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The Arts Desk’s weekly picks for movies, books, music and television shows
Movie: “Parasite” directed by Bong Joon Ho
Earlier this month, while accepting the Golden Globe for Director of a Motion Picture, South Korean director Bong Joon Ho said, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” “Parasite” is one of those amazing films. A true ensemble piece, the thriller and drama “Parasite” tackles class inequality in Seoul, South Korea. The film follows the semi-basement dwelling Kim family as they exploit different “tricks of privilege” to infiltrate the affluent Park family. Although his other movies “Okja” and “Snowpiercer” were filled with twists, Bong Joon Ho keeps viewers on the edge of their seats by meticulously building to jaw-dropping moments in “Parasite.” It was during the second viewing of the film that I could appreciate the humor and some of the more subtle elements, like how the score carries the film and the importance of intimacy and closeness.
Book: “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
Out of the many books I read over Winter Break, this one was my favorite — the kind of book you finish by lamplight because you just can’t put it down. Owens’ novel follows Kya at two different points in her life while living in the marshlands of North Carolina. The first timeline is young Kya’s unique coming-of-age story, growing up as the Barkley Cove “Swampgirl.” After being abandoned by her family to survive on her own in the 1950s and 1960s, she is befriended by a young Tate Walker and the elderly couple Jumpin’ and Mabel. The second timeline follows the murder investigation of Barkley Cove’s golden boy: Chase Andrews. The two timelines eventually intertwine, making this novel a romance, murder mystery and love letter to the marshlands all in one.
Album: “HOMECOMING: THE LIVE ALBUM” by Beyoncé
This 40-track album of Beyoncé’s showstopping two-hour 2018 Coachella set can be best described as powerful. “Homecoming” is a homage to the traditions of Historically Black Universities and Colleges and a celebration of black culture. Beyoncé is an unparalleled performer and artist. The album showcases the best of her catalogue; she brought her older songs back to life with new maturity and depth. Standouts include “Diva,” “Drunk in Love,” “Bug a Boo Roll Call – Interlude” and the three-song sequence that reunited Beyoncé with her Destiny’s Child groupmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
Television: “Fleabag” (Amazon Prime)
I’ll admit it. I only watched this show because President Obama put it on his best shows of 2019 list, and I now know that I should have watched it when my roommate recommended it to me three years ago. I also know now that Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a genius. Both the creator and the title character of the show (yes, Fleabag is her name), Waller-Bridge expertly breaks the fourth wall, seamlessly inviting the audience into her thought process as she deals with a Type-A sister, the death of both her mother and best friend, the plights of dating and managing a guinea-pig themed restaurant. Olivia Coleman as Godmother and Andrew Scott as Priest round out the cast. This series only has two seasons and is very bingeable — each episode is less than 30 minutes.
Written by: Liz Jacobson — firstname.lastname@example.org