Disney's remake of the Mulan legend doesn't quite work out as intended
September 12, 2020 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Mulan made $8 million its first day in China and opened to middling reviews in both China and the US. In China, the movie was derided for its historical inaccuracy and compared to "General Tso's chicken". In the US, the movie faced criticism for its lack of representation on the writing team, and for filming in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has been accused of committing human rights abuses.

Originally there was a call from Hong Kong protesters to boycott Mulan based on star Liu YiFei's support of HK police brutality. Hong Kong protesters have also called for a boycott on co-star Donnie Yen's Ip Man 4 based on his support for the Chinese government.

It appears that the Mulan hashtag has now been censored in China, and the Chinese government has banned media coverage of the movie itself. Global Times, China's daily tabloid newspaper under the auspices of the CCP, panned the movie for its "poor artistic level and misunderstanding of Chinese culture".

The ballad of Hua Mulan has been interpreted in multiple ways and formats throughout the centuries. Writer Jane Hu documents the way Fa Mulan has been reinterpreted in the context of Asian American literature. Jeannette Ng points out that the message of Mulan is one of subservience to the Chinese government. She also worries that the focus on criticism of Disney's Mulan on authenticity and representation elides the other, more troubling "spectre of Han hegemony".
posted by toastyk (49 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saw the movie at a friend's house (on a projector in the backyard). It was well made but it felt very generic and as I was watching I was wondering who exactly the audience was as there wasn't anything "Disney" about it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:35 AM on September 12


Two hundred million spent on this movie with the expectation that (as with all tentpole movies these days) a good chunk of its profits would come from China, but no one seemed to be working on making sure that the Chinese audience would like it?
posted by LindsayIrene at 8:42 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Heh, so Disney gutted the movie, pandered to China, embraced China's oppression, and in the end it wasn't good enough and China still banned the movie.

Memo to the suits: you can **NEVER** pander hard enough to satisfy right wing scum. Just give up and make good movies.

Insert the Nelson Laugh here.
posted by sotonohito at 8:49 AM on September 12 [57 favorites]


but no one seemed to be working on making sure that the Chinese audience would like it?

They cast Chinese boot licker Liu Yifei as Mulan and thought that was enough. Muddle through the rest of the controversy.

Let's face it. When it comes to Mulan the real crime was replacing BD Wong in the singing parts for Donny Osmond in the original.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:58 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Accented Cinema, my favorite Asian film essayist: "I can forgive it for all the inaccuracies in depicting Chinese culture. But I cannot forgive this film for what it did to the character of Mulan: Turning her into a symbol of submission."

Xiran, my favorite interpreter of Chinese history and culture on Twitter: "Have you ever seen a movie that pissed you off so badly that you make a whole YouTube channel just to roast it?"
posted by persona at 8:59 AM on September 12 [28 favorites]


Maybe Disney's mistake was in making the movie at all? I know that modern Disney has forgotten how do do anything but strip-mine their licensed properties for remakes and sequels but maybe they could have just let this one live in the past?
posted by octothorpe at 9:57 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


I wonder if one reason Disney moved ahead with it when they did was under the fear that rising tensions between America and China would make it a less valuable property in the coming years. They could've probably made this same (apparently rubbish) movie five years ago and done okay with it.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:07 AM on September 12


New Bloom: Mulan Proves to be Apologia for Statist Nationalism, Patriarchy, and Ethnic Cleansing
That the film was shot in Xinjiang and China’s vast detention of Uighurs in the region is aimed at stamping out Islam has also shaped readings of the film. The antagonistic forces in the story, the Rourans, are visually depicted as Middle Eastern, adding “a splash of Islamophobia” to the film, as put by Jeannette Ng in Foreign Policy. The film strives to avoid all mention of Xinjiang by instead referring to vague, nondescript locations such as “Northwestern China” or “The Silk Road.” And, because the historical Rouran Khaganate was a tribal confederation and state founded by proto-Mongolic peoples, this takes on uncomfortable shades in consideration of contemporary efforts by the Chinese government to stamp out Mongolian identity in Inner Mongolia by phasing out Mongolian language teaching in favor of Mandarin, something that has met heated resistance.
Perhaps the more productive understanding of the film would not be to focus solely on issues of authenticity or try to lay blame for how the film turned out at either Hollywood or China’s feet. Instead, it would be to see Mulan as a film reflective of the chimeric, interlocked relation of the Chinese and American economies that came to exist over the past two decades. Indeed, at the time the film was first announced, the film was seen as reflective of how the mutually dependent relation of the Chinese and American economies would cause the culture industries of both superpowers to become increasingly linked.
Consequently in evaluating the live-action Mulan, what strikes above all else is that the film is a highly Orientalist one. However, this is not merely the Orientalist gaze of westerners onto China, say, but also the embrace of Orientalist tropes in efforts by the contemporary Chinese government in the depiction of itself that it hopes to project abroad; Orientalism and self-Orientalism came to overlap in the film.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:11 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


The antagonistic forces in the story, the Rourans,

"Let's get down to business, to defeat, the Rourans" just doesn't roll off the tongue, does it? Islamophobia is why Mulan wasn't a musical?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:29 AM on September 12


I am told that this is a better retelling of the Mulan story, also released this year, for free, on youtube. Plays at 1080p.
posted by evilDoug at 10:36 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


They could've probably made this same (apparently rubbish) movie five years ago and done okay with it.

Probably. And I suppose the production cycle of a movie is fairly long, but you'd have thought a company as big as Disney would have seen this coming.

That said, a whole lot of companies seem to have failed to see the writing on the wall with regards to the US and China: that it's simply not going to be possible to straddle the fence and do business in both places in the future without a whole lot of mental, financial, logistical, and political gymnastics. Big companies may claim not to be interested in politics, but politics—and politicians, people with real no-shit last-argument-of-kings power—are very interested in them.

Disney needs to decide whether it's a US company serving the US market, pandering to US leadership, or a Chinese company serving the Chinese market and pandering to China's leadership. It's not going to be possible to be both.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:55 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


I watched parts of the film, and the name Bori Khan being repeated on screen so many times persuaded me to think he was a stand in for Genghis Khan, famous warrior and all that. It turned my critical brain off--I found the film quite enjoyable and moving from a femme/PoC point of view. It's not clear to me why Mulan as a warrior doesn't question the reason for the war she is asked to fight in. Also, the king struck me as kind of an arrogant elitist. On the other hand I liked the symbolism of the invaders planning to execute him in his new palace--I would give credit that for being a subtle jab at Chinese imperialist attitudes.

However, I think it is worth pointing out that Chomsky has long argued that Tibet
as Western powers originally wanting China to become a puppet imperialist power for Western interests. The West wanted China to conquer Tibet, in the early 20th century, so that the West didn't have to. As Chomsky explained, Communism happened so that thwarted the West's plans for domination of China.
posted by polymodus at 11:51 AM on September 12


That feeling when you bend over so far to please China that discussion of your movie gets mixed up with criticism of China enough that China censors media coverage of it anyway.
posted by straight at 12:44 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


compared to "General Tso's chicken"

Ouch.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:17 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I logged onto Twitter after years of inactivity just so that I can retweet Tony Lin's criticism on the film's interpretation of filial piety.

There are still plenty discussions on Weibo about the movie despite the hashtag ban. From costume/makeup to weapon choices to the contrived final climax, people have definitely found a lot to criticize.

I think I'll just end up letting my 7-year-old daughter rewatch the animated one for the n-th time.
posted by of strange foe at 1:42 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Disney needs to decide whether it's a US company serving the US market, pandering to US leadership, or a Chinese company serving the Chinese market and pandering to China's leadership. It's not going to be possible to be both.

Disney is a multinational corporation, it is not being run on the basis of US-nationalist ideology. They've made a fortune selling Marvel in China.

I'd be interested to see where any US based company has faced any domestic consequences whatsoever for aggressively seeking favor with the CCP.
posted by StarkRoads at 1:46 PM on September 12


Memo to the suits: you can **NEVER** pander hard enough to satisfy right wing scum. Just give up and make good movies.

Which right wing scum? Not the CCP, correct?
posted by ericales at 1:51 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Yes the CCP. They're Communist in name only and are enacting what is clearly a right wing (that is, hierarchy enabling and promoting) policy. Modern PRC politics are centered around hierarchy and elevating the oligarchs.

I'd argue that while the PRC is it's own thing it's much more similar to Fascism than to any other historic political system, especially Communism. As in Fascism it's economically what might be best described as state capitalism than anything else. The rising oligarchs and the up and coming bourgeoisie are encouraged, wealth is celebrated, private property is the way unless you piss off the Party leadership at which point the full force of the state will come down and you'll be dead.

It falls on the rightward end of the left/right spectrum.
posted by sotonohito at 1:58 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


From last year: NY Times, LA Times

Might have to avoid Donnie Yen from now on. Ouch. I was looking forward to Ip Man 4.
posted by Eikonaut at 2:17 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


right wing (that is, hierarchy enabling and promoting) policy

I think a case can be made for the CCP being right wing, but "hierarchy enabling and promoting" is not a right-wing characteristic, it's an authoritarian characteristic, regardless of whether your economic policies are left or right wing.
posted by tclark at 2:28 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Hi of strange foe, your link didn't work?

You'll have to avoid the majority of Hong Kong's celebrities right now if you don't want to support the CCP; anyone who speaks up for the protesters is generally cut off from the lucrative mainland market, and generally heavily criticized for being ungrateful and not towing the party line.

Anyway, additionally, I don't think any CCP-approved movie would have ever worked, Disney or not. Censorship kills creativity and joy, after all. It also brought to mind how much Chinese audiences loved Kung Fu Panda, a Dreamworks original story that featured a lot of Chinese elements, and prompting some internal soul-searching that didn't appear to take.
posted by toastyk at 2:41 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Possible future film projects:

Kung Fu Pander: an oafish, childlike protagonist strives to climb the mountain of money, walking on a slackwire strung between two gigantic tyrannies.

Mulan Rouge: a young hero makes her way in a treacherous world, willing to dance for money in exchange for fame.
posted by chavenet at 3:11 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


I think I'll just end up letting my 7-year-old daughter rewatch the animated one for the n-th time.

Dishonor! Dishonor on your whole family! Make a note of this. Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow...
posted by krisjohn at 3:56 PM on September 12


I thought it was edited badly, for a start. Also that Mulan has magic powers right from the start. But really, the editing on this is just garbage. Perhaps I could knock the directing too? Even in the first 5 minutes there's so many baffling decisions on screen, color choice, shot composition, sanitized sets, cgi everywhere... it never gets any better. It's such a stinker of a media project I'm certain it will get the Razzie this year.
posted by Catblack at 5:18 PM on September 12


A lot of the Ip Man and Wong Fei Hung series of movies are implicitly or explicitly adulatory toward the Revolution and its founders and they are popular and critical successes both domestically and abroad.

Chinese recorded history and mythology is vast and the Chinese film industry knows it can make hundreds of millions of yuan repackaging it from mainland audiences alone. So why would they bother with Western movies about China made without a single Chinese director or writer?

Anyway here is a trailer for Ne Zha which came out last year to absolutely mammoth reception.
posted by um at 5:24 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I liked the animated Mulan a lot as a female engineers’ Bildungsroman. There aren’t a lot of those. I liked it enough that I watched the animated sequel despite its being so unpopular it was hard to find. It was SO BAD, people. Deeply offensive to my feminist beliefs and deeply offensive to traditionalist women, and the plot didn’t hang together, and I think the songs were boring. I can’t remember if it managed to be especially culturally awful (I think it was so cliche that it was hard to take it as an actual reference to anywhere).

Maybe the surprise is that the first one is good at all.
posted by clew at 5:38 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Can't favourite um enough.
posted by porpoise at 6:23 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Chinese author* Xiran Jay Zhao livetweets Mulan.

IRON WIDOW, in which empress Wu Zetian pilots a giant mecha.
posted by um at 7:30 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


There's so much stupidity in how Mulan was made one barely knows where to start.

The whole movie reinterprets elements of Chinese culture through a western lens. The phoenix as a symbol of fiery rebirth, for example, is a Western originating element. In Chinese culture, the Fenghuang represents the 5 virtues sent from heaven to the Empress.

The 15 times or so they keep harping on "family honor" in the show is just awful, like some caricature about black people liking watermelon or fried chicken being repeated 10 times in one movie. Honor isn't even really associated with performing legendary feats, it's associated with personal sacrifice.

You want to know how the 2009 Chinese made Mulan handled it? While in the army, Mulan confessed to a crime she didn't commit, knowing the penalty was death, to avoid being strip searched, because if her identity was revealed it would bring shame upon her father for avoiding conscription. The subcommander comes to her cell the night before her execution and says that he deduced that she had confessed to hide her identity despite being innocent, and that he brought some hot soup for her as her last meal before her death. She tells him her story and he sympathizes with her, and tells her he will do anything to help her. She cries miserably and asks him to make sure her father doesn't find out she did not die in battle. This says a million times more about what honor and face is in Chinese culture than simply just repeating the phrase "family honor" 10x in the stupid movie.

In all fairness, the 2009 Mulan was made for adult audiences, while we're comparing it to Disney's kids movie so, ok, fine. There should make an IMDB rating that only kids below 15 years of age are allowed to score, wonder how it would score then.

As an aside, one of the logical points in the 2009 Mulan that I really liked was how every family in Mulan's village had to send a son, so how on earth did none of them realise it was her? What happens is that her neighbour does recognize her, and knowing she is doing it to save her father's life, offers to help keep her secret: he makes sure she sleeps in the corner bed, and he sleeps next to her, making sure no one is able to get too close to her to realise the truth. And Mulan signs up with her real name, and everyone assumes she is a boy. In fact, this may well be their version of Don't Ask Don't Tell - officially, women aren't allowed, but the army is working with whoever they can get, and in practice they don't mind unless you start openly flaunting it. I find that these two scenes I've described - among many - moments of kindness people show each other in crappy times - very inspiring.
posted by xdvesper at 7:39 PM on September 12 [19 favorites]


Walter Chaw of Film Freak Central writes a deeply personal review-
What I'm saying is that everything about this Mulan is ironic accidentally. Whatever its intentions, its execution and the circumstances of its creation are in opposition to them. It's a feminist tract that enforces male notions of value; a call to arms that fights for the wrong side of our current history; and a proud statement of national identity that celebrates the Nation of Disney as opposed to China. It's majestically painful as a representation of how white people view Asians and, yes, it would be different had an Asian person been allowed to direct the film. The solution is not now and never was for white people to hire consultants to understand Asianness better--it is to place Asians in positions of real decision-making and creative power. While you can substitute the minority as circumstances dictate, the principle is consistent enough that it comes as no surprise it's never the decision made by the allies wanting to learn. Anyway, China makes extraordinary historical wuxia pictures of their own. 吳宇森's Red Cliff made me proud to be who I am for the first time in my life at the hale age of 36. Still, Chinese culture is not Asian-American culture, and all Mulan does is serve as a painful reminder of my otherness in this place I have loved my whole life that has never taken the time to know me.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:42 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Historical and logical flaws aside, it also feels like the 2020 Mulan completely fails any kind of story writing logic.

Mulan really just feels like a plot vessel because everything just happens to her.

The witch (new character) they introduced basically makes all her decisions for her and advances every story beat.

1. She tells Mulan to stop disguising herself as a man so she can release her Qi better or some nonsense, leading her to reveal her true self to the military
2. She tells Mulan that Shan Yu wasn't actually defeated at the avalanche, he was on his way to kill Emperor, setting Mulan off on the journey to warn them
3. She tells Mulan where the emperor is fighting Shan Yu, so Mulan can go there to save him when no one else knows where he is

Instead of Mulan training hard to prove herself as worthy as any man, she is just born with high levels of Qi and can jump off a 4 story building as a child with acrobatic skill. Instead of passing the test of endurance set by the commander using perseverance and wisdom (climbing the pole using the weights for assistance, which were actually meant as a hindrance)... she just channels her secret Qi to climb the mountain.

And lastly... trying to make a Chinese movie for the mainland Chinese audience is monumentally stupid. As my friend commented, the Chinese see themselves as the cradle of human civilization. Cultural appropriation to mainland Chinese is a non-issue, because by their books, nobody who's not mainland Chinese can be expected to get Chinese culture, psyche and values right to begin with. Or put simply, you're already expected to disappoint, so you can't disappoint.
posted by xdvesper at 7:46 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Quick review of" Mulan Unparalleled", the film I linked to above. Well shot, well acted. Slightly obvious plot points, really bad English translations for the captioning. Still, quite enjoyable.
posted by evilDoug at 8:52 PM on September 12


Here is the 2009 Mulan: Rise of a Warrior mentioned by xdvesper.
posted by um at 9:28 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I just read that Ang Lee was the first choice for director, that would've been so awesome.

It's weird. The "be yourself" theme is an obvious part of the new movie, but that is almost proof to me that Asian Americans weren't consulted much in the making of this film.
posted by polymodus at 11:05 PM on September 12


Ang Lee being Taiwanese might complicate things, however.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:32 AM on September 13


I don't see how Ang Lee directing a Mulan Disney movie might be problematic at all, if that is what you're getting at. That's like saying Taiwan being in the Olympics might complicate things. I don't think the director of Brokeback Mountain would do Disney-Mulan filmic injustice.
posted by polymodus at 1:03 AM on September 13


It's not just Ang Lee doing Brokeback Mountain...

It's the fact that he did Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) which has one of the most technically impressive sword fighting sequences in cinema. Plenty of long cuts, you get the idea that these two fighters know what they're doing. Contrast this to what we see in Mulan (2020) where it's just a mess of very fast cuts, she barely engages in any believable sword or spear fighting. Like when she fights the witch, she points her sword at the witch (cut) steps towards her (cut) raises sword (cut) the witch dodges the attack (cut) she attacks again and is blocked (cut) the witch counter attacks (cut) Mulan stumbles back (cut) witch pins her sword from the back.

He also did Life of Pi, called a miraculous achievement of storytelling by Roger Ebert... contrasting to how no one I spoke to felt the least connection to any of the characters in the 2020 Mulan.
posted by xdvesper at 2:30 AM on September 13


oh sure it's all the Ice Storm this and Crouching Tiger that. no mention that he also directed one of the Last Good Marvel Superhero movies?
posted by um at 2:49 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Funnily enough doesn't Zhang Ziyi's character dress as a young man in the teahouse fight scene? Brokeback Mountain came to mind because as a mainstream gay love film it says a lot not just about Lee's directorial skill but also his artistic integrity, and concomitant ethical sensibility.
posted by polymodus at 3:51 AM on September 13


Ugh. I just watched some of the new Mulan and, ugh. It's like they tried to do Hero with all the PRC rah rah nationalism but with more Qi moves and it just failed utterly. Awful fight scenes.

Come to it, more generally, I can't think of a single Disney live action remake of any of their properties that hasn't sucked in some way. I suppose it makes money, or else they'd quit, but yeesh. The Lion King remake was so awful I gave up halfway through, I think I got 30 minutes into live action Beauty and the Beast before I turned it off, and I never even tried the live action Aladdin.

Maybe, crazy thought here, Disney should stick to animated movies?

tclark but "hierarchy enabling and promoting" is not a right-wing characteristic

It's literally the dictionary definition of right wing politics. It's what differentiates left from right.
Right-wing politics represents the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition.
That's the first sentence in the Wikipedia article on right wing politics. If a political organization embraces, enables, encourages, or enacts hierarchy it's a right wing political organization. Authoritarianism/liberalism is a separate spectrum from left/right, I'd argue there's some interaction between authoritarianism/liberalism and left/right, but they're certainly not the same thing. Stalin, to pick an infamous example, was both far left and extremely authoritarian.
posted by sotonohito at 7:47 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I am told that this is a better retelling of the Mulan story, also released this year, for free, on youtube. Plays at 1080p.

It looks great. With English and Chinese subtitles! Any Chinese-language learners, please note.
posted by the sobsister at 9:54 AM on September 13


I meant politically speaking when it comes to the China market (which, unfortunately, has come to dominate a large part of the discourse around this movie), having a Taiwanese director might not play well in these times when cross-Strait relations are as strained as they’ve ever been, sadly. Xi’s aggressive revanchist push has been going in all directions. So hypothetically, such a movie would have only existed maybe a decade or two ago, both before China’s clout was as significant to the American entertainment industry as it is now, and before the American entertainment industry was beholden to China.

Artistry-wise, yes of course an Ang Lee-directed Mulan would be absolutely fabulous. The man is a national treasure and a true auteur. Even his Hulk elevated comic book superhero movies before the MCU era.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:14 AM on September 13


I think Taiwanese people have Teresa Teng on their mind if the question is can art and culture transcend political divisions, not the other way around. Maybe a new example will awaken something in Pooh Bear's shriveled class reductionist heart.
posted by polymodus at 10:40 AM on September 13


I'm not going to see this at all, but before this was released I was expecting for this to be like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl with a dash of 300. Basically a Disney action-adventure film with a little bit of a pro-China message thrown in.

Instead, this seems more like another Disney's John Carter: Big budget, famous cast, and kind of a flop.

I don't know why Ang Lee declined the job, but I feel that he wouldn't have fit into the Disney system of making films anyways. Disney seems to keep directors on a leash, and Ang Lee probably would not have liked that. I remember Edgar Wright walked away from Ant-Man for a similar reason.

The more interesting question is why Disney didn't attempt to replicate what it does in the US with a new-ish Chinese director. Why didn't it bring in an up and coming director from China to make this?
posted by FJT at 11:11 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


And to answer my own question a little, Disney does have a Beijing-born Chinese-American director making a film: Chloe Zhao is directing The Eternals. Of course, Zhao may just not have been approached at the time of Mulan's pre-production and even then she also may not want to make a film like Mulan either.
posted by FJT at 11:34 AM on September 13


toastyk: I'll just post Tony Lin's comment here because I don't know how to get the link right:
1. Placing “孝”(filial piety, or, a (twisted) devotion to family) as the central theme is really problematic with this version of Mulan. The screenplay is written by western people who take 孝 at face value
2. Simply put, filial piety—even in today's context and in China—does not translate as "a devotion to family". It has a strong sentiment of blind obedience to family elders. Reforming and abolishing the archiac concept of "孝" have been a key theme in China's modernization
3. What's 孝? The most typical example is "the 24 role models of filial piety". One of them is Guo Ju, who literally buried his son so there will be more food for his mother. That's not really "devotion to family", but that's a part of 孝
4. Mulan’s motive is in direct contradiction to the traditional notion of 孝. Mulan has never been hailed as a heroin of 孝. I personally believe Mulan in today’s context can teach us a lesson about how to love your family without old filial piety
5. More importantly, the ugly, archaic, reactionary notion of 孝—the one that forced Mulan to be matched and be a good woman—is resurfacing in China. Girls are sent to summer camps and asked to wash parents’ feet to showcase their 孝
6. My major issue with Mulan: A movie that’s based on a Chinese folklore, features an Asian cast, and banks on milking the Chinese market, completely disregarded what “孝” is really perceived in China (it’s barely a good word anymore!).

Hope this link works -- this is a really typical Chinese review. Now I hope someone would step up and write slash fiction between Mulan and the witch to show us some real girl power.
posted by of strange foe at 11:54 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I feel like that kind of analysis conflates modernization with neoliberalization. The real Westerners that matter in this discourse are Asian Americans, and the more highly culturally assimilated the more likely an Asian American is to reject the notion of Confucian values, i.e. xiaoshun. This is something studies have looked at, how Asian American children relate to their parents depending on levels of assimilation in the US. Meanwhile, the West, e.g. the directors, find these historically oppressive ideas attractive because under the lens of a post nuclear-family society, there hasn't been a satisfactory alternative. It's analogous to religion versus secularization, and it's the sort of thing that society as a whole hasn't managed to solve neatly and move on from.
posted by polymodus at 2:55 PM on September 13


It's like poetry, they rhyme
posted by Apocryphon at 8:25 PM on September 13


Thanks of strange foe for posting that.

Oh, also, I caught a glimpse of some of the calligraphy on the sets...and they look so bad; they couldn't hire someone who could do calligraphy? It wouldn't have even been that expensive.

One thing that's been at the back of my mind lately...I noticed that Lainey of LaineyGossip has not posted about Mulan other than a review from one of the writers when it opened. This is a movie she's championed from the beginning, but I noticed in all her posts about Mulan, she never once references Hong Kong, censorship issues, or the boycott. And it's not like she hasn't criticized the CCP in the past - she's made posts about Hong Kong scandals and gossip before...it's just that the lack of critique at this moment in time...is very loud, let's just say.
posted by toastyk at 9:23 PM on September 13


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