Tag Archives: films

Open Thread: The Princess and the Frog

by Latoya Peterson


Nadra and Andrea are still working on their response/conversation about the Princess & the Frog, but we have received requests for a conversation.  Consider this open thread a place holder.

Some things of note:

  • Jeff Yang and I had a long (think two hours) conversation about the Princess and the Frog, the nature of Princess, media versus non black media, and all kinds of other topics.  A few snippets of the discussion made it into Jeff’s Asian Pop column for the San Francisco Chronicle.  But what stood out to Jeff the most upon viewing the film wasn’t racial politics.  It was conservatism, which he writes about a bit on his blog:
  • During the five-year runup to the movie’s ultimate release, conservative critics have regularly lambasted the project as an exercise in political correctness and knee-jerk, quota-driven multiculturalism. Well, the film’s here—and as much as I enjoyed watching it, I have a sneaking suspicion that far from being rejected by the Right, the movie’s going to end up as a GOP cause celebre.

    I don’t want to give away any spoilers, because this is a film that really should be watched through eyes sparkling with innocent wonder. But the way the movie’s key themes and plot points map out to Republican talking points is really pretty stunning.
  • Tiana is a bootstrapping entrepreneur who refuses to ask for charity, preferring to work two jobs to make her small-business dreams come true.
  • She castigates those who rely on others for welfare, and only changes her ruggedly individualist outlook when she’s pointedly reminded of the importance of having a family—and finding a suitable partner in life.
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    District 9 is racist [Alternate Perspective]

    By Guest Contributor Nicole Stamp, originally published at [pageslap]

    distric 9

    Saw District 9 tonight, the alien movie by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson. I thought it was appallingly racist; here’s why. (Spoilers ahead.)

    Basically, 20 years ago, a million crustacean-like space aliens arrived in Johannesberg. They’re forced to live in a horrible slum called District 9, and now the human citizens want them gone, so they’re about to be evicted from their slum and relocated to a concentration camp outside the city.

    If you look at the film as an apartheid allegory, it has problems right off the bat. The aliens are loathsome, trash-eating vermin who fight endlessly, destroy property for no reason, and piss on their own homes, which isn’t a truthful or flattering allegorical comparison for actual black South Africans under apartheid. Apartheid is terrible because humans were denied rights. The “apartheid” of these aliens isn’t that terrible – it’s kind of justifiable, because they’re actually dangerous, violent and destructive. I think it would be a better allegory, and a more sophisticated movie, if the aliens weren’t unpleasant. If they were peaceful and kind, but the humans still demonized them, the film would be much more chilling; the horror would be “man’s inhumanity to lobster-man”, not “eew gross they eat pig heads!”

    But to my knowledge, District 9 does not explicitly present itself as an apartheid allegory, and changing the nature of the aliens basically makes it a different movie, so I’m gonna give it a pass in this post (although I’m very open to hearing other people’s thoughts about the allegorical angle). I think the choice to make the aliens disgusting was mostly artistic license, designed to make the film’s tone and visuals more gritty and scary, rather than any attempt to actually be representative of black people oppressed by apartheid. So that wasn’t my problem with this film.

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    Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy: A Look At District 9

    By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
    Also posted at
    Arturo Vs. The World

    district9 1

    The much ballyhooed District 9 succeeds at one thing – it leaves you with questions. The problem is, not all of them are of the good kind.

    The film’s conceit – sticking a million-plus misplaced extraterrestrials in the middle of Johannesburg – is promising. But from there, the story is built on a series of cheats, the biggest one being the rather loud absence of the word that, like it or not, comes to mind once you set the story in South Africa: Apartheid.

    *SPOILERS AHEAD*

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    Series Introduction: Globalization – Of Bond and Global Politics

    by Guest Contributor Ansel, originally published at Mediahacker

    Editor’s Note: I watched the Quantum of Solace the weekend it opened. This is not unusual for me, as I watch all the Bond films and like them all for different reasons. However, I wasn’t planning to write specifically on Bond until longtime reader Ansel (now of the Mediahacker blog) sent his review of the film for consideration. I enjoyed the review, especially as it touched on a matter of great importance in our current times: the effect of globalization on communities of color. And so, I am using Ansel’s review as a jumping off point for larger discussions about global politics and policy, now found using the “globalization” tab. The first of the series will go live tomorrow – until then, enjoy. – LDP

    *Spoiler Alert*

    James Bond, 007. For decades the British super-spy’s name stood for deadly charisma, over-the-top international espionage, and fancy gadgets – until the series took a more realist approach two years ago when actor Daniel Craig took over the role from Pierce Brosnan. The critics hailed Craig’s turn in “Casino Royale” for his icy cool and the physical presence he brought to new, grittier action sequences. This was finally a Bond for the new century, they said.

    From an anti-kyriarchy point-of-view, I think Quantum of Solace better fits that description. Casino Royale’s plot was based on Ian Fleming’s original Bond novel about a corrupt financial magnate. The story took place mostly in Europe and turned on a high-stakes poker match played by ultra-rich elites.

    With Solace, all the familiar elements are still there – the frenetic action, expensive cars, the constant tension between Bond and M, his boss at MI6, played by Judi Dench. As in every other Bond movie, most women in the film look like supermodels and are used or controlled by men, whether by force or by Bond’s charm. He sleeps with one of them in this movie, slightly down from absurd average of 2.5 women per film.

    But James Bond fighting to protect the water supply for impoverished indigenous Bolivian villages? From a wealthy villain who poses as the head of an eco-friendly company called “Greene Planet” and conspires with U.S. intelligence to overthrow a leftist president? Now there’s something new and timely. Continue reading