Minari

Minari ★★★★

Such a great "return to cinemas" film because it reminds what has been missing from our lives so long and what can't be taken for granted in the future either. So damn funny in ways I didn't expect and I absolutely loved the pioneer spirit from Asian American perspective. Chung makes many tactical moves (notable is the absence of culturally colored conflicts between "us" and "them") in order to avoid the cliches of films about immigrants and make Minari a film about life and its dreams more universally. The ambiguous, "religious" nature of the film is also interesting with events and things that hint at something otherworldly or mysterious but never really come across as anything that could be objectively interpret as abnormal - those elements being at least the exorcism, literal snake in (minari) paradise, carrying of cross, Rohmerian "miracle" of the end... They are all shot without superfluous aura of mystery but their presence contains element of faith that separates them strongly from the everyday, they all have interesting interpretive potential because they present new potential paths to the story. Chung doesn't take those paths but instead focuses on the family dynamics that come across as real and strong (thanks to the great cast) even if one can't help but to feel that there are no new realizations to be found in the depiction of immigrant couple in pressures of starting the life they dreamed of. Nevertheless the film is very welcome addition to canon of Asian American stories.