'Minari' takes Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film
Director Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari,” a semi-autobiographical tale based on the director’s own childhood, won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Golden Globe Awards on Monday, hosted virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The critically acclaimed film beat out other films such as “La Llorona” from Guatemala, “Another Round” from Denmark, “The Life Ahead” from Italy and “Two of Us” from the United States.
Upon the announcement, director Lee’s daughter threw herself at him to give him a hug, while repeating, “I prayed, I prayed!”
“This one here, she's the reason I made this film,” Lee said during his acceptance speech while holding his daughter close. “And I just want to say ‘Minari’ is about a family. It's a family trying to speak a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language, any foreign language. It's a language of the heart and I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on, and I hope we all learn how to speak this language of love to each other, especially this year.”
It’s the second consecutive year that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) bestowed its best foreign language film award upon a Korean language film after director Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” became the first Korean film to earn the honor. The film features Korean and Korean American actors in the lead roles, such as Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Youn Yuh-jung, Alan Kim and Noel Kate Cho, who portray a Korean immigrant family struggling to adapt to life in Arkansas in the 1980s.
The independent film is closely tailing the success of “Parasite,” which became the first-ever Korean film to win both a Golden Globe award and an Oscar for best picture last year.
The HFPA has been criticized for excluding "Minari" from competing in the best picture category. The association claims "Minari" falls into the category of a foreign film because less than 50 percent of its dialogue is in English, despite the fact the film was made, financed and produced by American companies.
The association has made exceptions to this rule in the past, allowing films such as Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's “Babel” (2006) and Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds" (2009) to compete in categories outside best foreign film. “Babel” even won the Best Motion Picture – Drama award in 2006.
“Maybe the positive side of all of this is that we’ve made a film that challenges some of those existing categories, and adds to the idea that an American film might look and sound very differently from what we’re used to,” Chung recently told the The New York Times. “It’s hard to say, ‘I demand a seat at a table for best picture.’”
“Minari” has now scooped a total of 75 awards and 157 nominations from global film festivals and associations since its premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. Attention is now being paid to the upcoming Oscar nominations which will be revealed on March 15. “Rain Song,” sung by lead actor Han Ye-ri and composed by Emile Mosseri, is already shortlisted for Best Original Score and Best Original Song.
At an online event held with the Korean press Friday, the director speculated that his film was garnering such a positive universal response because everyone can relate to familial relationships.
“I think we all as people around the world wrestle with the things that te Yi family is wrestling with, the idea of how we love each other in difficult situations, and I think a lot of people relate to that, it doesn't matter what country you’re from,” the director said.
The film hits local theaters this Wednesday.
BY LEE JAE-LIM [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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