Thursday, December 08, 2016

Framing a story or whitewash?

I am reading a small kerfuffle discussing if putting Matt Damon into a story about the Great Wall is a whitewash, or just a good business decision, as the BBC suggests.

The BBCt article points out that casting Damon is not seen as a big problem in China;

Chinese fans, though, did not seem that fussed about Damon's role, instead praising the director Zhang Yimou for bringing "Chiese elements to a Western film".

 The article points out that this is a business decision:

Filmmakers are all looking to conquer the immense Chinese cinema market, which is on course to surpass the US as the world's largest. China's strict censorship laws, as well as rules to protect the domestic film industry, have prevented many Hollywood films from being released in the mainland, so US studios are increasingly co-producing films with Chinese investors in a bid to counter this.

and the article quotes from the Chinese Netcitizen site Weibo to suggest the Chinese are not having as much problem with Damon as the western PC:

Those who did talk about Damon said they liked him and were excited to watch him in the film. One netizen noted that the "influence of Matt Damon" could help the movie succeed, adding that it was a "positive factor".

Here in Asia, PC films are often subtle, but action movies mean you don't have to understand all the dialogue but can just watch the heroes kick tush. This includes films with subtitles.

A famous actor in a film will make more money.

And one of the rarely discussed and non PC items in Hollywood: Black actors are not as popular in Asia due to Asia Racism.

Asian values are self control and modesty, and then we see blacks in Hollywood movies and TV shows mainly as bad guys in action dramas (Hollywood Shuffle anyone?) or see angry and sexually explicit music videos, most of which are black, although Madonna and other white bimbos try their best to look like sluts too.

All of which reinforces the idea that black people are not quite "Civilized". Of course, China figures Europeans are not civilized either, but that's another story no one is noticing.

One question I haven't found answered and am too lazy to google Does Damon play a Chinese, a Mongol, a mixed race soldier, or a European who happens to be there and offers to fight?

that last part has to do with "Framing" the story.

There is another saying: The past is another country. And of course, China is another country. So how does one mediate the cultural gulf so that one can understand the story.

This is also a problem with ancient stories like Troy/the Iliad, where the movie portrays Achilles less savage than the book, and introduces a love interest.

In "Shogun", we have a European introduced to tell the story, as we will presumably have in the upcoming film "Silence".

And one reason that the Lord of the Rings was successful was because the hobbits represented normal middle class Englishmen in the midst of all these noble warriors, proud dwarves, and ethereal elves.

In historical fiction, you frame the story, and add mediators who think like modern people so that modern people can understand what is going on, and explain the cultural aspects so that you are not lost wondering why folks are doing such strange things.


Related item: there is a growing argument that a lot of the anger by "the deplorables" against the Mainstream media is because they (The MSM) do not understand the culture, nor do they try to try to understand it, but instead disdain and ridicule how ordinary people think and act.

Maybe the press needs to frame the story better? Or understand how Trump works?

 During the campaign, I saw a tweet saying: Hillary read Alinsky, but Trump read Sun Tzu.

And today, Austin Bay points out that his phone call to Taiwan reassured the rest of us living under the threat of Chinese aggression.

, Beijing and the rest of the world took notice when the Obama Administration failed to back up its Syrian "red line" threat and its feeble response to Russia's February 2014 invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
The Obama Administration appeared feckless and weak. In the summer of 2014, China increased its aggressive actions in the South China Sea. The smaller nations wondered if the U.S. would support them if China "Crimea-ed" their territory.
Trump's phone calls — as well as his campaign promises to pursue "fair" trade — tell China that the incoming administration understands both "art of the deal" and "Art of War."

ebook here

Or a film about Sun Tzu's philosophy:

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