Win By ‘Minari’ At The Golden Globes Raises Question: What Is An ‘American’ Film?
The acclaimed drama, Minari, won in the category “Best Motion Picture: Foreign Language” at the Golden Globes on Sunday against La Llorona, Another Round, Two of Us and The Life Ahead.
Writer and director Lee Isaac Chung accepted the award with his daughter on his lap, thanking his cast as he did so. He said the film is inspired by his own life experiences.
“Minari is about a family. It’s a family trying to learn how to speak a language of its own,” he said. “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 to pass it on. I hope we all learn how to speak this language of love to each other, especially this year.”
He added, “When people are feeling a desire to contact their family members after watching this film that’s what I hoped for.”
The film follows a Korean-American immigrant family who lives in rural Arkansas in the 1980s. The overarching theme of the movie is continuing to believe in the American dream, no matter the obstacles. The film starred Steven Yeun, Yeri Han and Yuh-Jung Youn, receiving critical praise since it was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
The film’s Golden Globes nomination came with a lot of controversy before the award ceremony. Minari was expected to be competitive in the Best Drama category, but ended up not being nominated for any domestic awards because more than 50% of spoken language in the film is not English.
This detail sparked a conversation about the fact that Minari‘s country of origin was listed as the “USA.” Members of the film community said that Minari‘s story is ultimately as American as it can get, with the idea of the American dream at the forefront.
“I have not seen a more American film than #Minari this year,” tweeted filmmaker Lulu Wang. “It’s a story about an immigrant family, In America, pursuing the American dream. We really need to change these antiquated rules that characterize American as only English-speaking.”
I have not seen a more American film than #Minari this year. It’s a story about an immigrant family, IN America, pursuing the American dream. We really need to change these antiquated rules that characterizes American as only English-speaking. https://t.co/1NZbkJFE9v
— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) December 23, 2020