How Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” (2019) succeeded globally

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Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) ranks alongside Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful (1997) and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) as one of the most commercially successful international features in the United States. (Image Courtesy: The Daily Targum).

Thanks to a positive social media reaction, word-of-mouth recommendations, as well as the filmmaker’s niche audience, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) is the rare foreign release to become a hit in the United States, according to Rutgers University’s The Daily Targum. Set in contemporary South Korea, the conflict in the film arises between two families on opposite sides of the income gap and the ways in which prestige, money, and education pose as obstacles in the struggle for capitalistic status and prosperity. The thematic relevance of this narrative to viewers around the world, in addition to the praise the movie has garnered for its visuals and storytelling, have all contributed to its Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, with some critics calling it the greatest picture of the year.