Parasite’s success spikes sales at Chapter for International films

Chapter sees higher pre-sales as ‘Parasite’ wins awards. Will this win over the ‘subtitles sceptics’?

Parasite a critical success. Source: YouTube.

Cardiff’s Chapter sees an unusual rise in pre-sales for the Korean dark comedy ‘Parasite’ after it won the title for ‘Best Picture’ at the Oscars.

Chapter is already an established venue that is screening International films, however, the interest for the Oscar-winning piece has recently spiked. The movie has stirred the film industry and has become one of the most highly regarded films of the year.

“There’s a wealth of brilliant foreign cinema out there that doesn’t get the UK release it deserves,” said Rosie John, Marketing Officer at Chapter “it would be great if the success of Parasite prompted more people to overlook the ‘two-inch barrier’ of subtitles (as Bong Joon Ho put it).”

Audience’s willingness to look past this ‘barrier’ is perhaps evident, as it has to date grossed $1.8m over its debut weekend. It has become the highest-grossing foreign-language film of all time in the UK.

Parasite FaqSource: IMDB

“We’ve seen much higher than usual pre-sales for Parasite, this is unusual not only for a foreign film but for film sales in general,” said Rosie. The movie has gained rave reviews from critics and is an audience favourite.  

At the 92nd Academy Awards, the South Korean dark comedy won 4 awards, including ‘Best International Feature Film’, ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Achievement in Directing’ and ‘Best Original Screenplay’. It has also swept the BAFTA Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, among others.

Rosie hopes that this will increase a demand for more international films to be showcased in Cardiff: “I certainly hope so! our audience love foreign film and their interest is not based solely on award season hype; it’s sustained.”

One who highly regards this film is Tom Barron, a BA (Hons) Film student at the University of South Wales (USW). He praised the films cinematography, production design and storyline. “The film is good at playing with your emotions. The story itself is better than most.”

Critical Response
Source: Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic & IMDB

Studying for his film degree at USW, he is exposed to a lot of non-English films with subtitles. “I have watched foreign films a lot. They are more immersive than a Marvel film

“With foreign films, you have to read more into it,” said Tom, “You have to be an active spectator, in order to follow them properly.”

Tom Barron, a film buff who hopes that the younger generation will watch more non-English speaking films as they carry their own individual cultures.

“With foreign films, you have to read more into it,” said Tom, “You have to be an active spectator, in order to follow them properly.”

Watching a film with subtitles might require more cognitive work, however, Tom believes, it is a better alternative to dubbing.

“If Parasite was not in Korean, it would have lost its emotion and its authenticity,” said Tom.

Tom Barron’s top tip for discovering international films; have a browse at HMV’s World Cinema selection.

The director himself Bong Joon-ho is an advocate for this, who used his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes to encourage the audience to explore foreign films, so they could be “introduced to so many more amazing films.”   

For distributors such as Netflix, BBC, All 4 have broadened their non-English speaking content. With hit series such as the German ‘Dark’ (2017), Mexican ‘Roma’ (2018), Nordic Noir shows such as ‘The Killing’ (2011), ‘The Bridge’ (2011) or the French ‘The Bureau’ (2015). They have increasingly popularised non-English speaking entertainment.

Yet, Tom thinks there is still some stigma against non-English speaking films. “I like to think that people will watch more subtitled films, but there will always be people who will be stuck in their ways.”

Directed by Bong Joon-Ho, the satirical film narrates the story of a lower-income family, who is scheming their way into a wealthy household. Hoping to get the old household staff sacked, they learn that there is a much darker secret at bay.

‘Parasite’ is currently showing at Cineworld Cinema Cardiff and is due to premiere at Chapter on the 21st of February. Pre-booking tickets are now available.

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