Don’t be lazy: read subtitles

Oscar-award winning director Boon-Joon-Ho famously said, "Don't be lazy, read subtitles" during his Golden Globe speech. He was right.


Photo Credit: Post Star

Bong Joon-ho accepting the Oscar for best film. This was the first time a foreign film got the honor.

The Oscars are … predictable to say the least. For film enthusiasts, it’s hardly ever a surprise when a particular award is announced at the Academy Awards. But this year, the annual Oscars boasted a welcome, unexpected surprise for wary, returning viewers. 

For the first time in film history, a foreign language film, Parasite, out of South Korea, won the award for best picture, evoking a couple interesting questions: Wow, when was the last time a foreign film won an Oscar? What other amazing out-of-country films are we missing?  

So many different countries are filled with fantastic writers, directors, and actors, but they don’t receive proper credit for their hard work. 

Much of the lack of recognition of foreign films is due to minimal awareness (of films beyond our borders) and the common American’s unwillingness to appreciate those flicks with language barriers/subtitles. 

To quote Parasite’s co-writer and director Bong Joon-Ho’s Golden Globe acceptance speech — “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of foreign language subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Joon-Ho’s statement couldn’t be more true.

Subtitles are nothing too hard to handle; they’re just some words at the bottom of your screen. Captions shouldn’t take away from the viewing experiences and narratives of international culture outside of the United States.

For example, themes from Parasite such as inequality and classism show a parallel between South Korea and the U.S.  Both nations struggle with common challenges.  But who would have known? 

Plus, the quality of a film consists of so much more than just spoken dialogue between characters, so you shouldn’t let something so small lessen your experience. 

One can find foreign films that meet all the high American standards for quality cinematography, acting, and plot writing. Also, if you look hard enough, you can even find films that are producing truly groundbreaking work. 

The Oscar-winner Parasite infuses elements of action, drama, social commentary, and horror all in one compact serving size of 2 hours 12 minutes

To provide a brief summary without any spoilers, the film’s plot follows the story of the impoverished Kim family slowly infiltrating the life (and finances) of the wealthy Park family. 

Breaking the barrier and getting into foreign films is a good idea.  

Viewers can broaden their horizons to new and interesting narratives that cultivate similar more understanding across the gold.  So remember: don’t be lazy– read the subtitles.