Why the Golden Globes Winner ‘Minari’ Speaks the Language of Love

How Minari almost never made it to the Golden Globe Awards.

Published
Cinema
3 min read
A still from <i>Minari.</i>
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Minari, the Korean language film produced by Christina Oh and Plan B Entertainment (co-founded by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston), has pinned yet another feather in its cap. The winner of the 78th Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film had already won big at Sundance last year having bagged both the US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the US Dramatic Audience Award. The film is written and directed by Korean-American filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung.

A24 films, which is distributing the film, best summarises Minari with these words: “A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.”

A still from <i>Minari.</i>
A still from Minari.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Few know that the film could have missed its chance at the Golden Globes. Believe it or not Lee Isaac Chung had initially thought of making Minari in English so that it would find a producer. In an interview to CNN, Chung says that though he wanted to tell the story in Korean, he was apprehensive if he could find a producer for a Korean language film, by someone totally unknown with a story that didn’t exactly have the trappings of a commercial film.

However, Chung found the ideal producer in Christina Oh (also Korean-American) who insisted that they make the film in Korean and backed him all the way.

When Minari was announced as the winner of the best film in the Foreign Language category at the Golden Globe Awards, director Chung’s daughter jumped into his arms shouting “I prayed! I prayed!”. In his acceptance speech, Chung remarked that his daughter was the reason why he made the film before going on to talk about the real language of Minari.

"I just want to say that Minari is about a family, it's about a family trying to learn how to speak a language of its own. it goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart. And I'm trying to learn it myself and pass it on. And I hope we'll all learn how to speak this language of love to each other, especially this year," said Chung.

While since its in Korean, Minari became eligible for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Golden Globes, the same film could not compete in the Best Picture category because of the eligibility criteria that requires more than 50% of the film to be in English. While this raised questions about discrimination surrounding the awards, the film does not face any such restrictions at the Academy Awards.

Unlike last year’s big winner Parasite directed by Bong Joon-ho, Minari is fully American film in terms of production.

For now, we leave you with Lee Isaac Chung’s interview recorded after his win at the Golden Globes. His little daughter once again stole show.

You can watch the trailer of Minari here:

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