Bong Joon-Ho Has Made Better Films Than Parasite: Vetri Maaran

Basu Shanker: Korean cinema and series are now on almost every platform, and, more recently, Korean film Parasite won Academy Awards as well. What do you think is the reason for the popularity and rise of Korean films? 

Vetri Maaran: Everything depends upon the kind of market that we have. Mainly, the ability to market and position ourselves. In my opinion, Bong Joon-ho has made better films than Parasite. But, this is a case of being in the right place at the right time. It won at Cannes and then went to the Oscars and created a record. An international film winning the award for Best Picture and Best Director is new, even for the Academy. And those films have always been associated with the American market. Korean films have made inroads into our place also. So, one is their market reach through the Hollywood network, and the next thing is that they make movies that suit their language, tradition and culture, which, in turn, reflects on most of us. 

Dinesh Karthik: I remember your saying that once the nomination happens, the Oscars is a massive PR exercise. It is expensive and mentally tiring. I just want to ask, Parasite was a good movie, but not good enough for an Oscar, because I feel that the Academy was also under pressure to give it to a non-Hollywood film for once. Is it your opinion as well? 

Parasite is a take on the capitalist view of life. It questions the capitalist view of life and how the common man is suffering. There are certain instances where the divide is very clearly shown in the film. For instance, after the floods, families gather in the football stadium without any place to be. At the same time, you see the rich woman going to the mall to get ready for the big party she is going to host. This kind of difference and the way it questions the capitalist system was what worked in favour of the film in America. This is the time Americans are questioning their way of life, and this film kind of resonated with that, for everyone. This disillusionment and disappointment worldwide towards the capitalist way, and the right-wing political views and governance, and how people are suffering was reflected in the film, and so everyone connected to that and felt morally obligated to pick that up as the best film. The Oscar is not the standard for a good film. It’s a stage to gauge a sensible film within a commercially viable mainstream platform.

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