Monday, June 14, 2010

Multiculturalism in Film...or lackthereof

I noticed while watching The Good Guy today how many movies I have, yet I can only count on my fingers how many have leading roles from a non-white. Typically our blockbuster movies have an all-white cast, sometimes with a supporting role for a "minority," who is often for comedic effect. Then on the opposite end, there are the all-black films, sometimes with a white supporting character for all of them to make fun of (case in point: the American version of Death at a Funeral).

Even Asians and Asian-Americans don't get respect in Hollywood. When Gene Luen Yang saw the casting for The Last Airbender, he immediately decided not to see it....why? The actors are white instead of Asian. This happens a lot in Eastern-cultured films, where a Chinese person (in looks and locale) will be played by an actor with no Asian descent. The Last Airbender is supposed to celebrate the ancient traditions and mythologies of ancient Japan, but rather it makes them whitewashed. Dragonball Evolution did the same. Even though I enjoyed the movie for some reason and find Josh Chatwin a talented, engaging actor, the movie took the main character and whitewashed him for some reason.

It's not just Asian; it's all minorities. Look at the treatment of Storm throughout the X-Men films: first one...African accent; second...poised and crisp but no accent; third...casual and no accent at all. What happened to Storm's African roots? They disappeared that quickly?

I thought films were supposed to be ahead of the game and revolutionary; instead we see them segregating and reinforcing stereotypes. At least we have great roles for women now: ranging from Sarah Connor to Little Women to The Hours.

What movies made in your country do you own that have a "minority" lead role? Is the minority character whitewashed?

19 comments:

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    ReplyDelete