Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shanghai Kiss: The Cover of Shanghai Kiss Can Kiss My _ _ _!

Just a year ago, this independent flick featuring an Asian American actor trying to reconcile himself with his culture was released. Below is the imdb summary for this film:

“A struggling Chinese-American actor, who unwittingly finds himself involved with a high school girl, learns he has inherited his grandmother's home in Shanghai. The American-raised character moves to China in an attempt to connect with his ancestry, leaving behind quite possibly the only girl who has ever loved him.”

Though I never watched this film before, but I read enough about it and saw its trailer to know that, obviously, the central character to this film’s an Asian guy. I mean, I think that’s obvious for anyone. In addition to that, besides Hayden Panettiere, there are a decent number of supporting characters who are also Asian.

But the thing that gets me about this film is this—its cover. Why is the main character featured in the far background (with his face blurred in a side view motion shot) and a supporting character featured in the foreground (perfectly posed in a perfectly clear still image)? I mean who’s really the central character here? Read the summary. Look at the title.

Call me crazy, biased, or over-reacting, but I think all of you know the reason why, just as I do. Keep the scrawny, not too attractive, Asian guy in the back and keep the hot blonde Caucasian girl (who’s not even the main character) WAYYYYY up in the front.

If it’s not a Kung Fu film or a film with an Asian in a stereotypical role, what’s the point of seeing the film? Oh yeah, there’s Hayden Panettiere in it, that’s why! That should get the predominantly Caucasian audiences revved up in their seats. Cause who wants to see an Asian actor break pre-determined stereotypes? Who wants to see an Asian guy not do kung fu, fix a computer, be a gangster, or be a minor FOB character in an American movie? That’ll be insane!!!! It’ll be madness, I tell you, MADNESS!!!

Seriously, although this work, as a film, might be a step up for Asian portrayals in American cinema, its presentation just seems to be real step back for it. True, Hayden’s over-magnified presence on the cover will probably get more people to see it as opposed to having the main character over-magnified, but something really says “keep the Asian man down” about it. What say you?

1 comment:

The First Carol said...

I saw this film, searching for any positive portrayal of Asian/Caucasian couples in the entertainment media, NEVER realizing the strategy to promote it threw the Asian guy, the main character, into the background. Ugh. Now get your blog up-to-date.


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