Tuesday, September 05, 2006
traveling friends, bloggers with deep thoughts
When I was in 9th grade Honors English class (my first year as a "giftie"), my teacher Mr. Spears would always have these quasi-philosophical things to say like "a piece of writing is never done until it's taken from you" or "writing is an art and a discipline". He was a harsh, strict teacher with some odd quirks, and as a cynical student, I never really appreciated him much... especially since all it took for me to drive him crazy enough to kick me out of the classroom was a combined choir of noise of snapping binders and clicking erasers, courtesy of myself and another conspirator, Doug Ferguson.
Now that I'm older, I can appreciate that I actually did learn a lot from him... not only how to improve my own writing, but how to appreciate other people's writing, especially via this wonderous medium that we call the 'Net AKA the World Wide Web.
Since lately my own inspiration has been dry, I've been doing a lot of reading of other people's stuff...
Asian American film
Has it progressed beyond the "Joy Luck Club"?
I'd like to think so, but in some ways, it seems that it has not... witness the vigorous debate over the movie "Red Doors" over at Mike2Cents Xanga and on the Fighting44s forum.
It's impossible to summarize the entire debate, but consider this: "Red Doors" is a film that claims to represent the Asian American experience and has asked for support from the Asian American community, but the story of the film revolves around a Chinese family's three daughters who... are involved in varying romatic relationships with WHITE MEN. Now one, I can understand... two, OK... but three?! Oh yeah, apparently the lone major Asian American male characer in the picture is the father of the three daughters, a recently retired man who is obsessed with suicide.
Sound suspect to you? Yeah, you're not the only one.
Unlike "Better Luck Tomorrow", "Saving Face" or "Americanese", I ain't supporting this one (read the Fighting44s debate for some good reasons, especially posts by Xian, toml, Scowl, and Seraph). Apparently, even at screenings, the director was unable to explain why her film reinforced the absence of Asian American men and their invisibleness even in "Asian American film". A quote from someone who attended a screening:
I encourage everyone else to NOT support this film... spread the word. The AA community deserves better than a decade more of "Joy Luck Club" rehashes and rip-offs of previous established master works like "Eat Drink Man Woman". Wait instead for showing of "The Motel", or "Shanghai Kiss". Save your support for them.
thanks for the link to my writing gar. i'm glad you like my oral history... even though i am a little bit embarrassed at my translation/ writing...
i wrote a really long comment in response to your post abt red doors, but decided i will respond on my blog instead. check it out okay?
amy>it's good stuff! no need to be embarassed at all... I feel privileged to read it, and at the same time, a bit convicted that I really need to do something similar for my own family's stories sometime in the future.
I'll be sure to check yer blog for your "Red Doors" commentary.
i agree with your choice to not support the film, but am disappointed at the tone and direction of the debate about the movie. the casting of white romantic leads is besides the point to me in that it obscures the fact that this is plainly a bad movie...and i think the firestorm around the movie is testament to that.Post a Comment
for example, if you look at "saving face", it had pretty much the same dearth of asian male leads(disregarding the obvious fact that that was not what the movie was about), but the movie was able to overcome that because it was just plainly well done which allowed you to be seduced by its charms and forget about politics.
"red doors" is just clunky and obvious, and badly made so that you dont have a chance to be seduced into the story of these rudimentary and paper-thin characters, and instead stay focused about whatever it is that bothers you, which in the case of many young aa males is the casting.
furthermore, and i dont know if this is a lack of history or what on many young asian american members of the community (which is sad and topic for another discussion altogether), is your point about this film being a rehash of other better made films, which is the main thing that irked me about this movie. watching this movie was like seeing 5 different movies smushed into one including:
"harold and maude"
"joy luck club"
"eat drink man woman"
go see those movies and you wont need to see "red doors"