Sunday, February 10, 2008

Broken Blossoms, a.k.a. the Chink and the Child

To start off, I looked up the movie and found that there were several other titles of the movie, "the Chink and the Child" being one of them. As a first-time viewer of a silent film I realized that there is a beauty in such films that is absent in today's action- and graphics- riddled flicks meant for mindless entertainment. It forces one to pay attention to the acting and the real message the film is trying to convey, which in this case I have to admit is a little bit mixed. While on the surface Broken Blossoms seems to be a story of acceptance of "different" people, the film to me turned it into somewhat of a Romeo and Juliet story that's been played out time and time again. Taking the story back to its time in history however, I can see how revolutionary and controversial it must have been. For this reason, I see why Griffith had to paint the picture of a "kind and benevolent" Chinese man. It is only with the foil between the "yellow man" and Lucy's abusive father that the audience would have been able to justify an interracial relationship that was frowned upon and even forbidden at the time. Had Lucy been from a caring family, I can see how the Chinese monk could have quickly turned into a villain in the movie. It is only with his rescue of Lucy that made the forbidden relationship a bit more acceptable in the audience's eyes. To me, the film was conveying the message that all foreigners are not evil, and that they are often kind people who are also capable of falling in love. This is not to be confused with the message that they are to be considered equals, which many films are attempting to achieve today. For this reason I think that Broken Blossoms, while not flawless in its portrayal of an interracial relationship, took great strides in the path of tolerance with which we still struggle today.

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