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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

The Best Picture

FADE IN.


Act 1


INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY


Working before her computer, Peter's WIFE talks to PETER.


WIFE: We can watch the film Parasite this evening at 7:00 pm at Hollywood.


PETER (Nodding): Good. We meant to watch this year's best picture as inflight entertainment. But now, we've cancelled all our flights. Shall we take the MTR to the cinema?


WIFE: We'll drive as there's complimentary parking. We'll have dinner after that.


PETER: Okay.


WIFE: It appears that the show is half full. But I think we just buy tickets on the spot.


Peter nods.


EXT. ROADS - EVENING


Peter drives his wife in a coupe.


PETER (Looking at the dashboard): We're low on fuel. There's a filling station on route, I think we should fill up first.


Later, pulling out from a filling station, they see traffic congestion ahead.


PETER (Worrying): If we're late for the movie, we'll watch it another time. If we miss the opening image, we'll also miss the impact of the closing image.


His wife nods.


Later, the traffic eases off.


WIFE: I'll get off at the ground level to buy the tickets. You go and park the car in the basement car park.


She gets off after a while.


Act 2


INT. CINEMA - NIGHT


Quiet lobby. A masked Peter rejoins his masked wife.


WIFE: I've made a mistake. The cinema blocked off half of the seats so that the audience wouldn't sit close to each other. We're the very few who want to watch it.


They go inside one hall and see only two other souls.


PETER (V.O.): So exclusive...have we become "upper-class" parasites?


Screentime. Before the midpoint of the film, we hear a few giggles from Peter and his wife. After that, we see mounting tension on their facial expressions. As the film ends, they leave in no time.


INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT


WIFE: I don't like the storyline of the film. I was expecting the underdogs would collaborate rather than fighting against each other.


PETER: Yes, the conflicts generated among them seem unnecessary, and the solution to the conflicts doesn't have to be a string of killings.


WIFE: The genre of the film seems to have changed midway. I don't like that.


PETER: It's unconventional. It doesn't appeal to me either.


WIFE: It disseminates the wrong message. I'm of the view that the film has been over-rated... or the standard isn't high enough...


PETER: Or the competitors are also weak...While the film doesn't have any emotional or aesthetic appeal to us, others might perceive it differently. It has won a string of awards.


Pausing.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Is there anything wrong with us?


Act 3


INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY

Peter shows his wife his phone screen.


PETER: You see, the ratings by film critics of the film are all very high...


His wife responds with a dismissive look.


PETER (V.O.): That's understandable. The film doesn't inspire the audience to become better persons. It's at best an escape from reality itself, and at worst, an entrenchment of social conflicts. If the audience has a positive outlook on the social issues, it negatives that.


INT. STUDY - DAY


PETER (V.O.): Content and cinematography aside, I'm interested in the cast of the film. Apart from one male supporting actor, I don't know the other Korean actors and actresses.


Surfing the web, Peter sees a video clip: Parasite trailer. He watches it.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The greater part of the trailer are scenes before the midpoint of the film. They are Okay with me and my wife. What we didn't like was the change of genre after that.


Then, Peter sees another video clip icon.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The film Parasite Explained? Let me see what messages weren't communicated to me effectively...


Peter watches the video clip.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, those are the intended messages...Does the general audience have to watch another short film to understand the film?


Pausing.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But the controversial social messages can be stated in a few sentences... and if not, in a few paragraphs. Why produce a 2-hour audio-visual work to communicate the same? Isn't the drama primarily meant to entertain the audience?


Reflecting.


PETER (V.O) (Cont'd): To some, the film is said to be the manifestation of the power and rules of storytelling. But the film overall simply doesn't leave any resonating message in us - except our queries.


Pausing.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Perhaps, we're just too down-to-earth to the social issues, We broke through the poverty circle ourselves. We have struggled relentlessly and positively to climb the social stairs.


Pondering.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): We just can't bear the storyline not showing a positive way as to how one should live life despite adversities.


Pausing.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Perhaps, we're just too serious about it. It's just a film. Like other audio-visual works, it is something that people can go without. I know it all along.


Pausing.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For the authors and actors though, they must enjoy the creative and performing process, and the recognition by those in the trade encourages them further.


Reflecting.


PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For us, it was a good experience in watching the best picture during the coronavirus scare. And, I got my best picture to depict the scene too!


FADE OUT.


THE END






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