A year after Parasite made history and took a bunch of awards in Hollywood including the Academy Award for Best movie. Another Korean movie ‘Minari’ is taking place in Hollywood.
Minari (Water Dropwort) is a 2020 American drama film written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung. It stars Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Youn Yuh-jung, and Will Patton. The movie is a semi-autobiographical take on Chung’s upbringing; the plot follows a family of South Korean immigrants who try to make it in rural America during the 1980s. An intensely personal story, on Chung’s own life as a boy growing up in Arkansas, but there is no satire and barely any mention of racism.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2020, winning both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award.
It began a one-week virtual release on December 11, 2020, and was theatrically released on February 12, 2021, by A24. It was named one of the ten best films of 2020 by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Minari – A Little Background
The two movies Parasite and Minari have different stories, Parasite, which made history in 2020 by becoming the first film in the Korean language to win the best picture Oscar, is a dark satire about class and contemporary society in South Korea and how brilliantly it was portrayed through its cinematography.
Minari, now in US movie theaters and arriving in South Korea in March, is a tender, quintessentially American story about an immigrant family in the 1980s trying to better themselves by starting a farm in Arkansas. Whereas Parasite was conceived, produced and filmed in the United States.
“They speak Korean and it’s about a family and there’s some Korean culture involved, but I think this film speaks a lot to what America is. It contains a lot of people doing many different things, many different walks of life, and in that way, it’s quite different from Parasite,” said director Lee Isaac Chung.
The film, which has already won multiple awards nominations, including the Golden Globes, has been widely embraced for its universal humanity. Nominations for the Oscars have not yet been announced as of yet. Korean-American actor Steven Yeun, who plays the father, said he was terrified at taking on the role.
“It was scary to approach my father’s generation on a level that isn’t just caricatured but really just trying to get into their humanity. It opened my own eyes into the ways in which I might misunderstand my own father and that generation as well,” Yeun added.
Stephen is also best known for his TV role in the series, “The Walking Dead,” is joined by Korean actors Yeri Han as his stressed wife and Yuh- Jung Youn as his idiosyncratic mother-in-law, who all live together in a sweltering trailer in a remote and unforgiving field. Chung said the warm response to the film so far has been more than he hoped for.
“I do feel hopeful and glad that it seems like audiences are willing to read subtitles, and to watch films that don’t reflect their own experiences,” he said. “It seems like they identify with what they’re seeing, and they’re looking more to this shared humanity.”
As Minari bagged most of the National Awards within Hollywood, we really hope that it will get the honor of Academy Awards as well.