hairylunch (hairylunch) wrote,
hairylunch
hairylunch

Lost in Translation

So I finally got around to watching Lost in Translation, which has been accused of being a racist movie. It wasn't really on my "to see" list, but whenever I go to rent a video, I feel like I should get two (they're only a dollar each) so I picked it up the last time I was at the rental place.

As for whether it's racist or not - I'd have to say it depends. Apparently it's supposed to be a comedy, and the scenes that many people complain about as being racist are the ones that are supposed to be funny (a call-girl with bad English, and an over the top talk show host). While I was watching it, I didn't find the movie particularly humorous - in fact I don't remember laughing, just an interestingly paced movie about being foreigners in an alien culture. Of course, my perspective is probably a bit different since my knowledge of Japanese culture, though limited, is probably a bit more than the typical American. Now, if you were watching the movie, thinking the scenes were meant to be humorous, I think then yes, it is racist. Instead I just saw them as vignettes, showing how different the Americans were, and just how different of a culture they were in.

The NYT article is interesting in that it presents the perspective that by not developing the Japanese characters, and instead emphasized their "otherness," the movie is racist. I'm not sure if this is a realistic argument or not. You don't watch movies to get educated about foreign cultures, you go for entertainment. I guess if you're enough of an idiot that watches a movie and thinks it's the gospel truth, then you're going to live in your ignorant bliss no matter what.

This commentary from NPR also presents an interesting view from a Japanese American perspective, pointing out how if you know Japanese and watch the film, it's quite different.
Subscribe

  • new digs

    I've moved to https://ernieseruditions.wordpress.com/! I've been on LiveJournal since the navel-gazing days of blogging, even paying for a…

  • Portland and Protests

    Truth is complicated. Memes and tweets serve as news for many today, and folks cherry pick their sources and the items they want to believe.…

  • Random Thoughts

    Lots of time to listen to podcasts and think/process these days . . . a few items that have been percolating in my brain ... Being a poet/imposter…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments