By Deputy Editor Thea Lim Is it a new trend in trailers to highlight comic…
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:
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.
by Guest Contributor J Chang, originally published at Init_MovingPictures While it’s still relatively new news,…
By Guest Contributor Nicole Stamp, originally published at [pageslap]
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.
By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
Also posted at Arturo Vs. The World
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.
by Guest Contributor Jehanzeb Dar, originally published at Muslim Reverie
If you’re having trouble trying to figure out what’s wrong with this newly revealed poster for Disney’s upcoming film, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” it may help if I pointed out that the title character is played by Jake Gyllenhaal. In other words, the prince of Persia is not played by a Persian/Iranian. Big surprise, huh?
Why is this a big deal? Well, considering that negative perceptions of Middle-Easterners and/or Muslims have increased since 9/11 (and haven’t gotten better according to statistics and civil rights incidents reported by CAIR), a relatively anticipated film like “Prince of Persia” would seem like the perfect opportunity to help break stereotypes and misconceptions about Middle-Easterners. The film is based on a very popular video game of the same title, which allows you to play the role of a Persian prince who has to save his kingdom (or world) from a time-altered reality. I remember playing the game when it was released in 2003 and even though it’s filled with Orientalist stereotypes, I always felt the story and character depictions could be tweaked into a mainstream film with serious potential (and by that, I mean a film with an actual story, real character development, and appreciation for the culture it intends to represent).
Unfortunately, Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t the only White actor playing a Middle-Eastern character. Gemma Arterton, who plays Tamina, the film’s version of Farah, an Indian character from the video game, is also White. Ben Kingsley is also cast as a Persian character, and while he is of half-Indian descent, many Iranians recall how poorly he played an Iranian father in “House of Sand and Fog.” The best part (sarcasm) is that Alfred Molina will play a Persian again after his abusive and oppressive Iranian husband role in the 1991 propaganda film, “Not Without My Daughter”! As a user on IMDB commented: “Tamina = Indian / Gemma Arterton= White; What the hell is going on?”
By Guest Contributor Monica, originally published at TransGriot
Racialicious Note: This post from TransGriot is from mid-June, so this festival has passed. But we thought this great list of African American LGBTQ films was worth posting anyway.
TransGriot Note: Received this interesting e-mail from the Maysles Institute in NYC about a TBLG film retrospective slated to kick off on Juneteenth (June 19) at the Maysles Cinema.
With arguments often eerily reminiscent of old rationales for black oppression, gays and lesbians remain openly, legally and even, ‘righteously’, discriminated against.
For LGBT people of all races, knowing ourselves, making our extraordinary history known to others, much as with blacks, becomes a key component to liberation. If LGBT heritage remains often obscured and belittled, achievements of African American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, are less well known still.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the film festival, Homo-Harlem: A Film Retrospective, Friday, June 19th-Saturday, June 27th, cosponsored by the Maysles Cinema at 343 Malcolm X Boulevard with Men of All Colors Together, seeks to help to remedy this lack of recognition.
Through a series of coordinated screenings, critical discussions and walking tours, Homo-Harlem for the first time officially brings Stonewall observations uptown to focus on and honor, figures as diverse as poets Audre Lorde and Langston Hughes, social justice activist Bayard Rustin, composer Billy Strayhorn, photographer Marvin Smith and living legend Storme DeLarverie, whose courageous stand at the Stonewall Bar, 40 years ago, literally helped set in motion the entire Gay Pride Movement.
We LGBT people have always been busy making Harlem better, as one resident reported in 1928, “Never no wells of loneliness in Harlem…” Space is limited for this exhilarating experience, so be sure to make a reservation in advance and get ready to be enlightened, to be amazed and to party hard!
Homo-Harlem Curator and Author Michael Henry Adams
Please direct all press and requests for reservations to email@example.com
Homo Harlem: A Film Retrospective
$10 Suggested Donation For All Screenings
Friday, June 19th
Opening Night at the Museum of the City of New York
(1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St, Enter at 104th St)
6:00pm Cocktail Reception
7:00pm Discussion: Kirk Shannon-Butts, Michael Henry Adams
Blueprint (Short Preview)
Kirk Shannon-Butts, 2008
Harlem shot and set, Blueprint is the story of Keith and Nathan – two New York City college freshmen trying to make a connection.
By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
For perspective’s sake, let me start with a confession: Tropic Thunder made me laugh aloud several times, even after the misgivings I had about Kirk Lazarus. The Alpa Chino twist in the village was brilliant, even if the villagers were written like something out of an Oliver Stone wet dream. And I regularly laugh as much as I grimace at South Park and Family Guy, neither of which is exactly friendly to … well, anybody. So I’m not opposed to “lowbrow” humor.
What I cannot abide is brainless humor. And so, when I tell you that The Hangover is celluloid excrement, I don’t say it lightly. I refuse to believe that it’s “just me.” But I’m telling you, R readers: this isn’t a comedy, or even a film. I’m now halfway convinced it’s proof those cheeky Hulu “alien plot” commercials are really taunting messages of truth from our secret alien overlords. Sure, you might say, “just turn your brain off, it’s a movie,” but don’t you need a working brain to enjoy any movie?
Ostensibly a Las Vegas travel ad masquerading as a bro-mantic comedy, the root of the problem is one common to a lot of modern comedies: we’re dealing not with characters, but anthropomorphic third-rate comedic tropes – Phil the Player (Bradley Cooper), Alan the Weirdo (Zack Galifanakis) and Stuart the Wuss (Ed Helms). Coding them as such is believable when you start a film, but there’s barely a hint of personal development, let alone the “growing up” moments that usually permeate these types of films. Read the Post More White Men Behaving Badly: A ‘Brain-On’ Look At The Hangover