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The “Minari” Golden Globe controversy is not just in Hollywood



Therefore, when the Golden Globes airs on Sunday, this American film about families struggling on American farms, written and directed by Americans, will compete in a surprising category: Best Foreign Language Film.

“It feels very personal… It feels like’Where do you come from?” Sociologist and author of “Scroll Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism,” said Nancy Wang Yuen, Asian American I always encounter such problems. “The assumption is that if you have an Asian face, you must not come from here. “

“Minari” has more than one story in the United States

Lee Isaac Chung (Lee Isaac Chung) is a Colorado-born writer and director of “Minari”

;. He said that he grew up based on the many details in the script and the experience of South Korean immigrants who grew up on a farm in Arkansas.

Screenwriter and director Isaac Lee (right) and actors Steven Yang (left) and Will Barton (center) play

The name of this movie is taken from a kind of stress-resistant herbal medicine in Korean. But there is no doubt that the film’s vivid, textured scenes tell an absolute American story-from the rural landscape of Ozark to the benches of the village church to the home of the Yi people.

Last year, “Minari” won the highest award at the Sundance Dance Festival. It has also won praise from people in the communities it describes, including immigrants and non-immigrants. A reporter from the Arkansas Times recently called it “the truest adult story about our region I have reflected on the screen.”
Chung said that he praised Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Willa Cather (who wrote about life in the American plains more than a century ago) for inspiring his narration.

Regarding her books “Pioneers!” and “My Antonia”, Cather once said that after years of imitating New York Metropolitan writers, her writing was inspired by her own growth experience.

Chung told CNN: “She wrote that when she stopped admiring and started to remember her work, her work really started.” “That’s what made me sit down and write down my memories in the end. It became. The core of the movie.”

Why the film’s Golden Globe nomination is disturbing

Chung’s memories weave together in “Minari” are what many Americans who grew up in immigrant families can think of: the joy of visiting family members bringing home spices, the struggle of different generations, the repressed emotions of parents All the risks are the faces of the children who are trying to feed their families and trying to adapt.

David's grandson (Alan S. Kim) and Soonja's grandmother (Yuh-Jung Youn) are in

For Yuan, this feels very important.

She said: “It is the first time for many of us to see our story on the screen.”

Therefore, when the news broke for the first time that the Golden Globe qualification rules would force “Minari” to compete in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category, it was taken aback.

Actor Daniel Dae Kim and other Asian celebrities quickly entered social media to express their frustration. King described it as “the equivalent of a movie told to return to China when the United States is actually the United States.”

For some people, this is the performance of the previous year, when Lulu Wang’s 2019 film “Farewell” was excluded from the best comedy competition at the awards ceremony because of the film’s Most of the content is in Chinese.

Yuen said: “It’s great to make these films, but it’s terrible to put them in the foreign language category.” “We shouldn’t be punished for telling different American stories that we have never told before.”

Yuen said this is especially disturbing at a time when Asian Americans are increasingly facing verbal and physical attacks.
“When you refer to’Minari’ as a foreign film, it does not help the general anti-Asian sentiment, that is, the permanent foreign stereotype faced by Asian Americans, not only in abstract representation, but also in vivid The experience was attacked by our government and individuals.”

What do award rules say

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) regulations for the Golden Globe Awards stipulate that only films with an English dialogue volume of 50% or more are eligible to participate in the competition for the best film category of the award.
Other awards use different standards. For example, the Oscars ceremony allows movies in any language to compete for the best film. Last year, the Korean-language film “Parasite” screened in Seoul became the first non-English film to win the award.

The rules of the Golden Globes are not new. But some people believe that it has been a long time since the association reassessed the criteria used by its prestigious awards.

FYI: English is not an official language of the United States
Charlene Jimenez, director of entertainment collaboration and advocacy for the non-profit organization Define American, described this year’s Golden Globe nomination as part of the “erasing model” because she recently requested a review of language requirements.

“Today, more than 350 languages ​​are used in American households. So what does’foreign’ language mean?” Jimenez told CNN. “For us as an American society, this is a very important moment. We need to investigate our prejudice against such movies, such stories, and stories about immigrants. This will or will not cause the’U.S. People’s resonance.”

There is no official language in the United States. According to census data, more than 20% of the U.S. population over 5 years old speak languages ​​other than English at home.
Screenwriter and activist William Yu said that if the rules of the Golden Globe Awards do not keep pace with the times, there may be consequences beyond the big screen.

He said: “For who is recognized and who is not recognized, this has an impact on industry transfer.” “This may have a huge impact on their career trajectory.”

Important stories may become unknown-and invisible.

He said: “HFPA may be eliminating many immigrant stories from marginalized communities. As these communities mature and want to tell their own stories, it does not always have to be in English.” “Know if your movies are not in English 50% of the film can be considered the best film, then you will never be enough-when you are considered the best foreign language film, there is an implicit sense of inferiority. But not the best film.”

The director is worried that he has to produce “Minari” in English

As far as the writer and director of “Minari” is concerned, he does not think that participating in the foreign language film category will humiliate the film or his work. But Zhong said he understands the frustration expressed by many people.

He said: “I’m very frustrated with what happened. It’s just their rules in that category.” “These conversations are good….We are starting to see as an American, someone in this country- This situation is more complicated than we usually think. I think the film needs to reflect this. The rules and systems should reflect this. It is a good thing for us to have a dialogue.”

Steven Yeun plays Jacob Yi, the family ancestor

But when Chung thinks about language and his movies, other things will come to mind.

He said: “My grandmother, if she is still alive, she will be very proud, because I have always insisted on shooting movies in Korean without compromise, and then I started to use English as a foreign language.”

Long before this controversy started brewing, Chung knew he needed to find funds to make “Minari”-he was worried.

He wants to tell this story in Korean. But he worries that this will be a difficult selling point-not for the audience, he knows that the audience will see a good story, and will not attract those audience supporters, but potential supporters.

Therefore, just in case, he also wrote a script version that contains more English versions.

Chung said that fortunately, Christina Oh, a Korean-American producer, supported his vision.

“She insisted that we must do it in Korean from the beginning. This is how we grew up…. She said that as a producer, she will go out to do this case and fight this battle.”

This means that Chung can show the world a story that reflects the lifestyle of many American families.




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