Sunday, February 24, 2008

flower drum song. the entire time i was watching this movie, i was seriously conflicted because of a couple of things. for one, i was shocked/pleasantly surprised that a movie with an all asian-american cast like this one was possible in '61. i kept on waiting for the punch line or the yellow face or something to pop up so i can say, 'yeah, of course.' secondly, though produced in '61, this movie did portray a lot of... well, stereotypical images of asians/asian americans that this country can't seem to get enough of out of any culture. my deal was, here we have this semi-breakthrough film with asian actors portraying very asian, specifically chinese, themes. however, there were still many serious flaws with the way we were being portrayed... or were there?

i know that this movie got a lot of beef because it came out during the civil rights period when people had changing views of how to portray minorities in film in a way that was more legit. but still, this was pretty much a breakthrough for asian american film/art... plus, all these themes were portrayed by Asian Americans themselves... so here we have the first all-AAPI cast film displaying stereotypical images in their own way. is it a problem when asians are doing it? we know that the red flag goes up immediately if a white woman in yellow face starts singing chop suey but if an asian american woman does it, is it better? maybe even right? i'm having a hard time liking this movie but completely disliking it at the same time because i can only imagine how excited all the young asian children would have been watching this asian-american-sound-of-music pop up on the big screen. but still, even if it was a 'correctional' film trying to better represent the aapi community in san francisco, they couldve done a better job to resist showing hackneyed images to the white public, repeating them over and over in their head (chinese traditional stereotypes, etc etc). i dont know. i have to admit i enjoyed the film. it was funny and provocative at times, though idealistic and couldve used some work especially with the two "wetback" characters and ta's father.

i especially think it would be interesting to compare and contrast the characters of mei ling and linda in class.. also, i didnt get to talk about this in my post, but speaknig of asian american (especially female) representation for children in modern media, what about mulan? what about disney's mulan works or doesnt work in contrast with flower drum song?

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