The Silver Screen is Back

This article was originally published in the October, 2020 edition of the East Brunswick High School newspaper “The Clarion”.

By Ian Clark

Since March, everything has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the film and theatre industries are no exception. Many movies – including No Time To Die, Black Widow, The Green Knight, and Dune – were supposed to be released in 2020 but have had their release dates moved to 2021. As a result, theaters have been hit very hard.  AMC missed bankruptcy by a hair, while Regal Cinemas fully closed their doors.  Worst of all, privately owned indie theaters have been devastated because they do not have the luxury of a large chain behind them. Though some movie productions such as Jurassic World: Domination and The Batman have pushed through, they still were halted due to the cast and crew contracting the virus. 

So with the film industry struggling, what movie options do people have while at home? The obvious answer is streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and other similar services. Some well regarded new releases include Da 5 Bloods, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Shirley, The Devil All The Time, and Palm Springs.  In many ways, being stuck at home never seemed more appealing. 

Among the delays and releases going straight to digital, one movie that was determined to have a theatre release was Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Tenet was seen by many as the movie that would reopen cinemas, and in a way it did. As COVID guidelines became looser, theaters began to open up again by either showing screenings of older films along with newer ones. EBHS Senior Jessie Lieberman was one of the few brave souls willing to venture into theatres to see the new Nolan film.  “I was a bit uneasy about it. Though, I was shortly reassured … everyone was required to wear a mask … all the reserved seats were spaced out to ensure social distancing protocols were followed. They also … thoroughly clean[ed] the theater after each show … it was a lot different … but I still got to enjoy the movie and feel safe while doing it.” 

Like Jessie, many people have been seeing Tenet after it’s delayed September opening, as it garnered $45.1 million domestically and $307.7 million worldwide. Even with Tenet’s surprise success given the theatre scene these days, many people are still hesitant to go to theaters.  EBHS junior Marco DeBellis said “it doesn’t seem natural to me … maybe not able to eat your popcorn and sip on your soda, it’s not the same. The cinema used to be an interactive experience within the audience as well as with the picture. If it was dead silent during a horror, you’d sure be scared. If the audience was booming with laughter … For now, I’ve found comfort streaming movies from my living room.” 

With each day, the movie industry and life in the US is slowly getting back to normal.  While there are many entertainment options available to people in their homes, nothing can top the excitement of seeing a highly anticipated movie in the theater.

Image of the article as published in The Clarion

Parasite

This article was originally published on the front page of the March, 2020 edition of the East Brunswick High School newspaper “The Clarion”.

By Ian Clark

Few films have been able to captivate worldwide audiences the way that Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite has. The film first premiered in May, 2019 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the festival’s highest award, the prestigious Palme D’Or. From there, it has garnered critical acclaim and momentum that continued through the traditional ‘awards season’ and culminated at this year’s Academy Awards.  As it has gained mass critical acclaim, the film is also being regarded by many to be one of the best of the decade if not one of the best ever made. Recently at the Oscars, the film capped off its stunning year by winning 4 awards including Best International Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and a historic win for Best Picture. In the 92 years of the Academy Awards, Parasite was the first foreign language film to ever win the Best Picture award.

Parasite tells the story of the destitute Kim family, who, fueled by greed, and through an  elaborate con, slowly invade the home and life of the wealthy Park family. Since its release at Cannes, critics and film fanatics have been talking about the film non-stop. The love for Parasite has even reached the halls of East Brunswick High School. Mita Das, a junior, says that “Parasite is a film that speaks volumes through its simple yet profound messages. It completely broke the standard of American films by seamlessly introducing a new, hybrid genre of humor and suspense. It kept me on the edge of my seat during the whole movie and left me wanting more at the end.”  Mita commented on Bong Joon Ho’s boundary breaking filmmaking style which is clearly shown within the film, as he demonstrated an outstanding mix of drama, comedy and suspense that made the film intriguing up until the last second. Mr. Cibrian also had comments to share about Parasite, saying that he was “pleasantly surprised that Parasite won so many awards, including Best Picture.  Director Bong Joon Ho’s films are so creative and often take a right turn halfway through the picture. It’s hard to define the genre of his films because he often breaks the rules of whichever genre he’s exploring”. Mr. Cibrian continued, saying that he “[hopes] these wins for a foreign film will convince people who traditionally avoid subtitled films to search them out”.

Parasite is a milestone in the history of foreign language films and cinema in general, and one can only hope that this acclaim will attract more people to foreign language films; “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”. That quote came from Bong Joon Ho himself, during his acceptance speech for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes. Many incredible foreign films have come out in these past few years, including: Roma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Pain and Glory, I Lost My Body, Climax, Cold War and Shoplifters. If you are interested in discovering more of Bong Joon Ho’s other films, you can currently find Snowpiercer and Okja on Netflix.