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Hollywood interviewer asks Bong Joon Ho why ‘Parasite’ filmed in Korean, he gives classy response

Netizens were divided.

Nigel Chua | February 12, 04:09 pm

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“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”, said Bong Joon Ho, director of South Korean movie Parasite, which won four Academy Awards earlier this week.

Besides Bong’s Best Director award, the movie also won the Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Original Screenplay awards.

It appears, however, that the barrier to enjoying foreign language films may be more than an inch tall for some.

In a widely circulated clip of an interview at the Oscars award show, Bong was asked “what made you decide to have the film in Korean, when you had other films in English?”.

One version of the clip (uploaded by Twitter user @hoyarkive) has gone viral, with over 525,600 likes and 142,300 retweets.

The question came across as unnecessary to some, with one Twitter user labelling it “ignorant” and “stupid”.

Many pointed out how similar questions might come across as being ridiculous, in another context:

nuggets pasta parasite

Given that Bong is credited as the writer of 14 films, of which only two (Snowpiercer and made-for-Netflix Okja) are in English, it seemed more natural to this commenter for the question to have been asked in reverse instead:

But none of this fazed Bong one bit.

Without skipping a beat, he responded:

“Snowpiercer is also about the rich and poor, but I wanted to see explore [a] similar theme with characters that I could see around my own daily life, set in Korea, with the Korean language”.

The answer seems to echo the words of iconic director Martin Scorsese, which Bong had quoted in his Best Director acceptance speech: “The most personal is the most creative”.

In spite of the negative reactions which the question drew, some netizens found the question reasonable.

The interviewer, Tamron Hall, also chimed in, pointing out that it was something which Bong had discussed in previous interviews.

Another commenter pointed out that the question could have been intended to give Bong “space to talk about why it’s important for the movie to be in Korean”.

Parasite is the first non-English-language film to win the award for Best Picture.

About Nigel Chua

Nigel has a recent track record of surprising himself by doing things he said he would never do.

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