True movie magic happens rarely. Perhaps there exists a great film which came about no thanks to the talent (or lack of talent) involved but, rather, by divine intervention? If you know of one, let us know in the comments.
In our known universe, for the stars to align during a movie production one needs an audacious story successfully woven together by a director at the peak of their powers employing pitch-perfect casting and gifted personnel in scenic and costume design, cinematography, editing and scoring.
I’m thinking of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain or, as most of us know it, simply Amélie (2001). All the elements of the film’s development came together to produce my all-time favourite: a fantastical creation of pure joy. But it took some luck too: the role of Amélie was written by Jeunet specifically for Emily Watson but due to her poor French skills, and also scheduling conflicts, Jeunet rewrote the screenplay for Audrey Tautou. No offence to Watson – who is a wonderful actor – but can you imagine Amélie without Tautou? With one of the magical elements replaced, the cauldron would have infused a different potion.
Another example of cinematic gold is the seminal Alien (1979) where immensely inventive people like screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, painter and airbrush artist H. R. Giger, and director Ridley Scott put together their talents to create an awe-inspiring science fiction horror. Impressively, Alien was only Scott’s second feature film. They say lightning never strikes twice, but Scott’s very next film was Blade Runner (1982). Nuff said.
Interestingly, the film that Jeunet made before Amélie was none other than Alien Resurrection (1997), the Alien series’ fourth installment.
No wonder Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival. It is an impressive piece of filmmaking from South Korea that incorporates a truly original story involving fun characters in the pursuit of a form of betterment which leads us down narrative paths you couldn’t second-guess in a million years. There are many laughs, there are thrills, there is tension, there is even what could be called a tiny little bit of horror, and there is – of course – drama.
Parasite is the fourth collaboration between Bong (Korean names lead with the surname followed by the given name) and versatile leading man Song Kang-ho. Song, along with an impression cast of character actors, lead us through the fascinating events which build up to one of the most bizarre and satisfying conclusions I have ever seen.
The set designs of the two locations central to the film are cleverly juxtaposed, embelishing our understanding of the characters’ necessary journey from A to B. I can’t say more than that if I am to adhere to Wonderful Cinema’s no spoiler promise. You’ll just have to watch it, won’t ya!
Wonderful Cinema recommends you don’t ruin the impact the director has prepared for you by watching trailers or reading spoilers before you’ve seen the movie.
Of course, I know a lot of you can’t resist…
|Country, Language||South Korean, Korean|
|Lead Actors||Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam (click here for full cast)|
|Screenplay||Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won|