Monday, April 28, 2008

Terminal, USA & JJ Chinois

After watching JJ Chinois and Terminal, USA, I was as weirded out as everyone else who posted before me was. I actually had absolutely no idea what went on in JJ Chinois until I did more research on his (her) character. Completely ignoring the fact that the video was incoherent to me, watching it did get me thinking "who would watch something like this?" The same question I think also applied to Terminal, USA. Who is the audience for these types of media, and perhaps more importantly, what is the filmmaker trying to say through the films?

After reading various articles and websites on the character Lynne Chan portrays, I can see some how her character is a commentary on many things, including Asian American identity, transgender identity, as well as suburban vs. urban environments and attitudes towards the former. Many people on the blog commented on Chan's use of Bruce Lee clips and images of herself to sexualize the Asian American male body, as well as to mainstream the image of a transgender person, specifically an Asian transgender individual. However, what end is she attempting to achieve through this short clip? In all of the articles and research that I read about JJ Chinois, it never came across clearly what her intentions are. Specifically regarding Asian American identity, I felt like she used her ethnic connection to Bruce Lee to push her portrayal of transgenders in the media.

I found Terminal, USA extremely interesting and coherent, as opposed to JJ Chinois. While I was completely weirded out while watching the movie, in retrospect I see that it was able to critique the concept of a perfect nuclear family and the concept of the Asian model minority through its absurdness. While the movie took the breakdown of these ideas to the extreme, it also showed viewers that there is no such thing as a perfect nuclear family or a true model minority. Ignoring the absurdity of the sons and daughters of the family being either crazy druggies, sluts, or closeted fetish homosexuals, the very process of growing up as a teenager is riddled with change and experimentation, very much in contrast to the static image of perfection that both the nuclear family and model minority ideal tend to portray.

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