Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Flower Drum Song

I was a sucker for Flower Drum Song; I loved it. Almost every aspect of the movie seemed to fall in sync with that strangely quaint feeling you get from watching a musical, whether it was Sammy's Sinatra-like demeanor, the youngest son's hip slang, or the musical numbers. Perhaps one of the reasons I was so engaged in this film, was that it chipped away at some of my preconceptions of Asian Americans before the 70's and 80's. I think in the first movie assigned, there was Victor Wong, who claimed he had to define his own meaning of Asian American since there wasn't such an idea back in the 50's. In Flower Drum Song however, that dichotic identity confusion is still represented by Wang Ta, but many of the San Francesco community seems to almost embrace the American way of life. The Asian American community, in this movie, was not as isolated from American culture (if at all) as Wong stated. For some, such as Auntie and Linda, the American way was actually almost dominant to Eastern tradition.

What is the moral? Or more accurately, was there supposed to be one? I was not sure what the significance of Wang Ta's "failure" to make decisions independent of his father meant. It is interesting how both father and son try and rebel against the conventions set out for them (with Master Wang humerously facing the consequences of not trusting the bank with his money and with his son's inability to set up his own marriage). Maybe it is not so much a statement about about which conventions are most fit in an Asian American community as it is about rebellion in general.

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