To a racist, any ground gained by “them” is ground lost by “us”
May 18, 2020 11:27 AM   Subscribe

"He faces prejudice, punches racists in the face, and faces hostility from local kung fu masters." Could there be a story that better embodies our collective experiences?
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:04 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Nice. Their previous video essay about the earlier Ip Man movies got me to finally watch them (and they're great) so looking forward to this one!
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:09 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

> "To a racist, any ground gained by 'them' is ground lost by 'us'"
I feel the same with racists, TBH. That was an interesting watch, thanks.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:16 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Ooh, I love a good video essay about movies, but this channel wasn't on my radar before now. Awesome!
posted by tobascodagama at 1:54 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]

This is a great essay. I kind of wrote off 4 when I watched it. Going to try it again.
posted by lumpenprole at 5:46 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

This was a good video essay, thanks. I tried a few other video essays from the author's channel and liked them. He even has kind of an apologia for The Wandering Earth which made me appreciate some of its Chinese cultural themes a little bit more (but still didn't manage to convince me that it's not a terrible movie).
posted by whir at 9:41 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]

All of those accented cinema videos are super good. If you're a kung fu buff, there's a lot of great recommendations in his channel.
posted by zsh2v1 at 6:37 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

(but still didn't manage to convince me that it's not a terrible movie)

TBF, it seems clear that he thinks it's kind of a terrible movie, too. In the beginning of the essay, he rejects the idea that it's the Chinese Interstellar and then compares it to Independence Day instead.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:11 AM on May 19

Yeah, I did catch that, though Yang Zhang still professes his love for the movie and I can't agree there (maybe if I liked Independence Day I'd be more inclined to enjoy this kind of movie, but that's not me). Also, you'd have to be pretty unobservant not to catch the constant themes of "heroes act for the good of the collective, not themselves" which the movie never gets tired of pounding you over the head with. But I did appreciate Zhang's take on the implicit criticisms of present-day China underneath the dystopian scenes, and on a Chinese attitude towards nature as something that can be conquered and shaped, versus Western disaster movies where it's something unstoppable that must be withstood.

Having watched a few of these now I feel like I'm often getting about a 66% "good essay with interesting insights" rate, leaving about a 33% filler rate. I actually think this is a much better than average ratio for these kind of video essays. Zhang's close reading of Parasite is a good example: there's 1/3 great stuff on the use of high and low imagery, then 1/3 great stuff on "crossing the line" in the film, and then 1/3 kind of rah-rah, let's all make good movies stuff which is endearing but not particularly insightful.
posted by whir at 2:25 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Nothing new, but much better than I thought. The movie itself handles several faces of racism well, which made for a good video essay.
posted by porpoise at 7:10 PM on May 19

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