Opinion: ‘Parasite’ shows foreign films are worth exploring

— Eleanor Badeker, @ellybadeker

At the Oscars Sunday, the South Korean movie “Parasite” won best picture.

A movie wins best picture every year, but what’s special about “Parasite” is that it’s entirely in Korean. It’s the first non-English language to ever win best picture.

“Parasite” also took home awards for best original screenplay, best international film and best director.

The Oscar’s recognition of a film like this is a reminder that we don’t have to understand the language of a movie to enjoy it and take meaning from it.

Many people don’t watch foreign movies because of subtitles, and the abundance of English language movies they could watch instead. But translations of conversations aren’t very hard to read, and once you get used to subtitles, the movie flows just as easily as in English. With streaming services like Netflix, foreign language films are easy to access.

Exploring films made in other countries allows viewers the opportunity to experience another culture from the comfort of their couch. Movies can convey the thoughts and emotions of a culture, so as well as taking in the movie’s plot, you can gain a greater understanding of foreign countries.

Finally, foreign language movies are fun. They’re entertaining and the cultural differences and quirks keep them interesting. They can offer a refreshing change from the formulaic Hollywood movies that make up the mainstream.

Experiencing entertainment from outside the mainstream is enriching. When I started listening to Korean music, the language difference was part of what made it interesting. It easily opened me up to a whole new area of the world, simply by listening and watching.

At the Golden Globes, “Parasite” director Bong Joon-Ho said, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

We should all explore more art from around the world.

Great foreign movies available on Netflix

– Roma, Mexico (2018)

– Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Japan, (2011)

– A Separation, Iran (2011)

– Ip Man, China (2008)

– Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, China (2000)

– Okja, South Korea (2017)

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