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Saskatoon Korean Association ‘amazed’ with ‘Parasite’ Oscar wins

Bong Joon Ho accepts the award for best director for "Parasite" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Bong Joon Ho accepts the award for best director for "Parasite" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

History was made at the 92nd Academy Awards when South Korean director Bong Joon-ho swept all four categories he was nominated in. The film Parasite won Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, and Best Picture.

It was the first South Korean film to win an Oscar and the first non-English film to take home Best Picture. Joon-ho’s four awards ties with Walt Disney for the most Oscars won in a single night.

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The excitement around Parasite‘s wins goes beyond the South Korean film industry and has spread throughout the world.

Saskatchewan has a small, close-knit Korean community with only about 2,000 Korean people living in the province.

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“It was thrilling to see Parasite making its way to Saskatoon. It was featured in [the] Roxy Theatre too, just a month ago,” said Saskatoon Korean Association president David Oh.

“Because of this movie, I think a lot more Koreans are coming together to celebrate and talk about Parasite.”

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Oh said all of the Oscar wins were a big surprise since North American films are typically celebrated more at the Academy Awards.

“We were amazed and we want to see more Asian and Korean movies coming through,” Oh said.

Joon-ho’s films typically have underlying social themes portrayed through dark humour. Parasite criticizes the socioeconomic state of South Korea. In recent years, the term ‘Hell Joseon‘ has been used to describe the disparity between lower and upper classes.

Oh said the film successfully portrayed this issue to an audience who wouldn’t have known about it until seeing Parasite.

“This movie is really dealing well with how people in [the] lower class feel about the high class and how they see each other,” Oh explained.

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Even though there are less than 1,000 Korean people in Saskatoon, Korean culture is still celebrated. The University of Saskatchewan K-pop club is hosting a Global Korean Festival on campus Thursday evening.

A Korean play, The Grass Tomb, will be shown at the university’s Greystone Theatre in March.

“We are going to try on our own to show Korean culture and along with K-Pop culture that’s coming into North America,” Oh said.