Parasite & The Potential Decline in International Cinema

in film •  10 days ago 

Parasite.jpeg

With Parasite, the west has finally discovered that international cinema exists, and with this discovery, I can't help but feel that it might just be under threat.

For a few years now, I've been watching mostly international films, almost heavily ignoring the blockbusters and even whatever flavour-of-the-month indie film release is by a24. From this shift, I've grown heavily fond of a formula that feels natural, one that inhabits culture, narrative, and strong character development.

Within the west, this is a formula that is slowly being lost, with larger productions heavily relying on a very specific style in which sequels are always on the table, and characters and narratives written to appeal to the widest possible demographic, generating additional revenue through merchandising.

The most obvious difference between international cinema and western cinema is the interests between those creating the films: one side wants to milk an idea dry, the other wants to create something, profit, and move on to the next creation. That isn't to say that international cinema doesn't hold the same agenda as the west, it certainly does, it just isn't as heavily polluted by media megacorporations.

Parasite, having gained massive success, and in my opinion being a decent film getting way more recognition than it deserves compared to other films -- even films by the same director -- has done so as a result of a narrative that appeals to an international audience through its narrative that focuses on societal classes and the ways in which these labels divide us and warp our perspective of our other fellow humans.

Its main location, a modernised void of culture home heavily contributes to this. Would the film have had the same impact if the main location was ripe in a specific culture? Void of any connection to the west and its modernised perspective of architecture and lifestyle? Perhaps, but I struggle to believe strongly that it would. This is mostly down to the fact that other films that very well have remained closer to their own culture having failed to catch on elsewhere: Ash is Purest White, An Elephant Sitting Still, and Leviathan come to mind as recent films that, while gaining some traction in the west, failed to reach similar heights as Parasite.

This is a fairly obvious statement to make: films with smaller demographics tend to only really perform within those smaller demographics, however, my worry sits in whether other international films will witness the international success of Parasite and begin to sacrifice what makes many of them so great to, essentially, follow in the horrific footsteps of the west in being entirely for-profit.

Is this the beginning of a shift in international cinema as the west's decreased standards result in a shift into a different market that then follows that soulless formula? It's definitely too early to say, but it's certainly a worry of mine as entry-level cinema becomes hailed as godly creations due to decades of reboots, remakes, franchises, and a lack of creativity.

I write this due to my own perspective of independent films gaining more and more traction, and I already mentioned a24 in this piece for their huge increase in popularity despite their films being well-crafted but essentially a quick flash in a pan; holding good elements of a film but ultimately being quite forgetful once over.

Anyway, watch: Black Coal, Thin Ice. An Elephant Sitting Still. Blue Ruin. Thunder Road. They're a few of my favourites from recent years.

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I saw Black Coal, Thin Ice, and An Elephant Sitting Still. They were really good. I'll watch the other two at the first opportunity.
By the way, thanks for the 1000 SP delegation:)

I saw Black Coal, Thin Ice, and An Elephant Sitting Still

They're getting a bit more recognised lately, but they certainly deserve it. What's so heartbreaking about An Elephant Sitting Still is how much it feels like a suicide note from its director, Hu Bo. It's truly a shame, since he was clearly so talented.

Well if all the big cinema things start going the same way anyone who wants something different will start paying more attention the indies/smaller cinema things right? :)

I've generally stopped watching stuff (unless my daughter desperately wants to watch something or other, occasionally I even like what we're watching enough to actually watch it, other times I'm just studying XD) and started making stuff I want to watch (which will probably not be interesting to too many other people but hey it's fun to make XD).

There will always be groupies for your kind of 'stuff' @ryivhnn ;>)

With Parasite, the west has finally discovered that international cinema exists,

This almost made me laugh but the rest of the article doesn't. I have to say that I need to see Parasite for myself first, before I can agree with you on this. You made me curious though. I wonder how I would react to it. You know I'm very much into art house, European cinema, non mainstream stuff and mainly pre 1980s Western cinema, aside from some exceptions and childhood nostalgia.

I have seen a bunch of earlier films by this director. Did not like Okja, felt like too much preaching to me. Snowpearcer wasn't my kind of movie either, I would say that one was overrated and hyped. I very much enjoyed The Host, when I watched at a film festival, in 2006. I might have watched Mother and Memories of Murder or have just heard and read about them. I believe those two to be pretty good pictures.

Anyhow, I would also really dislike the idea of Asian cinema / international cinema adapting to mainstream ( Western ) audiences but I also believe there will also be rebels and indie filmmakers who don't sell their soul to the devil.

Great write up! :>)

I don't know what to tell you ... I don't know how much cinema you've seen. World cinematography has been around for a long time.
Parasite is nominated for an Oscar and is undoubtedly a great film that, in my opinion, will win the category of Non-English-speaking Film. However, Parasite has already won the Cannes Festival (France).
In European, Asian, Latin American and even North American Festivals, films from around the world are reviewed and rewarded. The cinematographies in each country are different and the semantic messages are read differently precisely because the referents are different.
Parasito is the first South-Korean film to win Cannes, but Chinese films by Zhang Zimou, Japanese by Kurosawa, to mention some Asians, have already been awarded in previous years.
Parasite is a masterpiece but it is not the first in Asia, nor is it the first of small places.
Best regards @namiks

"..but it's certainly a worry of mine as entry-level cinema becomes hailed as godly creations due to decades of reboots, remakes, franchises, and a lack of creativity."

This is something I've felt and heard also.

I'd hate to see international cinema begin to adapt to western audiences. I feel that some of the best international films are so good as a result of witnessing completely different perspectives: different lifestyles, different thinking, and even different ways of just telling a story.

That's it--different, different, different.
We need diversity in our stories.
It's scary to see American cinema turn so general and repetitive the last decade plus.

I haven't seen parasite yet, but I think that you are wrong. From what I can tell, people are mostly shocked that it speaks of similar topics as the "Joker" movie and how is it possible that two films from different sides of the globe are addressing the same issues. I don't think that it will happen again. This sort of situation. I think we will just continue to get terrible American remakes of pretty good international film, parasite will become a TV show and train to boson will be remade in the U.S.A. even though there is no need whatsoever as it can stand internationally on itsown.

I struggle to find my own reasons to support the concept that this film speaks negatively about the rich and not also the poor. I've seen so many arguments online regarding the fact that the film has a negative meaning over the wealthy family and that it's a tale on capitalism in which the poor are the victims.

What I've managed to take from Parasite is far different: I see Parasite as a film about class. Both the rich and the poor don't see each other as people, but instead look at them for ways in which they can be manipulated. Neither see each other as fellow people.

For example, the wealthy father talks down on the poor father, even degrading him for his smell. The poor father is obviously upset about that, but at the same time is exploiting his entire family.

i dont think they will feel threatened but definitely take action just in case, you know because there can only be one prom queen. I reckon this will be done with some underhanded sneaky tactics not too visible to the public eye.

The West movies lack storyline and pezazz these days. i cant remember when last i have seem a really great movie that left an impression. Its been pretty meh.

with larger productions heavily relying on a very specific style in which sequels are always on the table, and characters and narratives written to appeal to the widest possible demographic, generating additional revenue through merchandising.

This right here is why they thrive. Giving the masses (who don't care about having an opinion and happy to think what you tell them) what they want.

I've noticed that trend in international productions. Adding elements of the Hollywood movie style. I think they've been successful because of that. It's valid. The danger is that it becomes a pattern repeated by everyone. For example, in international television series like the Spanish La Casa de Papel, which is a success because it exploits those elements of American film and television. But Hollywood, when it sees a successful international production, what it does is buy the rights to make its own remakes, versions, etc. with famous actors and set in their lifestyle. And their language! We have already seen how they have brought out (bad) versions of excellent international films or series. An example, coming from the Asian cinema, the movie Oldboy by Pak Chan-uk. They made an unnecessary remake that never lived up to the original. Parasitos, I think they are already in the process of making a television series with American actors. The system has already begun its process, buy, adapt to their language, beautiful actors and try, repeat the success.

I NEED to watch this movie!

I first fell in love with Korean cinema about 6 years ago and to this day feel as though it is the best cinematic experience in the world. The lack of predictability is what particularly appeals to me.

I also found it frustrating that some of these films, rather than simply importing the actual film to the west, will get remade using western actors and so much of the film gets lost and even ruined. I'm thinking primarily of "Oldboy" when I say this.

I hope that Parasite winning this award opens the eyes of the western audience about what good cinema can be and perhaps make them aware of how vapid and devoid of substance a vast majority of Hollywood films have become.

Good write up and thanks for the film recommendations, i have never heard of any of those and will get them right away!

I hope that Parasite winning this award opens the eyes of the western audience about what good cinema can be and perhaps make them aware of how vapid and devoid of substance a vast majority of Hollywood films have become.

Having seen the absurd amount of praise that a24 films get, I'm worried that these international films will begin to cater to western audiences and lose that spark that they have. It would be quite a tragic loss.

thanks for the film recommendations, i have never heard of any of those and will get them right away!

I'm sure you'll love them. They're hard to not like if you're already a fan of asian cinema. Though Blue Ruin and Thunder Road are two western indie films that do things very, very well.

Blue Ruin is awesome!

Did you recently see it or did you know of it before?

I was like this post, and it is true Hollywood have maid lot bad movies that are full of computer graphics. And many movies have no content. Because bringing in new stories is not profitable for them, and now they do their best to be the only ones who own it all in moves and make a big profit when the movie is finished.

Thanks for the recommendations. I agree with you on this and it’s why I haven’t watched many films recently. I think the same kind of mainstream lazy films sexist everywhere in full but they don’t have an audience overseas and so there is less of a prize to dangle for those who pander to the lowest common denominator. This is worth taking about more and kind of inspires me to write a bit on globalization.

This is worth taking about more and kind of inspires me to write a bit on globalization.

I hope so. It's a pretty interesting topic.

Hi namiks,

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