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#50- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

#100- Black Swan

#200- Mysteries of Lisbon

Last- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Slanted Screen

The Slanted Screen (2006)
Director: Jeff Adachi
Contributers include: Mako, Phillip Rhee, Jason Scott Lee

Synopsis (by MOster):
Basic documentary about the hard time which Asian men (specifically men) have in getting mainstream acting roles.  Talking heads and archival footage are used in the regular way, and a narrator (which IMDB says is Daniel Dae Kim, but who is actually someone named Rowena) bridges the gaps.

i was expecting a history of asians in film and the impact of asian cinema on the american mainstream. instead i got respected asian actors telling their stories of discrimination in the mainstream. they had some good points, but they also failed to show the positive aspects some asians had in american cinema. yes, there is a lot of terrible stereotyping of asians in the film industry, and yes, there are very few if any asian romantic leads in contemporary movies. however, in my opinion, there is an incredible amount of asian influence in american movies. they strive for the awesomeness that asian movies contain. there was no mention of any asian american women of any sort, and there was also no mention of successful asian actors people like chow yun- fat, or jet li, or jackie chan, or even michelle yeoh. correct these actors do martial arts movies, but there are also dramatic roles as well. is it because these asians are "real" asians and not asian americans? and what about ang lee? he's like the man. it was just too over the top whiny for me. what about noriyuki "pat" morita? was mr. miagi too stereotypical? he wasn't mentioned either. and he IS an asian american.....and totally awesome!!!!!

This was pretty weak.  Brought to you by (essentially) the NAAYFA, it conveyed a point which most people probably already know: There aren't a lot of (enough) Asian men in leading or romantic roles in major Hollywood pictures.

Starting much more strongly than it ended, the movie talked about an Asian man who had all sorts of big roles in the early days of film.  And then things went to shit, and people were stereotyped and marginalized and charicatured.

While a few of the interviewees buck the message by saying how they take stereotyped roles and make them more than the sum of their parts (and like to eat), most of the others focus on how they should be rejecting those sorts of things in favor of only the major parts.  We also get a few socioligists and historians to tell us about how it's important for children to see "people like them" on TV and in movies.

This is all mostly irrefutable and I don't mean to minimize the plight. But it's *mostly* irrefutable.
They show a photo of Jackie Chan; but they neither discuss nor interview him.  They have a clip of an early George Takei film but they don't talk about how Sulu was a positive Japanese character.  They don't mention Ang Lee or John Woo at all.  

It seems like the point of the movie was to push Asians into striving for bigger things in the movie industry; and that's certainly a noble goal.  But wouldn't it do more to forward the cause if we saw the successes too?

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