles of capitalism, violence and hatred. It is a world of winners and losers. Of popularity. Consumerism. Endless founts of student debt.
The key to conquering this world is usually money. To get money, you must dive headlong into the throes of capitalism—the white man’s world.
The patriarchy of success is evident. It is built of thick bricks and cement and a slow-moving poison that worms its way into our books, TV shows, movies and music.
I am, as a white girl, very tired of seeing stories about white people.
I do not care if they are well done. I do not care if Greta Gerwig directed the film, if the acting was perfection itself, if the soundtrack was dreamlike and homey. Please, get off the stage for now.
This is not to say the white woman’s plight is of no significance to me. I earnestly believe in the significance of every voice, every story, on this earth. But the white woman’s plight, and the white plight in general, has long dominated the popular audience.
Let’s make room for diverse stories, new stories. Stories that are not about the world we have always known and worshiped. Stories that do not end with the girl kissing the boy.
The beauty of storytelling and artistry is that every story uncovers its own gold. We tell stories because of their meanings, the stories within the stories. We tell stories to draw a spotlight to something that has perhaps been hiding in the shadows for far too long.
The singular beauty of “Parasite” lies in its autonomy. It weaves themes of class conflict, greed, desire, selfishness and culture together in carefully constructed scenes. It does not apologize for them.
These stories deserve their places in our midst.
The world of subtitles, countries that are not America (yes, other countries do exist) and people who are not Caucasian are the players we have shoved to the side in favor of more Brad Pitt movies and stories about white women feeling trapped into marriages.
There is an entire world out there. Do not wait for the Oscars’ stamp of approval to go find it.