Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” (2019) finally hits British cinemas this week after months of sweeping award circuits all across the world, from the Palme d’Or, to most recently, the BAFTAs. It has been a long and painful wait, but it has been worth it. For “Parasite” is one of the best films to grace the twenty first century. It is a masterclass of virtually all filmmaking realms. But where it shines brightest is in its commentary as a scathing critique of modern capitalism.
The British Academy Film Awards are somewhat of a black sheep in the trinity of lavish, self-indulgent film awards ceremonies in the early months of each new year. Their bizarre practice of pre-recording the ceremony – so the winners end up announced before it’s even televised – then editing out a bunch of the technical and ‘smaller’ awards, makes it a very lacklustre viewing experience. Though that being said, there’s a lot to say about the awards and the ceremony itself. First, and most obvious, is the sweep of “1917”. Seven wins out of nine nominations, only losing Makeup and Hair to “Bombshell” and Original Score to “Joker”. Not unexpected given the film’s staggering momentum this awards season, plus the film being British which the BAFTAs highly favour. But it’s still telling. Expect “1917” to make a similar sweep of the upcoming Academy Awards, with a near-guaranteed shot at Best Picture and Best Director, winning both of its equivalents here.
his year as Bong Joon-ho's widely praised film “Parasite” received six nominations from the Academy – including Best Picture and Best Director – but was snubbed entirely from the acting categories, despite the praise the ensemble has received from critics and audiences. Most of Bong Joon-ho's films are driven by large, ensemble casts. But in this “Should’ve Been a Contender” series, I’d like to submit one of his few films carried by one, singular woman at its centre; Kim Hye-ja in the 2009 murder-mystery/drama, “Mother”.
2019 was an eventful year for me, I grew so much as a person and found an outlet to express my writing and thoughts about film as a whole. This isn’t a definitive list by any means but a list of the films that have had the biggest impact on me personally. I have a lot to say about some of these so let’s get started, shall we?
While Bong’s films are often very funny affairs, “Parasite” is his first outright comedy since 2000 debut “Barking Dogs Never Bite”. This is a pitch-black farce that frequently becomes a delightful caper – albeit one whose heroes have ineffably murky methods. You love to root against the Park couple: Yeon-kyo (Jo Yeo-jong) is a prim-and-proper lady and Dong-ik (Lee Sun-kyun) is a suave tech executive, but in reality they’re disgusted by the slightest bit of the real world.
As we approach the end of 2019, the ITOL team are compiling their end of year lists of their favourite films. Here's James Cain's list and his personal top 20 films of 2019! Another year, another fresh bout of shame. I didn’t see “Hustlers”! I didn’t fit “Always Be My Maybe” onto my list of favourite movies! Anyway, here are my Top 20 Films of 2019.