DAVAO

Velez: Of parasites, films and identity

THE American Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, awarded this year's Best Picture to a South Korean film. Goes to show that in America, many good things are outsourced.

The South Korean film Parasite, a social satire about class struggles, is the first non-English film to win the Oscars' Best Picture. But most people, including my wife, say that even American films sound so foreign because of their accent and slurs.

Both South Korea and our country celebrated their respective centennial of their film industries. But the difference is South Korean films are making it big worldwide. Meanwhile, we are getting killed by an overdose of dead comedy punch lines from Vice Ganda.

It's such a pity because Parasite Best Director Bong Joon-Ho credits Lino Brocka as one of his inspirations, having able to watch his films and other Asian masters during his university days. That's the secret of doing good film. Has anyone watched a Brocka lately?

How popular is Korean culture? Our young generation can even memorize K-Pop lyrics even without understanding them and recognize Korean actors even if they all have the same eyes and hair. I hope they can memorize the Constitution and identify our national heroes, unless the education department tries to make our lessons more "pop."

Meanwhile, government and the education department wants to bring Mandarin curriculum to schools. I think government is rooting for the wrong country.

Among other winners, Taika Waititi, a director of indigenous descent from New Zealand, dedicated his Best Adapted Screenplay award to the indigenous peoples. Joaquin Phoenix, who won Best Actor for playing a Joker, was serious in saying actors should be a voice for many marginalized sectors.

That's a huge difference from here. Because the indigenous peoples are praised by blending in festival dances and having tattoos. But when we talk about protecting their ancestral land and schools, the IP is suddenly spelled as NPA.

Parasite is getting a remake in Hollywood. If Hollywood were to remake that in our country, Malacañang would be a good setting for it. Oligarchs sucking on the riches of our land, and on the sweat of farmers and working class, government's communications team sucking up with bad propaganda.

And the plot also has a twist, when the President terminates the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, trying to prove the country is not a parasite to the superpower that is the USA. But then, another twist, perhaps the government is opening its doors further to China vessels and investments.

Not a bad idea for a sequel. But a bad idea rather for running the country.


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