LOS ANGELES — In a year that's tested the resilience of the world, it’s perhaps fitting that a film named for a little resilient Korean herb — said to be able to grow anywhere — is getting so much attention.
That film is the Golden Globe winner, Minari.
Minari is about a Korean-American immigrant family that moves to a rural farm in Arkansas in the 1980s. Despite the obstacles they face, they maintain faith in the American dream. Director Lee Isaac Chung explained that he loves people’s gut reaction to seeing the film.
“When people are feeling a desire to contact their family members after watching this film that’s what I hoped for,” he said.
For Chung, family is what it’s all about. He accepted his Golden Globe for a movie inspired partly by his own life with his daughter on his lap. While the film won it its category, best motion picture, foreign language, there was a lot of talk leading up to the show that the movie was snubbed by not getting nominated in any domestic categories.
It didn’t qualify because more than half of the film isn’t spoken in English — even though it was an American production, shot domestically, and written and directed by Chung, who is American.
The controversy around the film reignited the broader conversation about race in America and a call for the reevaluation of Golden Globe rules. This was further heightened when an LA Times investigation highlighted a lack of diversity among the Globes voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Diversity, or lack there of, turned out to be a running conversation throughout Sunday night's award show.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association promised it would work immediately to make its group more inclusive. Meanwhile, the message behind and Asian-American story behind Minari is reaching new audiences, thanks to its award season attention, its likeable cast of potentially breakout stars, and it’s availability on streaming platforms.
“Minari is about a family. A family trying to speak a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language or any foreign language , it’s the language of the heart. I’m trying to learn it myself and pass it along. I hope we can all learn how to speak this language of love to each other, especially this year,” said Chung.
In a year of divisiveness, hostility, loss and heartache, Chung hopes we can have faith, like the family in the film pulling through the hard times.