Sawnet - Cinema - Reviews
I saw "Joy Luck Club" a
couple of weeks back. I had read about the "Chinese men - jerks", "White
Caucasian men - decent" portrayal in the movie that someone on SAWNET also
mentioned. Frankly though, I didn't feel that way. To me, the movie was about 4
Chinese *women* (and not about Chinese men, jerks or otherwise) who had suffered
in their youth, probably at the hands of Chinese men, BUT had emerged strong from
their experiences, strong and level-headed enough to give strength and guidance
to their daughters brought up in a much more liberal and free society. I feel
that seeing hidden/secondary agendas of portrayals of non-Caucasian men as jerks
is indulging in nit-picking or missing the big-picture. Since I am an outsider, I
sought the opinion of a Chinese friend in this regard. She also thought that the
portrayal of men in the movies was a non-issue. She said that she saw it more as
"some Chinese men are jerks", which is true anyway of any group of people. There
were, after all, some good Chinese men too. For instance, the second husbands of
the mothers, where applicable. I haven't read the book, if it's of any
I remember a somewhat similar reaction of outrage from many Indian men after
they saw "Mississippi Masala". Almost all Indian men portrayed in that movie were
shown to be socially inept, stupid, immature etc. However, I did not find that
offensive. I agree that being a woman, I'm still somewhat of an outsider as far
as the negatively portrayed group is concerned but I doubt if my feelings would
be any different if I were a male or if Indian women are shown to be braindead
(which, IMO, they routinely are in most mainstream Hindi movies ;-)).
Why should the portrayal of *some* characters be considered as representative
of a *whole* race/group? Is it our insecurity that leads us to be offended and
makes us protest? Or is it an overwhelming desire to be perceived (by an
outsider) as a perfect group with no problems, where everybody is nice and happy
and everything is hunky-dory?
-- Veena Gondhalekar
Not that I thought the movie 'Mississippi Masala' was realistic AT
there was one good line in the movie: (Two women taking about the
woman in the story) "You can be dark and rich, or you can be fair and
poor, but you can't be dark AND poor AND expect to get a guy like Raju
whatever the name of the rich, handsome Indian guy was).
-- Sonia Desai
Film description: Sarita Choudhury is part of a family who left Uganda during Idi Amin's purge,
and now live in Mississippi. She falls in love with Denzel Washington, who
is African-American, and their liason awakens all the subtle and explicit
racial feelings between the two groups.
Sarita sexy? -- Seetha Ramachandran in Asian Voices.
by Linda Lopez McAlister
scratches the surface of racial conflict. Review by Danny Su at
the MIT Tech.
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