Monday, February 24, 2020

Media Appearance: How 'Parasite' Almost Never Saw the Light of Day on Washington Post

Parasite made history by becoming the first non-English language film to win the Best Picture in the Oscars. For the Washington Post, I wrote about how South Korea's conservative administration blacklisted its director Bong Joon-ho and lead actor Song Kang-ho:
But Bong’s career was jeopardized in the 2010s, after South Korea elected two conservative presidents with retrograde attitudes toward freedom: Lee Myung-bak, a former chief executive of Hyundai Group, and Park Geun-hye, daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee. Lee and Park Geun-hye turned Kim Dae-jung’s principle on pop culture on its head by using governmental support to interfere with pop culture. In the name of “balancing cultural power,” the Lee administration compiled a detailed list of left-leaning celebrities to cut off from public support and pressure away from major platforms.

The Park administration vastly expanded this blacklist to include nearly 10,000 names. Internal papers from the Park administration on Bong’s movies reads as if Joseph McCarthy were a film critic. “Memories of Murder” was criticized for “injecting negative impressions of the police by depicting them as corrupt and incompetent”; “The Host” “highlights anti-Americanism and governmental incompetence, pushing the society leftward”; “Snowpiercer” “denies the legitimacy of market economy and provokes social resistance.”

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