Many on the ground believed this would be Pedro Almodovar’s year and that Pain and Glory had it in the bag. Not so, as South Korean director Bong Joon-ho finally got his due in the fifth time around taking the Palme d’Or for his family thriller Parasite about a poor working class family who finds themselves working in esteemed position for a rich family, an opportunity that goes very sideways. And of course, there’s a knock on North Korea in the film. Parasite even has something to say on the declining environment.
Said Alejandro González Iñárritu on how the jury came to a unanimous decision on Parasite, “The film is such a unique experience, it’s an unexpected film. It took all of us. There’s an unexpected way that the film takes us through different genres, and spoke in a funny way about something to relevant and urgent and global in such a local film with efficiency.”
That said, Iñárritu reiterated that the jury had no political agenda or message to get across. “The cinema had to speak for itself,” said the Birdman director.
Iñárritu appeared tonight with eight other members of this year’s Cannes jury, including directors Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy), Robin Campillo (120 BPM), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War) and actress Elle Fanning. Iñárritu is the first jury president from Mexico in Cannes history.
The movie in its encore screening this afternoon at Cannes played to great cheers at the Debussy Theatre, both during a riveting middle section of the film and when the credits rolled. Last time Joon-ho was here, he had Okja, a Netflix movie which as we know rubbed French exhibs the wrong the way because it was a movie from the streaming service. It’s the second-back-to-back Palme win for an Asian director here at the fest. Last year, Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda took home the Palme for Shoplifters which was nominated for a foreign language Oscar.
Some had a theory that Parasite was a dark horse: Given the sharp, thrilling camera movements in the film, it’s the type of cinema the Oscar-winning Birdman director would love.
Iñárritu told Deadline before the festival, “I really believe in the liberating and humanizing power of cinema. I believe that images and ideas that are carried by stories can have the power to strike you in your solar plexus, and really change your mind…The world is ending, and we’re watching beautiful films.” That said, is there’s one film that hits you in the guy when it comes to the class war between rich and poor — it’s Parasite.
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