Author Topic: Crazy Rich Asians  (Read 617 times)

oldkid

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Crazy Rich Asians
« on: September 02, 2018, 09:28:52 AM »
After hearing jdc's concerns about the reception of CRA in Singapore, it seems that this response was inevitable:

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/crazy-rich-asians-return-sham-east-asia-180829064300724.html
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Will

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2018, 01:09:41 AM »
I know this may be somewhat controversial to say, but whatever: this film isn't made for Singaporeans, it's made for Asian Americans - this is clear from everyone speaking English (rarely Chinese) and everyone having pretty noticeable westernized accents. There's problems, sure, but the praise is still warranted for a utilitarian good. This film was made Asian, but specifically Chinese, Americans in mind from the onset so the criticism feels a little pat, in my opinion.

One film can't be all things for all people. To expect that is naive.

Teproc

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2018, 02:26:20 AM »
Hm. I doubt you'd have the same approach towards something like Slumdog Millionaire if Indian people were to criticize it, for example. Making a film for a community means you get to represent other people in whichever way you please and don't they dare complain ? I think you can imagine how flawed that reasoning can be...
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oldkid

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2018, 09:35:36 AM »
If the non-Chinese Singaporians were represented as normal people walking down the street in the film, but the film just didn't focus on them, I think it would be fine.  But they are present, in non-speaking roles, in servant positions.  It would be better if they just weren't present.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, but I was uncomfortable with this flaw and the representation of the lone homosexual.  Everyone has partners, but not him.  Why not at least give him a date for the wedding?

This is no better or worse than most American romantic comedies, which doesn't excuse the misrepresentations. There is, of course, enough cultural tension for the film, which is well played, and it has a fine balance between romance and comedy.  I'm a sucker for romantic comedies in general, but these flaws did take away slightly from my enjoyment.
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jdc

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2018, 09:30:33 AM »
After hearing jdc's concerns about the reception of CRA in Singapore, it seems that this response was inevitable:

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/crazy-rich-asians-return-sham-east-asia-180829064300724.html

To be fair, I still haven't seen the film yet but it was a good article. So far, I have heard both positive and negative reaction and a few friends that have just shunned the film, maybe they think it will hit them personally.

As far as Will's comment, I not sure what to say yet. The book was written by a Singaporean, not an Asian-American though perhaps he more identifies that way (he won't likely return to Singapore since there are arrest warrants out for him for not full filling national duties).  Of course, the director's vision may be different.

Will try to catch it within the next week.
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oldkid

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2018, 12:24:22 AM »
I'm looking forward to your perspective.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Will

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2018, 04:39:30 AM »
Hm. I doubt you'd have the same approach towards something like Slumdog Millionaire if Indian people were to criticize it, for example. Making a film for a community means you get to represent other people in whichever way you please and don't they dare complain ? I think you can imagine how flawed that reasoning can be...

Slumdog Millionaire is an Indian film with Indian people in it. What's the comparison? It's lost on me. Are you talking about the director/writer? They're white - fine, I understand all criticisms Indian people would have against it - but the writer/director of Crazy Rich Asians are Chinese, making a film about Chinese people set in Singapore which is already mostly made up of Chinese people.

You can complain, but I just don't know why. It's like attacking a filmmaker for making a film about an all white community in Middle America (written/directed by white people) and complaining that the film didn't include Native Americans.

Teproc

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2018, 05:38:47 AM »
The director isn't Chinese, he's American. That's the key difference. It'd be like Damien Chazelle making a film about France, by which I mean it'd be perfectly fine, but it'd definitely be an outsider's point of view, even though he has French origins.

I haven't seen CRA (it hasnt made its way over here) so I really can't talk about what problems people might have with it, but your dismissal of their complaints as "it wasn't made for them" seems very wrong to me. I took the example of Slumdog Millionaire (which has an Indian co-director) because you might similarly say "it wasn't made for them" to Indians saying it's a poor representation of their county.
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jdc

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2018, 06:26:31 AM »
Hm. I doubt you'd have the same approach towards something like Slumdog Millionaire if Indian people were to criticize it, for example. Making a film for a community means you get to represent other people in whichever way you please and don't they dare complain ? I think you can imagine how flawed that reasoning can be...

Slumdog Millionaire is an Indian film with Indian people in it. What's the comparison? It's lost on me. Are you talking about the director/writer? They're white - fine, I understand all criticisms Indian people would have against it - but the writer/director of Crazy Rich Asians are Chinese, making a film about Chinese people set in Singapore which is already mostly made up of Chinese people.

You can complain, but I just don't know why. It's like attacking a filmmaker for making a film about an all white community in Middle America (written/directed by white people) and complaining that the film didn't include Native Americans.

A few random comments, the director while ethnically, is of Chinese descent (I believe), he probably doesn't really identify that way. I don't get asked in Singapore if I am white or caucasion, I get asked if I am American or Australian usually. Ask a Singaporean (of Chinese descent) if they are Chinese, you likely get a response of "I'm Singaporean" quite often as many may not like to be confused as a Chinese national.

The film, in general, has been well received here. Some of the netzine complaints have been that it doesn't really represent the average Singaporean that struggles to get by due to the cost of living and lack of any kind of safety net (no welfare, no min wage, etc). Also, it doesn't represent the population very well from what I heard. Native Americans are now a very low % of the population and not well represented in many areas of the country so quite normal that they wouldn't be represented in films all that often. (that is an unfortunate reality) Singapore is more diverse though the population doesn't really represent that in the film (ethnic Chinese (76.2% of the citizen population), Malays (15.0%), and ethnic Indians (7.4%) ).

That said, I had some local friends that watched it last Saturday that were quite skeptical about it. When I asked my friend that next day what he thought, he was silent for 5 seconds and struggled to say that he loved it and his wife almost cried. I couldn't join them as I had a music event already committed so still have yet to see it. I am hoping it will be on my next SG Air flight next week but may still be too early.

 
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“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

Will

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Re: Crazy Rich Asians
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2018, 07:26:51 PM »
The director isn't Chinese, he's American. That's the key difference. It'd be like Damien Chazelle making a film about France, by which I mean it'd be perfectly fine, but it'd definitely be an outsider's point of view, even though he has French origins.

I haven't seen CRA (it hasnt made its way over here) so I really can't talk about what problems people might have with it, but your dismissal of their complaints as "it wasn't made for them" seems very wrong to me. I took the example of Slumdog Millionaire (which has an Indian co-director) because you might similarly say "it wasn't made for them" to Indians saying it's a poor representation of their county.

I can't say who Slumdog Millionaire is made for because the author never deliberately stated who it was made for. Kevin Kwan - the author of Crazy Rich Asians - along with the producers, the marketing team, the director, and his cast have all said that the film is for Chinese Americans. The film itself centers around an Chinese American and her experience overseas in a land made up of Chinese people. That's a rather large difference and why I think the comparison is faulty.

But let's split hairs for a minute because I feel like I left one factor wide open - the difference between Slumdog Millionaire and Crazy Rich Asians lies within the narrative: Rachel is first generation. Jamal, in his story, is not. Crazy Rich Asians is a story about diaspora. Slumdog Millionaire is not. Kevin Kwan is a man who immigrated to the States. If Damien Chazelle were to make a film set in France, it would be expected that his life narrative would reflect as it did Kwan's - that he is a man of two different worlds, one American, one French. But comparing it even wider to Damien seems a bit off - Damien is white European, the dominant culture of the US whereas Kwan's Chinese roots are not. After all, Kwan immigrated here in his adulthood while Damien was born here. Kwan is of truly of two worlds whereas Chazelle just inherited one.