Sunday, April 27, 2008

Terminal USA response

I found both JJ Chinois and Terminal USA really creepy. I’ve never been able to appreciate or understand art so I was very confused by both videos. Watching both videos put me in a very weird, surreal mood that made me just want to go home and hug my parents. I cant believe that Terminal USA was made for PBS because I have always associated PBS with Sesame Street and stimulating intellectual documentaries. The amount of blood and sex in the movie made me cringe and I found myself unable to watch some of the gory parts. I did not laugh or crack a smile once, even though I guess this movie was supposed to be funny. Overall, it was very hard for me to watch the videos and I have no idea what the messages were in the movies. The one thing that I did take away from the videos was that Asian-American filmmakers can be creative and “artsy” like anyone else and that they are able to leave the conservative, boring stereotype. I do appreciate that these filmmakers were not afraid to address stereotypes and willing to shock audiences.

I found some symbolism in Terminal USA pretty interesting. The grandfather lying on a pillow of the Japanese flag seemed to symbolize him as the family’s Japanese background and their neglect and mistreatment of him seemed to reflect their dismissal of their heritage. Maybe the father wanted to kill the grandfather because he resents his Asian background and the trouble it gets him at work. I also found it interesting that the drug addict son was able to get himself a hot, Caucasian girlfriend who, of course, had to end up being an alien because a normal Caucasian girl probably wouldn’t go for him. There were also many cowboy outfits and actions in the movie that seemed to reflect the families’ desire to be westernized. I think Jon Moritsugu created a film that portrayed exactly what he wanted to show the audiences. He covered almost all the Asian stereotypes (Asian-male impotency, Asian-women fetishes, studious sons, promiscuous daughters, and so on) in a crass but memorable manner that probably warranted the exact response that he wanted.

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