Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 03/17/21 (Extra)

The movie America needs. Minari, writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s heartfelt tribute to his immigrant parents and American values garnered an amazing six Oscar nominations earlier this week with nods for Best Picture, Best Director (Lee Isaac Chung), Best Actor (Steven Yeun), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Yuh-jung Youn), Best Original Screenplay (Lee Isaac Chung) and Best Original Score (Emile Mosseri). Even more astonishingly, the film, which already has won a Golden Globe (Best Picture – Foreign Language), has managed the bridge the seemingly ever-widening divide between coastal Academy voters and flyover-country Americans.
As I wrote in my review, Minari is “a compassionate and believable drama that – in an honest and realistic way – actually celebrates both America and faith (including a strong suggestion about the power of prayer)…People in rural parts of the country – used to being portrayed as lazy, ignorant, anti-immigrant yahoos by too many Hollywood films – will appreciate that they are refreshingly presented here as good, decent and welcoming people by writer-director Lee Isaac Chung who comes from a South Korean family and actually grew up on a farm in Lincoln, Arkansas.”
When I had the opportunity to speak with Chung about his thought process in creating the film, he said “I wanted to treat everybody equally as human beings with this project and not let anybody be caricatured. That was one of the governing principles when I was writing. I wanted to get to the humanness of everybody. I felt like there was enough that was going on in the world that felt negative – like the way that we’re talking to each other in this country. (With all) the different divisive issues…we’re not seeing each other as human beings. That’s why I felt reactive, in a way. I wanted this film to be different, to trust more in that idea that we’re all somehow very similar underneath everything. “
In that, he certainly has succeeded. This video captures the gentle spirit that the movie conveys and which our country could certainly use more of right now.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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