Cannes Palm d’Or winner ‘Parasite’ is a brutal look at social inequality

“Parasite” is a polished effort, tightly scripted with scenes seamlessly merging into one another, despite the occasional bit of overacting. (Supplied)
Updated 11 June 2019
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Cannes Palm d’Or winner ‘Parasite’ is a brutal look at social inequality

  • “Parasite” is Bong’s best work since “Memories of Murder,” “The Host” and “Okja”
  • It is a brutal portrait of class hierarchy and how it pushes people to turn to crime

CANNES: The Palm d’Or award at the recent Cannes Film Festival in France went to an Asian title for the second consecutive year.

While Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” won the honor in 2018, South Korean work “Parasite” by Bong Joon-ho clinched this year’s edition. Both movies touched on a similar theme — dysfunctional people driven to despair by inequality. Men and women come together in “Shoplifters” to form the loosest pretense of a family, in order to steal a living, but “Parasite” features a real family who try to better their lives by worming their way into a super-rich household.

A brutal portrait of class hierarchy and how it pushes people to turn to crime, “Parasite” is Bong’s best work since “Memories of Murder,” “The Host” and “Okja.” But the real beauty of this film is its ability to weave the story through an array of bumbling, almost comical, characters.

Family patriarch, Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), is brought to tears of laughter by the most mundane of his children’s achievements. “Does Oxford have a course in forgery?” he asks his daughter, Ki-Jung (Park So-dam), as she replicates a degree for her brother, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), before guffawing at his own levity.

When Ki-woo gets a chance to coach the daughter of a rich businessman, Park (Lee Sun-kyun), he leaves behind his struggling days of folding pizza boxes, and brings his sister, mother and father into the prosperous household with him. Ki-Jung begins to teach Park’s son, her mother becomes a maid and Ki-taek the chauffeur. The family’s days in a dark and damp apartment with a leaking roof are over. Or, so it appears, until a series of incidents lead to an unexpected climax.

“Parasite” is a polished effort, tightly scripted with scenes seamlessly merging into one another, despite the occasional bit of overacting. The movie might not match “Shoplifters,” but Bong’s effort is South Korea’s most impressive production in quite some time.


What happened to the Apollo goodwill moon rocks?

Updated 50 min 6 sec ago
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What happened to the Apollo goodwill moon rocks?

  • Some of the gifts have either gone missing, were stolen or destroyed over the decades

HOUSTON, Texas: US President Richard Nixon gave moon rocks collected by Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 astronauts to 135 countries around the world and the 50 US states as a token of American goodwill.
While some hold pride of place in museums and scientific institutions, many others are unaccounted for — they have either gone missing, were stolen or even destroyed over the decades.
The list below recounts the stories of some of the missing moon rocks and others that were lost and later found.
It is compiled from research done by Joseph Gutheinz Jr, a retired NASA special agent known as the “Moon Rock Hunter,” his students, and collectSPACE, a website which specializes in space history.

• Both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 moon rocks presented to perpetually war-wracked Afghanistan have vanished.

• One of the moon rocks destined for Cyprus was never delivered due to the July 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and the assassination of the US ambassador the following month.
It was given to NASA years later by the son of a US diplomat but has not been handed over to Cyprus.

Joseph Gutheinz, an attorney known as the "Moon Rock Hunter," displays meteorite fragments in his office on May 22, 2019 in Friendswood, Texas. (AFP / Loren Elliot)



• Honduras’s Apollo 17 moon rock was recovered by Gutheinz and Bob Cregger, a US Postal Service agent, in a 1998 undercover sting operation baptized “Operation Lunar Eclipse.”
It had been sold to a Florida businessman, Alan Rosen, for $50,000 by a Honduran army colonel. Rosen tried to sell the rock to Gutheinz for $5 million. It was seized and eventually returned to Honduras.

• Ireland’s Apollo 11 moon rock was on display in Dublin’s Dunsink Observatory, which was destroyed in a 1977 fire. Debris from the observatory — including the moon rock — ended up in the Finglas landfill.

• The Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 moon rocks given to then Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi have vanished.

• Malta’s Apollo 17 moon rock was stolen from a museum in May 2004. It has not been found.

• Nicaragua’s Apollo 17 moon rock was allegedly sold to someone in the Middle East for $5-10 million. Its Apollo 11 moon rock ended up with a Las Vegas casino owner, who displayed it for a time in his Moon Rock Cafe. Bob Stupak’s estate turned it over to NASA when he died. It has since been returned to Nicaragua.

• Romania’s Apollo 11 moon rock is on display in a museum in Bucharest. Romania’s Apollo 17 moon rock is believed to have been sold by the estate of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed along with his wife, Elena, on Christmas Day 1989.


Spain’s Apollo 17 moon rock is on display in Madrid’s Naval Museum after being donated by the family of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, who was assassinated by the Basque separatist group ETA in 1973.
Spain’s Apollo 11 moon rock is missing and is believed to be in the hands of the family of former dictator Francisco Franco.
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