好莱坞制造的”中国人”:从黄祸到土豪

转自:搜狐文化

“好莱坞正在努力迎合中国”,这已经不是世界第一次如此解读近年来好莱坞电影中所明显体现的对于“倾向中国”的顾虑。今年春天《黑衣人3》在中国放映的版本中,反面角色中国人和主人公在唐人街枪战的情节被删除。将于明年上映的《钢铁侠3》,其漫画原著中出生于中国的反面角色“满大人”,则改由英国人扮演。

更鲜明的案例还在于,1984年的好莱坞冷战电影《赤色黎明》(Red Dawn)中,美国遭遇苏联、古巴和尼加拉瓜联军的入侵。好莱坞那时候可不怕得罪苏联人,在政治上,美、苏两国敌对多年,在经济上,好莱坞并不仰仗卢布带来的票房。但当米高梅决定在21世纪翻拍这部影片的时候,现实的俄罗斯不再对美国构成威胁,那么改成中国军队入侵怎样?这是他们一开始所做的,但这一修改所遇到的阻力却超出了米高梅的预料,中国大陆在最近的三五年中,跃升为好莱坞最重要的海外市场,得罪中国人的经济风险不言而喻。几经斟酌,影片制作者利用后期技术将中国军队改成了朝鲜军队。

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“黄祸”和傅满洲博士

华人在美国电影中的出现与电影的发明几乎同步。爱迪生公司早在1895年就拍摄了喜剧短片《中国洗衣店场景》,影片主要呈现了警察和华人洗衣工的追逐逃窜场面。19世纪末至20世纪初,银幕上的华人形象多是“苦力”的面貌,不是洗衣工,就是餐厅侍应,或是家佣。《1882年排华法案》在美国激起了反华的浪潮,华人频遭暴力袭击,被迫从白人社区撤离,唐人街因而形成,华人只能从事白人没兴趣参与竞争的行业,这也就限定了当时美国电影中华人的职业身份。

从1910年开始,“黄祸”成为部分美国媒体——尤其是在赫斯特集团控制的报纸上——的常见用语,以华人为代表的东亚人种,被扭曲为邪恶、残暴的入侵势力,仿佛是说,若不限制华人的移民和扩张,美利坚“国将不国”似的。打着“黄祸”的幌子,白种人对黄种人的歧视与排斥就被赋予了正义性和合法性。这个时期大量的好莱坞电影依据唐人街的高犯罪率现象,创造出许多华人反派形象。

傅满洲便是这当中的头号恶魔。傅满洲来源于英国作家萨克斯·侯麦创作的系列小说,他是个利用各种稀奇古怪的法门杀人如麻的恶棍,企图征服全世界。他的故事后来被改编为漫画、电影、电视、广播等其他艺术形式,渐渐成为与“黄祸”等价的文化符号。好莱坞第一次将傅满洲搬上银幕是1929年派拉蒙的早期有声片《神秘的傅满洲博士》,由华纳·奥兰德主演。奥兰德之后续演了《傅满洲博士归来》和《龙的女儿》。

鲍里斯·卡洛夫饰演的傅满洲或许是历史上最著名的一个版本,这部米高梅1932年拍摄的《傅满洲的面具》对华人的态度可以说是抱有强烈的种族主义偏见和傲慢无礼,不过影片后来因其诡谲莫名的情调反而成为了一部cult经典。上世纪40年代傅满洲出现在共和影业出品的系列B级片《傅满洲之鼓》中,之后他就淡出了银幕,直到60年代英国人找来克里斯托弗·李扮演傅满洲,这个邪恶的博士才从此复活。

《傅满洲之鼓》为好莱坞的“黄祸”情结暂时画上休止符,实是因为日本在太平洋战场向美国开战,中美成为抗日盟友,在中国政府和民间的抗议下,美国国务院要求好莱坞不要再制作丑化华人或中国的电影。

善良的他者

几乎与泛滥的傅满洲电影同期,好莱坞电影中还有另外一个经典的华人形象,那就是神探陈查理。陈查理是美国作家厄尔·德尔·毕格斯笔下的一个夏威夷侦探,他温和、机智,拥有深不可测的解谜智慧,从表面上看,他的确是对傅满洲式的华人“黄祸”形象的拨乱反正,但对陈查理持有异议的观众也不在少数。批评者认为,陈查理不过是另外一种对华人的刻板印象,充其量是个“善良的他者”,他对白人太过顺从,代表了白人心目中对华人的理想期待,也就是说,华人只有像陈查理一样温顺、无害,才能融入美国主流社会。在这个意义上,陈查理和傅满洲,只不过是一枚硬币的两面罢了。而且在西方人眼中,傅满洲更代表了东亚人的本质,而陈查理的优良品质来自于意外和熏陶。

最早的陈查理影片是法国百代公司1926年出品的《没有钥匙的房间》,陈查理的扮演者是个日本演员,之后环球、福斯公司屡次改编陈查理的故事,找来的演员不是来自日本,就是来自韩国。但直到起用白人担任主角之前,陈查理电影并未取得主流成功。是华纳·奥兰德的出演,让陈查理变得广受欢迎起来。奥兰德之前也演过傅满洲是个不应被忽略的事实。奥兰德的成功之处在于,相比原著中的陈查理,他的演绎更加温和、谦抑,也更充满温暖的幽默感。奥兰德一连主演了十多部陈查理电影,构成了福斯公司在上世纪30年代最成功的系列。

陈查理在美国的风行亦影响了当时的华语电影市场,三四十年代的上海和香港至少拍过五部陈查理影片。原版的陈查理电影在中国也颇受欢迎,原因不难理解,遍览好莱坞电影的上海观众难得在美国影片中见到有对华人的正面描绘。

陈查理形象的出现与风靡,或许部分是因为自上世纪30年代后,日本人逐渐取代华人成为“黄祸”的靶子。华人形象有所好转,通俗文艺作品便通过陈查理之类的形象给予华人一定的“补偿”。

诱惑的妖女

黄金时期的好莱坞往往将中国视为猎奇的对象,以《上海快车》、《袁将军的伤心茶》为代表的贩卖东方情调的影片屡见不鲜,但其中也有例外。

根据诺贝尔文学奖得主赛珍珠小说《大地》改编的同名影片可算一例。在这部影片中,中国农民与自然作战的生活史诗得以展现,但米高梅在选角时拒绝了知名华裔女星黄柳霜担任主角,原因是《海斯法典》禁止不同种族的通婚,而男主角已经确定是当红巨星保罗·穆尼。米高梅转而邀请黄柳霜出演女性反派,被黄断然拒绝。最终黄无缘这部广受瞩目的中国题材影片,她的遭遇如今已被视为好莱坞历史上最著名的一次选角歧视。

黄柳霜大多数时候在好莱坞影片中扮演的是各种“诱惑的妖女”,除此之外,中国女人也会充任美貌、纯洁的玩具娃娃,以供白人征服和赏玩。《苏丝黄的世界》便是这样一部典型的影片,一个美国艺术家在香港旅行时邂逅美丽的旗袍女子苏丝黄,两人陷入难以自拔的热恋。在这类影片中,中国女人总是无法抵御白人男子的骑士魅力,因为他们身上的阳刚、浪漫气质根本不是中国男人可以匹敌的。

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一台很能打的机器

这种情况在上世纪70年代后有所改变,李小龙和邵氏功夫片的出现在一定程度上修正了西方人心目中的华人形象。《精武门》《猛龙过江》《龙争虎斗》《天下第一拳》等影片在短时间内震撼了整个国际影坛,原来中国男人并不都是柔弱、驯服的光头长辫子形象。

李小龙在将“功夫”(kungfu)写进英语词典,并打破华人刻板形象的同时,无意中也为华人树立起一种新的刻板现象——那就是中国人都能打、中国人只能打。这种形象后来因成龙、李连杰、周润发等相继进军好莱坞得以强化。西方电影中渐渐出现这种俗套,只要是华人出场,那么他一定是个武功高手。

成龙凭借《上海正午》、《尖峰时刻》系列在好莱坞取得的成功暂时还无人能够企及,他进一步改写了黄色面孔在好莱坞电影中的陈旧定义。和陈查理一样,没有成龙解决不了的问题,只不过陈查理用的是脑子,他用拳头。在这个意义上,他只是陈查理的暴力版。归根结底,他们都是在保卫白人社会,同时不能对它构成威胁。

成龙形象的症结在于,无论他多么孔武有力、打遍天下无敌手,他在影片中对白人女性角色始终缺乏吸引力,也许囿于英文不佳(在这方面李连杰和周润发的情况也差不多),他自己也没有表现出同女主角谈情说爱的兴趣,所以我们很难在影片中看到成龙和女主角调情和亲吻的场面。

所以即使如成龙,在他得到2000万美元的顶级巨星片酬之后,他在好莱坞电影中的功能依旧不过是被物化的,只相当于一台很能打的高级机器,他仍然不是一个完备的“人”,不会谈恋爱和顾家庭。

周润发和朱迪·福斯特联袂主演的《安娜与国王》是亚裔演员在好莱坞的一次重大突破,周润发演的角色是暹罗国王,并非华人,但华人男星与好莱坞主流一线白人女星演恋爱对手戏的确是难得一见的。可惜影片本身不算成功,周润发之后也没有更多的继承者。

中国人都是大款?

好莱坞电影发展到今天,早已成为一门国际化程度极高的跨国生意。所以,好莱坞的电影生产商对于如何在影片中处理外国及外国人形象,有一套完整的操作经验。如果一个国家和美国处于敌对状态,如二战时的德国、日本,冷战时的苏联,那么不用怀疑该国将会成为美国在银幕上的主要敌人,被攻击、取笑、羞辱不在话下。

如今相当多的好莱坞大成本制作依赖世界各国提供的免税刺激计划,其取景拍摄已变得越来越全球化,这也是好莱坞电影日益充满异国风情的原因之一。另一方面,在好莱坞电影的年度票房收入中,来自海外市场的比例逐年提高,已达到北美本土的两倍有余,片厂再也无法忽视一部影片可能造成的国际影响。

以中国为例,《阿凡达》、《变形金刚》等片吸引观众趋之若鹜的事实证明,这个飞速发展的电影市场正在取代日本成为好莱坞最大的海外票仓。在这种局面下,好莱坞自然要重新考虑它该如何面对中国观众的眼光。除了美特斯·邦威、伊利舒化奶、TCL等品牌在好莱坞大片中的强势植入,应该有观众注意到,中国人的银幕形象也在悄悄改变,尽管仍避免不了俗套。例如在《华尔街2》中,现实中的房产大亨张欣客串了一个来自中国的女商人,这正是美国人的一种最新偏见——中国人都是大款。

在8月中旬,日本《东京新闻》还这样总结好莱坞的新偏好:中国人不再作为反面人物出场,更多是作为主人公的友方出现。或者至少,不让中国出现。这一结果当然也得益于中国网友日益高涨的批判声潮。

事实上,当两年前灾难片《2012》将制造方舟的中国人视作末日的救世主时,这种积极的暗示就被广泛关注。就在本周一(8月27日),《蝙蝠侠:黑暗骑士崛起》和《超凡蜘蛛侠》同时抢滩中国,中国城市里的年轻人拿着爆米花和可乐纷纷以热情拥抱了两位超级英雄。在人满为患的影院里,救世主的身份随时发生转移,超级英雄拯救情绪,而钱包拯救好莱坞。

“中国人”形象成中美关系晴雨表

好莱坞电影中是中美关系的晴雨表,观察某个特定时段的好莱坞影片,就可以窥见当时的中美关系。到了20世纪30年代后期,随着中国抗战的爆发,国力处在弱势地位的中国对抗法西斯日本,赢得了包括美国在内的西方世界的尊重,这自然反映到好莱坞电影上来。1937年,根据赛珍珠同名小说改编的电影《大地》风靡美国,扮演女主角阿兰的美国演员露伊丝·雷纳为此荣获奥斯卡最佳女演员奖。影片以写实的风格,描述出一个中国农民家庭的生存状态。中国农民的率真、质朴,在很大程度上颠覆了傅满洲在美国普通民众中的印象。太平洋战争爆发后,中国成为美国的盟国,中国人在美国公众中的形象大大改善,其时的好莱坞电影中,傅满洲已经没有市场,为了迎合美国民众的感情,好莱坞在一部影片中安排了傅满洲的自然死亡。1979年之后,随着大陆对外开放的持续、中美之间交流的深入和中国综合国力的提升,美国人对中国的认识得以全面更新。研究美国问题的资深学者、人民大学国际关系学院博士生导师金灿荣教授说,美国人在历史上最欣赏的形象是“绅士”,他们穿得很体面,行为很礼貌,但手上有一根大棒。而中国现在有一点像这样,中国人现在日子过得开始不错了,行为低调、谦逊,但手上大棒越来越强。这符合美国历史上强硬派的价值标准。而现在,当中国观众陶醉在好莱坞对东方的最新想象中时,有学者批评“这反映了当前中国崛起后,中国人只听赞美、顺耳的声音,有自我膨胀的心态。” 有网民发帖说,对《2012》里出现的所谓中国元素,大家平常心对待好了,既不用阴谋论,也不用激动万分。人家就是图咱们兜里的钱而已。其实好莱坞从来不隐瞒自己对开拓中国市场的渴望,理由很简单,中国有13亿人口。在好莱坞看来,中国的电影市场,“它不只是座金矿,简直就是一座未开发的钻石矿。”13亿双观众的眼睛,对于好莱坞来说意味着什么不言自明。米高梅、派拉蒙、华纳兄弟、环球、迪斯尼、索尼以及梦工场公司等制片商从题材、演员、观众、市场等全方位设想如何进入中国电影市场早已不是新闻。现实的利益驱动,好莱坞必须比谁都更在意自己电影中的中国形象。“西方企业如果不能参与大亚洲的经济腾飞,不但会丧失商机,更可能被削弱竞争力。”也许美国未来学家奈斯·比特的这句话可对好莱坞的行为做出宏观层面的解释。站在中国的立场上看,好莱坞替咱抬轿子唱赞歌,未尝不是一件好事,这比咱们花银子自吹自擂要有效得多。《2012》中,白宫官员的那句“也只有中国人才能造出这个”,多少也是对MADE IN CHINA的肯定。

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好莱坞怎样演义“中国人”

转自:文化星期五

由安吉丽娜·茱丽主演的《古墓丽影Ⅱ》正在全球热映。当中国观众引颈期待第二集能在中国银幕上一展英姿时,中影公司传来最新消息:影片在送审时未获通过,因而不能在中国上演。

看完影片,感觉西方人在恶意描写中国人

2001年的《古墓丽影Ⅰ》在中国创下1441万元的票房收入,可当《古墓丽影Ⅱ》被送到中影审查时,却没有延续第一集的命运,原因是情节和人物设置被认为有损华人形象。中影公司审片员表示:“看完影片,感觉西方人在恶意描写中国人。”此外,影片中一些极度糟糕的中国地理知识也引人发笑。

电影作品中涉及他国元素,尤其是西方电影作品涉及东方元素时,应该如何处理,一直以来都是个敏感话题。

的确,在好莱坞近期的惊险和警匪片中,中国人的面孔频频亮相,他们无法无天、不守国际惯例、到处走私军火、从事化学武器研制、进行核扩散的活动。中国人似乎成为好莱坞影片中新的反面角色。更让人担心的是,随着好莱坞拍的历史片成为年轻人的“真历史”,好莱坞眼中的中国人形象也会成为“全球标准”。

香港《明报》日前报道,监察好莱坞和美国传媒中亚裔形象的“亚裔美国人媒体行动网络”曾发出一封公开信,列出多种被传媒不断重复的“指定亚裔形象”:(1)在美国,亚裔永远是外国人,不能融入社会。电影中亚裔人讲英语时多带口音,而白人亦会以此为笑柄,令人以为亚裔人没办法融入美国。(2)亚裔美国人的职业千篇一律。在电影和电视剧集中,总是韩国人卖杂货、日本人做生意、印度人开的士,此外还有餐厅侍应、武术教练、信仰治疗师、洗衣店工人、黑社会分子、妓女。这种手法扭曲了亚裔人在美国从事多种行业的事实。(3)亚裔是白人的配角。亚裔人绝少当主角领导白人,就算是以亚洲为题材的电影,主角也大多是白人。“亚裔美国人媒体行动网络”认为,塑造这些“指定亚裔形象”的电影工作者对亚裔的认识非常片面。

其实,如果仔细研究好莱坞电影里的中国和中国人形象,我们将会发现随着中美关系的起伏发展,这其间经历了一个非常曲折的过程。

默片时代的好莱坞就开始了对华人的刻画

从早期的默片时代到现在,好莱坞银幕上的中国和中国人形象在不同的历史时期呈现出不同的风貌,它们与两国之间关系的变化有密切的联系。但是,由于在过去的一个世纪中,美国的文化和思想在发展上表现出很强的连续性,早期美国社会某些对中国人的简单化看法似乎有很强的生命力,一直主宰着美国公众心目中的华人形象。

美国公众对中国人的认识有相当长的历史。早期他们对中国的了解主要是通过美国商人和传教士之口。随着移民到美国的华人不断增加,美国公众对中国人逐渐形成了一定的印象和看法。

19世纪末在美国人的心目中,中国是落后、愚昧、腐朽的象征。而中国在美国的移民,也是当时美国种族主义文化的牺牲品之一。好莱坞影片中的中国和中国人,在很大程度上就是这些丑恶思想倾向的产物。

早在19世纪末和20世纪初的默片时代,好莱坞电影就开始了对华人形象的刻画。默片时代的电影对东方世界的态度带有很强的猎奇性,着力夸大东西方文化的差异,而唐人街也几乎成为所有与华人有关的电影的选景地。

早在1894年,美国就曾拍摄过一部近半小时的无声片《华人洗衣铺》,以闹剧的形式展示了一名中国男子如何想方设法摆脱一个爱尔兰警察的追捕。这一时期的中国人形象具有极度的漫画倾向,拖地的长辫和伸长的指甲是被着力夸大的特征,他们十有八九是恶棍和罪犯。

默片时代对中国人惟一比较正面的刻画是好莱坞早期的电影大师格里费斯完成的。在其1919年的影片《破碎的花朵》中,格里费斯塑造了“黄面人”形象,一个代表着尊严与和平的中国人。值得注意的是,该片引入了一个极为重要的主题:东方男人对西方女子的追求。这在当时是西方人无法接受的。为了避免过分的争议,通常是让一对东西方恋人双双死去。《破碎的花朵》也难脱窠臼。

渐渐地,东西方异国情恋的主题产生了一个新的变形。身材娇小、一头乌发的东方女子,对白人来说是所谓“异国情调”的化身。在西方的大众文化里,“异国情调”包含着强烈的性暗示,而性爱和色情本来就是好莱坞电影招徕顾客的看家本领。好莱坞早就把中国女子与白人男子的性爱和恋情故事作为表现异国情调的一个重要素材,而且也有一定的套路。

“傅满洲博士”在好莱坞时起时落,宛如中美关系和美国政治的晴雨表

早期好莱坞银幕上,贯彻“黄祸论”思想最彻底的形象,便是“傅满洲博士”(Dr.Fu Manchu)。自1929年,好莱坞曾经连续拍摄了一组以“傅满洲博士”为主角的电影,在美国公众中影响极大,“傅满洲”也由此成了一个众人皆知的银幕形象。他集中了当时美国白人对东方华人世界所有最恶劣的想像,这也是好莱坞在塑造这一形象时的用意所在。当时的宣传材料曾这样描写“傅满洲”:“他每一次弯动手指、每一次耸动眉毛都预示着危险。”

抗日战争期间,中国人民的事迹曾激起美国公众的同情和仰慕。为了不冒犯公众的情感,好莱坞在某部影片中安排“傅满洲”自然死亡。但1949年以后,中美关系急剧恶化,好莱坞电影密切配合官方的反共反华宣传,积极扮演着冷战意识形态宣传战的急先锋角色。“傅满洲”这个十恶不赦的恶魔形象便再次复活,并且更加邪恶恐怖。直至1980年,好莱坞仍不放弃这个形象,拍摄了《傅满洲的阴暗计划》。该片激起美国华人世界的一片抗议之声,加之其粗制滥造,主题又是老掉了牙的故事,因此并无票房价值。

“傅满洲博士”这个精心打造的脸谱化形象,成为好莱坞刻画东方恶人的原型人物。这个“中国妖魔”的隐秘、诡诈,他活动的帮会特征,以及作恶手段的离奇古怪,都被好莱坞反复利用、修改、加工。直到今天,任何力图妖魔化中国的好莱坞电影,都不断地回到“傅满洲博士”这个原型人物,鲜有偏离和创造。

查理·陈作为正义和法律的象征,一直未被美国华人世界认可

好莱坞电影对中国与华人形象一贯的恶意丑化和诬蔑,不但受到美国华人社会从未间断的抗议和抵制,也曾引起当时中国政府的不满。一段时间里,好莱坞似乎有所收敛,并试图做一些弥补的工作,其结果之一就是另一个中国原型人物的产生。

从上世纪20年代中到30年代,在好莱坞银幕上另一个出现频率很高的中国人形象 就是侦探查理·陈(CharlieChan)。据说,其生活原型是一名活跃的华人侦探,经作家加工、改造,从20年代起流行美国。好莱坞据此拍摄了近50部系列电影,塑造了又一个较完整、统一的中国人原型,他是正义和法律的象征。

尽管如此,这一形象却一直未被美国华人世界认可。原因来自这个形象本身。设想一个由白人演员扮演的中国侦探,在现代化的美国大都市,满嘴陈腐不堪的东方格言,行为乖张怪戾,怎么能不成为美国观众眼中的丑角笑料?而这样一个小丑,已经算是好莱坞中国人形象中的“正面角色”!

赛珍珠的《大地》提供了一个非西方民族和人民的真实形象

傅满洲和查理·陈是好莱坞早期电影史上两个最重要的中国人形象,折射出当时美国主导社会势力对华人移民的基本态度。30年代后期,尤其是在中日进入战争状态后,美国曾一度视中国为自己的同盟。相应地,美国媒介对中国及中国人的刻画也有所改善,昔日华人的恶魔形象暂时甩给了日本人。好莱坞为迎合战时需要,开始拍摄以中国本土为背景的电影。

1937年,根据赛珍珠的同名小说改编的电影《大地》就是其中之一。赛珍珠是美国最早以中国为背景进行小说创作的作家。她根据自己在中国的经历,写就数部描写中国底层农民的小说,并为此而荣获诺贝尔奖。赛珍珠的小说在30年代的美国广为流传,是当时美国人了解中国的重要来源,其中尤以《大地》最受欢迎。该小说曾在美国先后发行200万册,而根据小说改编的电影也极为成功。据统计,电影发行后的一段时间内,大约有2300万美国人看过这部电影,而别的国家观看此片的人数高达4300万。

赛珍珠的小说在美国公众心目中造就了中国底层人物的形象,细致刻画了中国农民恶劣的生活状况,而与此同时又避免卷入任何国家利益的纠纷。

电影《大地》在当时的美国取得轰动性成功,扮演女主角阿兰的美国演员露伊丝·雷纳为此荣获奥斯卡最佳女演员奖。影片《大地》力求写实,通片用的都是中国音乐。影片中王龙一家的曲折命运,主要人物自然率真、感情真诚的表演,都给美国公众提供了丰富的中国农民形象,从而在很大程度上纠正了他们昔日对中国人笼统而模糊的认识,而中国农民的坚毅、勤劳,在天灾面前的无畏,以及在道德方面的判断力给当时的美国人留下了很深的印象。

《大地》堪称是好莱坞电影中一部表现人性美的杰作。它的可贵之处,不仅在于提供了一个非西方民族的真实可信的形象,而且还在一定程度上超越了种族、族裔和文化的差异,展示了人类的生存困境、意志与情感。但是,赛珍珠的小说及电影也在无意中制造了新的刻板形象。中国底层大众始终挣扎在极端困苦的环境中,用原始的生存手段延续着生命,土地与他们终日相伴。

赛珍珠始终选取中国底层大众的命运沉浮作为小说创作的题材,这中间不乏女作家对中国农民深深的同情与热爱,但同时也渗透着她从家庭获得的强烈的传教士心态。在美国公众看来,中国普通百姓始终是需要保护和拯救的。这很自然地会引导他们以救世主身份自居,饱含怜悯地看待这些在宗教信仰上“未开化”的人们,引导观众将其与统治他们的政府作尖锐对立。事实上,赛珍珠的小说及后来改编的电影成为之后美国人想像共产党统治下中国百姓生存状况的重要资源。

《大地》无论在艺术上还是在票房上,都是一个成功。借着这种成功,好莱坞曾将赛珍珠的其他小说陆续搬上银幕,如摄制于1944年的《龙种》等。赛珍珠的中国系列小说在当时的美国是一个文化时尚。《大地》公演期间恰值中日战争,大量关于日军在华暴行的报道也纷纷传回美国,激起美国人对侵略者的义愤和对抗日民众的同情。随后,美国与日本的军事冲突也逐步升级,最终导致太平洋战争的爆发。可以说,当时的政治氛围是像《大地》这样的电影所以流行的重要原因。

80年代以后:中国人形象日益复杂多元

80年代以来,美国涉及华人题材的电影呈现出了复杂多元的风貌。一方面,好莱坞仍有不少制片厂和导演在老调重弹,继续生产旧式反华反共的电影,制作以查理·陈和傅满洲为主角的新单元。另一方面,华裔群体慢慢有了自己的导演和演员,开始在美国影视界占据一片天地,制造自己的声音。这其中最引人注目的就是王正方(PeterWang)和王卫恩(WayneWang)。他们或是加入某些取材中国或描写华人生活的影片的摄制组,利用自己的身份来影响电影的制作;或是自筹资金,独立制片,力图撇开旧式好莱坞电影的条条框框,贯彻自己的思路,从而瓦解美国主流社会中那些根深蒂固的反华偏见。

但是在里根入主白宫以后的数年中,美国至上的意识极度膨胀。大肆渲染美国在全球的霸权地位,制造新的美国神话,就很自然地成为这一时期美国传媒和大众文化制品的首要使命。

米高梅公司1985年拍摄的《龙年》就是这样一种政治环境中的产物。它选取纽约唐人街为拍摄现场,讲述越战老兵斯坦利·怀特新任警察之后,如何整顿美国的治安死角——唐人街的故事。该片跟以往的唐人街影片一样,《龙年》中的唐人街依旧是黑帮活动猖獗,枪杀事件似家常便饭。这是80年代美国涉及华人题材的影片中最有争议的一部。

该片公演后,美亚裔社团和媒介实体曾举行多次抗议活动。迫于舆论压力,米高梅公司事后在影片的开头特别附加了一条声明,称该影片无意诬蔑或无视亚裔群体,特别是华裔群体的诸多可敬可贵之处,如影片中的内容与现实生活中的任何组织、团体、个人或唐人街有雷同之处,那纯属偶然,云云。但影片拍的是唐人街,讲的是华人的事,上述声明的虚伪之处自不必待言。

冷战结束和苏联解体,使好莱坞曾一度失去了几十年一贯的反面形象的来源。于是,寻找新的“坏蛋”成为近年来好莱坞电影的一大任务。中东、中亚都成了反面人物的来源之地。也有一些迹象表明好莱坞开始把眼光转向中国。1995年美国摄制了一部高投入、大制作的巨片《红潮激浪》,其娱乐性很强,与近年中国进口的好莱坞大片相比毫不逊色。但影片开始时,却穿插了有关中国西部核基地的背景故事,影片中的战争狂人企图发动核爆装置,炸毁中国核基地,诱发新的全球大战。影片非常暧昧地暗示中国军方在这场阴谋中有某种参与。

透过好莱坞电影对华人的刻画,我们可以清楚地了解到美国的主流意识形态多年来的种族主义偏见是多么根深蒂固。好莱坞电影对于华人在美国社会的巨大贡献视而不见,从未正面表现过华人在美国科技、教育和商业等领域里的活动。对于在美国之外的中国人和中国本身,好莱坞的偏见也从未有过减少。

电影本是全人类共有的精神财富,也是各民族文化交流的重要媒介之一。最近世界电影界的国际化趋势在不断加强,许多中国电影、演员和导演逐渐在国际影坛崭露头角。大家最熟悉的,也许算陈冲了。陈冲的确是从中国大陆的电影界到美国,并在好莱坞闯出了一片天地的佼佼者。但她的经历也非常曲折艰难,有许多辛酸故事。不过好莱坞白人一统天下的局面正在被打破。这些都是值得庆贺的事。但是在庆贺的同时,我们不应忘记,好莱坞电影从根本上说,仍然是美国商业化文化的产物,是美国和西方主流意识形态的最重要媒介。对于好莱坞模式宣扬的价值观和生活方式、它所大力渲染的美国和西方的种种神话,我们都不能不假思索地全盘接受。

Breaking into Hollywood: Dilemma of Contemporary Chinese Popular Cinema in America

Drifting in Los Angeles | 漂泊洛杉矶

MFA Thesis

PREFACE

This document serves as a companion to the MFA thesis documentary Drifting in Los Angeles. However, this paper is not a journal of the production process. Instead it analyzes how contemporary Chinese cinema and filmmakers have attempted to make their way to Hollywood, which contextualizes the documentary in a historical background. In addition to reading this thesis, the author recommends viewing the DVD, which will be available in the Library of The University of Iowa.

Drifting in Los Angeles documents the gap between Hollywood fantasy among a generation of Chinese filmmakers and film school reality in Los Angeles. Shot on Canon DSLR 7D with sound recorded on Zoom H4N, and edited on Final Cut Pro, Color, Motion and Pro Tools, the documentary runs approximately twenty-three minutes.

The project originated as a means of exploration of Los Angeles film school experience and Hollywood fantasy among a generation of Chinese students. With the world’s most populous nation swelling with new cinemas and the rising of the middle class, Chinese students have flocked into American film schools in recent years. Such booming film school enrollment was representative of a larger trend in American Higher Education since the economic downtown and the loosening of university policies of intentional students quota. According to a report in August 2011 by the Council of Graduate Schools, U.S. graduate schools saw applications from China grow 21% from a year ago.1

I personally witnessed, and might have even contributed to, this new wave of American film school crush/rush. In 2009, I was admitted to The University of Iowa with the Iowa Arts Fellowship, a packet that not only waives all the tuition fees, but also provides a stipend for living expense. After I received my F-1 visa and booked my air ticket, I wrote an article about my application experience and posted it on one of the biggest study abroad forums in China, the Bulletin Board System (BBS) of gter.net. My article was shared and viewed more than 20,000 times within a year, and my email was inundated with inquiry emails about film school application.

However, my experience in Iowa with full funding was not representative of the majority of Chinese students pursuing an MFA degree in an American Film Institution. When I talked to my friends who went to film school in Los Angeles, I was amazed at the fact that most of them are actually paying around $150,000 to $200,000 for their film school education. This amount of money is almost equal to 20 years of saving of my family.

A series of questions suddenly popped up in my mind: “Is such a big investment really worthy it?” “How’s their film school experience different from mine?” “How long will it take for them to earn the investment back?” “What kind of works are they making at such a great expense?” “Do they really enjoy their lives?” In the meantime, I was more curious by the questions that have also bothered me personally, such as “What’s their cross-cultural experience?” “How do they adjust themselves and interact with Americans?” “Do they fit in and succeed?” and “How do they deal with loneliness and alienation?”

With all the questions in mind, I submitted my proposal for my thesis documentary and went to Los Angles in May 2011. The title of the project, Drifting in Los Angeles, came from my experience of riding on highways with my host Ah Hui, a typical wild Chinese driver who drives as if he is drifting. It’s also a metaphor of my feeling as an outsider from a developing country adventuring in the metropolitan Los Angles, and it reflects the commonality that young Chinese filmmakers share in pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Drifting is adventure, romance, floating, bumming and dreaming. During the production process, it takes about three hours everyday for me to travel back and forth between where I lived to the locations where my subjects lived.

Therefore, drifting also became a constant feeling that’s both physical and psychological to me.

Over the course of 30 days, a total amount of 44 hours of footage was recorded for Drifting in Los Angels, and painstakingly edited to the final cut of twenty minutes. A great deal of the raw material ended up as the underwater iceberg, although some of them were really interesting and could have been recycled to show different aspects of the subject matter.

Drifting in Los Angeles was greatly inspired by several documentary films. The confrontational scenes in The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters opened me the door of creating narrative structure with non-fiction materials while American Movie was exemplary of caricaturing zealous characters pursuing unreachable dreams. The representation of the conflict between modernization and humanity in Koyaanisqatsi offered me the alternative to manipulate images to build transcendental experience of flying through space. Los Angeles Plays Itself provided me with the background stories of the geography and interesting hot spots for filming. The acclaimed cinema verité masterpiece Sherman’s March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation taught me how to weave disparate subjects, texts, images into a logically and emotionally integrated argument and also inspired me to talk to the camera. Academy award winner Sam Greene’s documentary performance, Utopia in Four Movements once allured me to turn my documentary into a live performance event for my thesis screening, considering my strength of performing and communicating in front of an audience. The live performance plan was abandoned for the 23 minutes thesis screening as I restructured the film and trimmed down the narration. However the idea of a documentary performance is still a possibility for my future exploration.

Nevertheless, Drifting in Los Angeles was none of the above-mentioned films; it is more of an adventure and discovery journey towards an unknown area that’s both geographical and spiritual. It is a document of me and my fellow Chinese filmmakers’ cross-cultural experience, desire, and anxiety. It is also part of the dilemma that contemporary Chinese cinema and filmmakers face in attempt of breaking into Hollywood and the economic and cultural arena in America.

INTRODUCTION

This thesis summarizes the dilemma of the American presence of contemporary Chinese popular cinema, with a focus on individual Chinese filmmakers from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and their different approaches to Hollywood in the last two decades. The notion of Chinese filmmakers in Hollywood includes those ethnic Chinese filmmakers shooting films in Hollywood and Chinese filmmakers who are involved in co-productions with Hollywood, as well as those who make films outside of Hollywood, but target at the American market, pursue the Academy Award and seek Hollywood’s recognition.

Chapter 1 starts reversely with a brief history of Hollywood’s global presence and its recent penetration into the Chinese world. It also analyzes the inundation of white supremacy in Hollywood cinema and the exportation of Orientalism to the Orient. Chapter 2 lampoons the continuing self-Orientalism among Mainland Chinese filmmakers as a shortcut to the West. It also describes the poor box office performance and audience acceptance of popular Chinese cinema in America. Chapter 3 follows the exceptional models of directors and actors from both Hong Kong and Taiwan making their presence in Hollywood, their compromise and sacrifice. Chapter 4 concentrates on current Chinese students in film schools in Los Angeles. The works of this future generation of Chinese filmmakers reflect their experience of being alienated and underprivileged outsiders in America, the “melting pot with nothing melted”, and in Hollywood, a predominantly White industry.

The term China will be frequently used in its broadest sense to include Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Diaspora; the term Chinese will be used broadly as a reference to the great Chinese civilization and people of Chinese origin, whether they are in the Chinese triangle area or overseas. However, both terms might also be used for short to replace the People’s Republic of China and Mainland Chinese when it comes to a specific place or political region. This usage is often introduced within a context. The term Mainland China will be used interchangeably with the People’s Republic of China. Hollywood, on the other hand, refers to both American popular cinema, and the film industry surrounding the Hollywood Studios.

CHAPTER I

NEO-COLONIALISM: HOLLYWOOD HEGEMONY

When the People’s Republic of China and Russia vetoed the military interference of Syria in 2012, some scholars and journalists have announced the cold war between the P.R. China and the United States. However, the “cold war”, if there is one, must have already started 30 years ago, neither in the field of politics nor economics, but cultural production and communication in its modern form – cinema. The war was not even a balanced battle between the two countries, but a one-sided neo colonialism featuring Hollywood’s cultural juggernaut. It was the infiltration and invasion of Hollywood movies and its well-packaged ideology into the Chinese film market and cultural sphere that accompanied and even shaped the growth of a whole generation of Chinese youth. In order to understand the dilemma of contemporary Chinese cinema in America, we are better off to start with the entrance of Hollywood cinema in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Smashing Chinese Market – The Hollywood Invasion

The loosening of the People’s Republic of China’s cultural censorship policy has always been a compromise in exchange for its greater international political presence. Following Deng, Xiaoping’s “Opening up and Reform” policy, The Fugitive (1993) was first introduced (引入) to Mainland China, followed by 9 other Hollywood films including Rumble in the Bronx, True Lies, and The Lion King in 1994. The government then passed the legislation to allow ten Hollywood imports to the Chinese market every year. The quota was later extended to 20 movies in 2001 as China joined the World Trade organization. In 2012, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (国家广电 总局) extended the quota to 34 movies after Chinese vice president Xi Jinping’s US visit. In the meantime, the market share of Hollywood films was raised from 13% to 25%. In the year 2011, Chinese filmmakers witnessed 20 Hollywood movies taking away 46.39% of the market share.2

Hollywood studios have always been blaming the Chinese government for domestic protectionism. However, due to the fact that cultural production was very politically oriented prior to the early 1990s, there wasn’t a film industry in China by the time Hollywood entered. Therefore, contemporary Chinese popular cinema was a beat up kid since its birth.

In Taiwan, Hollywood grabbed 98% of the domestic market share when it landed with full permission. Local businessmen colluded with Hollywood studios, and almost ripped the vulnerable Taiwanese popular cinema out of movie theatres. Art cinema that mostly relies on foreign investments became the synonym for Taiwanese cinema until the recent resurgence of Taiwanese popular cinema in the new millennium.

Hong Kong, as the center of Asian popular cinema production and consummation until the 1980s, was probably the least affected at the inception of the global Hollywood tide. However, in the 1990s, Hong Kong handed over its market dominance to Hollywood due to the disparity in production qualities. The “1997 returning to the motherland” was another milestone in the history of Hong Kong cinema as it witnessed the decline of domestic cinema production, and the exodus of filmmakers to North America.

However, what’s scarier than the profit that Hollywood is taking away is the ideology it is giving away. On the surface are individualism, liberation of sex, Christianity and other American values that challenge the Chinese traditions and conventions, but more dangerous are probably the hidden ideologies such as white supremacy and Orientalism and capitalism.

Hollywood spent 30 years in China to captivate and adopt an audience group. The adventurism turned out to be more than successful, and now Chinese viewers are comfortable and eager to consume Hollywood movies. The viewers identify with the white hero in Avatar who flies a dragon and saves the indigenous people from colonization. They are happy to watch the white men saving the world and win over the beautiful woman, sometimes even with an Asian sidekick (Green Hornet). They laugh at the Asian computer nerd in The Transformers who was controlled and killed by the aliens, and the Asian man (played by the same actor) with a small penis in The Hangover II.

The viewers also learned to appreciate and even internalize the whitewashed aesthetics, and the Anglo-centric hierarchy of race throughout Hollywood movies. Many young Chinese people nowadays fantasize romantic relationships with the foreign exotic and find Caucasians more attractive. In big cities such as Beijing, and Shanghai, it became a trend (and pride) for a Chinese woman to have a white boyfriend. In small towns a white person would even get picture-mobbed on the street. However, African Americans and Asian Americans wouldn’t enjoy the same privileges of their white counterparts in China. Interestingly, in Drifting in Los Angeles, two among the four Chinese male characters demonstrated preferences for white women, especially Blonde. The female character Catherine, on the other hand, made a romantic love story of an interracial couple, a Chinese woman and a white man.

Cinema is a cultural production that not only reflects culture, but also affects culture. The social impact of American popular culture and mass media in East Asia is more than what most people are aware of. There is a whole plastic surgery industry in South Korea that is trying to make Asian women look more Caucasian, with Chinese women being its biggest customer source. Beauty standards in many East Asian countries are also shifting, women with big, rounded eyes, high noses, pointy faces and other Caucasian features, are considered as more beautiful. A glance at the majority of contemporary East Asian screen stars and popular idols would easily prove the point.

Hollywood cinema, taking advantage of the post-colonialism establishment of English as the world language, coupled with its strong visual power, star creating system, and unprecedented financial back up, has captivated worldwide audience and branded itself as the world cinema that’s consumable in all countries. In the meantime, the occasional stereotypical presence of people of color in Hollywood hypocritically suggests its diversity.

In addition, Hollywood has been doing a great job throughout its history in alienating and exploiting Asians both on and off screen. Among the Chinese filmmakers and actors who made it to Hollywood, compromise was made at different levels. This will be discussed in later Chapters.

Exporting to the Orient: Selling Chineseness

As the P. R. China becomes the second biggest film market in the world and Hollywood’s biggest foreign market, studios are also responding and making adjustments to maximize profits. In the meantime, an ironic and bizarre phenomenon occurs, Orientalism is packaged as Chinese elements, being exported to the Orient.

When Chinese elements are encoded with jargons and insider jokes that are only comprehensible within English context, the mocking and selling of Chineseness becomes surprisingly well received in China. With Chinese box office contributing to 20% of its international box office, Kong Fu Panda 2 was credited, by some Chinese media, as a lover letter to China.3 The animated feature is a perfect example of Hollywood’s exportation of Orientalism to the Orient with smart packing and marketing strategy; it’s a hamburger sandwiched with some Chinese noodles. However Chinese as it claimed, it consists of a total American production with only one Chinese worker among its 800 production crewmembers.

The paradigm of the Kung Fu Panda series is basically the comedy of a junk food eating, fat American middle class man, whose language ability is limited to use “awesome” as the only adjective, saving the world. It eulogizes American individualism and grassroots heroism, but mocks and ridicules traditional Chinese culture and philosophy, such as Taoism. Other than the universal slapstick elements, the film’s comedy is structured on the untranslatable, and therefore indecipherable, humor of the English language. In one scene in Kung Fu Panda 2, Po, the panda, practices the Taoist idea of “inner peace,” but while he is enunciating the words, a raindrop hits him and he loses balance, yelling “inner pee” instead.

The Panda is half white half black with green eyes, which signifies his identity as a biracial American, while the Tigress, being yellow and “hardcore” as the Monkey claimed, is an incarnation of the dragon lady and tiger mom stereotypes of Chinese women. She is hardworking and has practiced martial arts for twenty years, but she is also rigid, and inflexible. Eventually the humorous Panda came to her salvation and sexual liberation.

The depiction of the dogs in the movie is an innuendo of the infamous “Urban Management law enforcement” in China. These “government officers” rob the pots and pans from the “civilians”, represented by rabbits and pigs. The metals are used for steelmaking, weapon manufacturing, which symbolizes the Chinese governments recent military expansion.

In another scene, a drooling pig mom bribes Po’s father to set up a meeting of her pig son with Po, the “dragon warrior.” This is a restaging of a common social phenomenon in China, the privileged “second rich generation” inheriting social benefits from their rich, powerful parents. In addition, there are two Kung Fu masters imprisoned by the dictatorial emperor peacock, who were later emancipated by the panda, which draws subtle connection of the Chinese governments’ imprisonment of two artists Liu, Xiaobo and Ai, Weiwei.

If the same content were made in Chinese, the film would have been banned forever, but Hollywood did a good job that it not only managed to circumvent the censorship radars with all the tied-in political innuendos, but also garnered huge box office revenue, despite the fact that some Chinese artists were openly boycotting this movie. Hollywood touched down again in the cultural, economic and political interaction with the Chinese.

Hollywood’s exportation of Orientalism to the Orient movement continued with international hits such as The Karate Kid, Forbidden Kingdom, Green Hornet, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Packed with Chinese action stars, The Forbidden Kingdom is a White boy’s Kung Fu adventure to the East, a weird hybrid of China’s epic story “Journey to the West” and a modern male version of “Wizard of Oz.” The Karate Kid is an American boy’s self-growth and ass-kicking journey in Beijing. The film follows the Western formula that the American boy not only defeats the evil Chinese boys in the end, but also wins the Chinese girl. However, due to the fact that the American boy is black in this movie, Orientalism is ironically covered with an anti-racism theme (the Asian projection of racial discrimination against Black people).

From Bruce Lee to Jay Chow, Green Hornet has not made much progress in its positioning of the Asian sidekick character. A martial arts master, mechanical genius, and a badass coffee maker, Jay Chow’s Kato pushes the overachieving “model minority” stereotype to the extreme. However, perfect as Kato is, he is still the sidekick serving a white master, who is rich and tells better jokes. In addition, Kato’s sexual frustration with the white female lead played by Cameron Diaz symbolizes castration, a reinforcement of Hollywood emasculation of Asian masculinity.

According to the Frankfurt school, Western culture is a culture of domination, both of an external and internal nature.4 Hollywood, as the forefront of Western popular culture, reinforces the current status quo with suppression and absorption of negation of the other.

CHAPTER II

SELF-ORIENTALISM CONTINUES: PATH TO THE WEST

The power of cinema lies in its ability to involve the vicarious gaze of its audience, a gaze that is often projected onto a constructed figure of Otherness, be it national, ethnic, gendered, sexualized, or cultural.5 If Hollywood is to be blamed for the formulations of cinematic Chineseness in recognizable stereotypes and racist clichés, then Chinese filmmakers should take responsibility for self-Orientalizing and catering the Western gaze.

Shameless Pimp – Zhang Yimou’s Oscar Complex

Zhang Yimou, the most celebrated fifth generation art-cinema-turned-to- commercial filmmaker in China, is undoubtedly the grandmaster of self-Orientalism. As a director mostly known for his flamboyant cinematography and display of female body, Zhang successfully kick-started a pimping career in the European film festival circuit, peddling auto-ethnography, self-exoticism, absence of the Chinese male body (and therefore Western male gaze) and self-positioning as the sexual other. His directorial debut, Red Sorghum, won the Golden Bear award at Berlin International Film Festival in 1988. Zhang further strengthened his career with the Chinese ethnography of incest and sexual repression in Ju Dou, and the present, but also absent, father image that always faces the camera with his back in Raise the Red Lantern. Other than the Golden Bear, he was also rewarded a Silver Lion and Golden lion at Venice, and a Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.

As his popularity expands, Zhang Yimou has smartly transitioned from art cinema to popular cinema and made several martial arts movie packed with stars, such as Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Curse of Golden Flowers. His success and glory became unprecedented as he was crowned to be the director of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, yet there’s still one dream that he has not fulfilled – his Oscar complex, an obsession of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Zhang’s films have been nominated for the category four times. The critically acclaimed Ju Dou was China’s first film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Raise the Red Lantern was nominated in 1992. Hero, the international martial arts hit was nominated in 2003, and then became the box office champion of the week in North America two years after its Chinese release. However, Zhang’s break from self-Orientalism didn’t grant him the award he had expected.

In 2012, Zhang returned to self-Orientalism for his fourth attempt for Academy Award Best Foreign Film. The Flowers of War, with a budget of $90,000,000 was the most expensive Chinese film ever made and the first Chinese production featuring an Academy Award winning actor, Christian Bale. The story falls into the typical Orientalist formula of a white man finding refuge with a group of Chinese women in a church during Japan’s Massacre of Nanjing in 1937 and falling in love with a prostitute. Finding himself in the unwanted position of protector of Chinese women from the horrors of the invading Japanese army, the white hero discovers the meaning of sacrifice and honor, and eventually leads the female students to safety. The film has showcased all of Zhang’s skills in courting the judges and feeding the western male gaze.

First of all, the film exemplifies Zhang’s scheme of self-emasculating: it depicts Asian men as either weak and passive (the defeated Chinese soldiers) or evil and ruthless (the invading Japanese military). On the other hand, it characterizes a bad boy type of white guy as a comparison: a drunken mortician who arrives at a Catholic Church to prepare a priest for burial, finds moral sublimation and becomes a hero to replace the priest and save lives.

In the second place, the casting of one white man and thirteen Chinese women (the literal translation of the Chinese title is Thirteen Beauties of Jinling) was a pageant display of exotic Eastern beauty for voyeuristic pleasure.

In the third place, Zhang invested a lot in building a epic-war set up to make the movie look like a Hollywood “blockbuster,” a common misperception among Chinese filmmakers that Hollywood favors big budget production, war theme and magnificent mise-en-scene.

However, Zhang’s successful European experience didn’t work out at all with the Americans. He was trying too hard, and the film was too courteous to be respected. It was wiped out of the nominations even before the last round. China’s most prestigious director’s Hollywood dream ends up with another failure, and perhaps a lethal frustration.

Zhang’s obsession with the Academy Award probably originated from his jealousy of Taiwanese filmmaker Ang Lee, who won the Best Foreign Language film in 2001 with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragons, and the best director with Brokeback Mountain. Zhang followed Lee in making stunning choreography in martial arts cinema, trying to duplicate his success, but the flat characters in Zhang’s later films didn’t send him to reach the same level of profoundness that Lee achieved. On the other hand, Zhang’s Oscar complex might have been a result of Gestalt psychology that one always overvalues the missing part of a whole. For Zhang, what lacks in his wholeness is the American recognition of him as a world-class director, which is sadly, a self- victimization as a result of the Hollywood cultural hegemony. Zhang’s Oscar experience also suggests a lack of self-confidence and self-value and the pathetic post-colonial syndrome that Eastern civilization has to submit to the rules of the Western discourse for approval, understanding and recognition.

Marketing Dilemma – Chinatown Distribution

Feng Xiaogang was one of the very few popular cinema makers in Mainland China who did not court Hollywood. Feng was known for making heavily language- based New Year comedies mainly targeting at Chinese audience. He was probably the only filmmaker who overtly mocked Hollywood in his early film Dream Factory. In Be There or Be Square, he even went further to adopt an Occidentalist approach in othering American culture.

Feng changed his style and directed the 2009 disaster epic about earthquake in China Aftershock, which created the Chinese Box Office record of nearly 80 million dollars within 25 days of its release. However, after its huge success in China, Feng decided to take it to North America. The film was released 4 months later in 25 AMC theatres in the cities where there are relatively big Chinese population. However, Aftershock only awkwardly made $60,000 in its box office.6 Feng’s next New Year comedy If You Are the One 2, did much better than Aftershock in North America. Released in 23 theatres, its box office was $420,000.

However, as China’s box office champion, Feng’s cinema never really entered America, its limited niche audience was the Chinese diaspora. Due to the disheartening fact that American audiences are not used to watch foreign language films with subtitles, Feng’s cinema neither draw attention nor made influence in America.

CHAPTER III

NAVIGATING IN THE SYSTEM: COMPROMISE AND DETOUR

When Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) leapt onto global screens, many saw it as a cinematic event that heralded the unprecedented arrival of Chinese cinemas in Hollywood. However, it turns out that the Chinese swordplay spectacle was only the cultural flavor of the month, a transient trend soon to be replaced by the next big thing capable of revitalizing Hollywood.7

Hope and Struggle – The Hong Kong Migration

The post-1997 Hollywood saw a new, resurgent interest in the Chinese presence in its cinema due to the British government’s handover of Hong Kong back to China and the exodus of Hong Kong filmmakers. Among the crowd are Chinese stars Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-fat and Jackie Chan and Chinese director John Woo.

John Woo made his first Hollywood directorial appearance in Mission Impossible 2, featuring Tom Cruise. Although Cruise and Woo had reportedly clashed several times throughout filming over creative differences, the film turned out to be a financial success, totalling $546,388,105 worldwide.8 However, overshadowed by Tom Cruise’s shining fame, Woo remained almost anonymous in American households after the film’s release. The subsequent two movies Woo made in Hollywood were mismatches of his directorial talent, which eventually led to his return to East Asia, where he made the next international commercial hit Red Cliff.

Chow Yun-fat had a similar experience with John Woo in Hollywood. Being Hong Kong’s big brother actor who appeared in 40 films in 10 years, he had merely 5 acting appearance over his 5-year sojourn in Hollywood. Feeling his talent greatly limited, he followed suit of John Woo and returned to East Asia where he starred in Zhang Yimou’s box office hit Curse of the Golden Flowers. Chow maintained connection with Hollywood and later returned for supporting roles in Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Dragonball: Evolution.

Jackie Chan and Jet Li were probably the two “lucky” men who really be-petted Hollywood with their impregnable martial arts stunt skills. However, their frequent screen appearances were not able to change their powerlessness in satisfying Asianploitation (a derivative of Blaxploitation) in Hollywood. Their characters as asexual, Zen-buddhist, Chinese, Kung Fu, Monkey Kings have not contributed much in reversing the stereotypes of Asian men since the Bruce Lee era.

Ironically enough, most members of the Hong Kong exodus army have migrated to Mainland China for better opportunities and career development, while Hollywood, the land where dreams come true, bid farewell to many talented Chinese filmmakers along with their disillusionment.

Breaking from Independent – Taiwanese Presence in Hollywood

The Taiwanese directors Ang Lee and Justin Lin were probably the most successful among their Chinese counterparts from Mainland and Hong Kong in terms of playing the power game in Hollywood. They both broke into the Hollywood industry and have made movies inside the studio system. Ang Lee is the first Taiwanese/Chinese filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and Academy Award for Best Director.

Born in Taiwan, Lee came to the United States after college, and enrolled in the MFA filmmaking program at the New York University. He landed his first Hollywood deal for Sense and Sensibility after the completion of his Family trilogy, Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet, and Eat Drink Men and Women. These films gained him festival awards, critical acclaims, an Oscar nomination, and paved his way to direct Hollywood films. However, Lee’s Hollywood production wasn’t as successful as his non-Hollywood works. He directed three Hollywood movies, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil before 2000. They all received accolades and critical praises, but the box office performances were mediocre. Lee met his waterloo while directing his first big-budget Hollywood blockbuster in 2003, the Hulk. The moderate success of grossing over $245 million at the box office was a setback for him that he even considered to retire early. Lee also turned down another offer to direct Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Although Ang Lee broke into Hollywood successfully, his most successful works are non-Hollywood. They are either Chinese/foreign language films or small budget, independent English films, and Hollywood is not a good fit for his artistic directorial vision.

Similar to Lee’s success, Justin Lin got his first Hollywood deal after the Sundance debut of Better Luck Tomorrow, an independent film that breaks the “model minority” stereotypes of Asian Americans. He is the first director of Taiwanese/Chinese descent to direct a Hollywood franchise on the top ten list of box-office gross, the Fast and Furious. It is also the only one among the ten that has an ensemble cast of non-white male lead roles.

Born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States, Lin is considered a hero in the Asian American community for breaking stereotypes. Celebrated for giving the Asian American image a testosterone injection, he was bold enough to wield his power against Hollywood repression and arrange an interracial romance and a kissing scene of an Asian man and a white woman in Fast Five. However, Lin’s success didn’t come without compromise. His first Hollywood production, Tokyo Drift, unfortunately falls into the Orientalist formula. Diverging from the previous Fast and Furious episodes, Tokyo Drift was an independent episode set in the backdrop of Japan about a white kid defeating the Japanese gang leader, and winning over his girlfriend, once more fulfilling the Western fantasy of castrating the Eastern masculinity, and conquering the Eastern woman as a trophy.

Lin’s early compromise was undoubtedly a safe step to secure his position in Hollywood. In the following episodes, he successfully transformed the white hero dominance into a shared buddy film of people of color. In Fast Five, there was even a car race scene of people of four different races: a White man, a Hispanic man, an Asian man, and a Black man. The White man eventually won the race, but it was only because his Hispanic brother-in-law helped him and blocked the other two competitors.

Lin and Lee shared some similarities in their paths to Hollywood, both Taiwanese born directors went to a prestigious film school in the United States, Lee was an NYU Tisch alumnus, and Lin graduated from UCLA. Both broke into the industry with independent films that emphasize the cultural experience of being Taiwanese or Asian American. Both Lin and Lee are citizens of the United States, and their educational experience and relatively longer stay in America has granted them better understanding of the Hollywood rules of the game, and the American taste. Therefore, they have relatively higher assimilation levels and can navigate better in Hollywood than most of their Hong Kong and/or Mainland born counterparts.

CHAPTER IV

CAUGHT IN-BETWEEN CULTURES: FUTURE GENERATION

Following Ang Lee and Justin Lin’s success, the Chinese students in American film schools today would very likely to become the next generation of Chinese filmmakers in Hollywood. However, going to school far away from home, these students are also cultural communicators who are caught in-between cultures.

Cross-cultural Curiosity, Desire and Anxiety – Drifting in Los Angeles

Drifting in Los Angeles follows four Chinese students enrolled in different MFA programs and film schools in Los Angeles. The film focuses on the difficulties these young filmmakers are facing in the path to their Hollywood dreams: being a foreigner using English as a second language, being an outsider who is vulnerable to the domestic culture, being an ethnic minority who is underprivileged, being a no-income student in a film school that charges a lot of tuition fees but does not guarantee a career, and being a filmmaker in the centre of the most competitive industry in the world.

However, every person has his or her own experiences and challenges. Zhao Xuhui “Ah Hui” was a cinematographer at New York Film Academy at Universal Studios (NYFAUS). Coming to the United States, he was not happy with the fact that he was enrolled in a for-profit film school, so he quit after a year. He then registered for a language school in Orange County, without taking classes, just to stay in Los Angeles legally. In the meantime, he worked on his former classmates’ film projects as director of photography to gain experience. Au Hui had eventually transferred to a degree program at Florida State University by the time the documentary was finished. Ah Hui was very concerned about money. He hardly ever went out to eat, choosing to cook most of the time to minimize his spending. Originally a character in the film, Ah Hui’s character was dropped in the final version of the film.

Zhu Lianyu “Larry,” Ah Hui’s friend, was a writer/director at NYFAUS. He was from a more well off family in Shanghai, and he didn’t have a bachelor degree prior coming to the United States. He dreamed of becoming a big director before he arrived in Los Angeles, but only came to realize the intangibility of his fantasy. He talked about the fierce competition, language barriers, and the unrealistic director’s mindset that prevent Chinese filmmakers from acceptance in Hollywood.

Yang Qianbaihui “Catherine” was a sound designer at the University of Southern California (USC) and the only female character in the documentary. She seemed to be very comfortable and happy with her film school life in general. She commented on the fact that sound design is a predominantly male activity in Hollywood and expressed her desire of becoming a female sound designer. Surprisingly, she also told the author that she was actually not a feminist.

Catherine experienced some cultural and professional difficulties in her first year; she was not able to find her classroom the first day of class since nobody told her about it. She also didn’t like the idea of directing her own short films, even though they turned out to be very good. Catherine’s biggest concern was the insecurity of living in a neighborhood where intense racial tensions existed and revenge murder happened between the African-American gang and the Hispanic gang.

Huang Chen was an animator at USC. With a strong accent, and an even stronger personality as an artist, Chen seemed to be a “troublemaker” frequently bumping into the cultural barriers. There was a huge cultural gap in Chen’s daily life, and no one seemed to be able or responsible to fill in the gap for him. He learned by making numerous mistakes just like every other F.O.B., but his introvert personality and accent prevented him from better communication and understanding with others, making his life a even harder.

The “car being towed” scene in the documentary was a live capture of Chen’s difficulty in daily life. He parked his car near a fire hydrant one day and his car got towed away. A common sense for all Americans is befuddling for him, “there is no sign saying that I couldn’t park there, so I just parked there…” Whose fault is it? Nobody has ever told or taught him such common sense in America, and he had to pay $200 to learn this lesson. In the towing office, the officer definitely had problem understanding what Chen was talking about. However, the officer was not willing to really listen to him patiently and actually figure out what is going on. The two people were just talking, but not communicating.

Another of Chen’s awkward, cross-cultural experience includes sleeping in the department building and being kicked out by his advisor. Chen was fooled by an apartment agent and broke his lease before he found a new apartment to live in. He then slept in the student lounge in his school until his advisor saw his sleeping bag and kicked him out of the building. During the interview, he explained that if such a situation were to happen in China, the professor would feel very sympathetic for him and even acknowledge his diligence and painstaking virtues that are highly appreciated in Chinese culture. However, as Chen stated, “they don’t buy it here.” Chen’s “weird behavior” was neither understood nor appreciated. His advisor asked him to “get your shit out of here,” which made him feel really hurt.

Chen talks in a very slow pace, which creates a big contrast with his dislike of the fast rhythm of life in Los Angeles. People are too busy in this city; no one is willing to slow down and try to understand him. In addition, Chen’s frustration came from the fact that the Chinese culture that he identifies with was not respected at all in the dominant American cultural discourse as it devalues alien culture. People judge him from their own cultural perspective and read his “Chineseness” as creepy, awkward, and unattractive. As Chen lamented in an interview, “Americans don’t have much culture, and people are ignorant.”

Chen even went further and boldly critiqued the institutionalized education in the world’s most renowned film school for making everyone the same. He has a desire to be a master and a rich artist like Andy Warhol, but he feels that it’s unachievable if he simply follows the doctrine at USC. Chen admitted in an interview that he was not very confident about his career after graduation, pointing out the gap between dream and anxiety. The interview was later cut out due to length constraints.

Liu, Zheng “Leo” was an actor/director/writer/cinematographer/editor at the California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA). He basically did everything himself for most of his film production because of the difficulty he had trying to find help from his fellow classmates. Leo felt alienated, excluded, and even self-segregated due to his failed attempts at assimilation. In a response to a somewhat racist experience he had encountered during a production class in which a white girl yelled at him to stop him from touching the camera, Leo emotionally exploded in the end that “this issue doesn’t bother me. I’m from China, and I’m definitely gonna go back to China! It’s something that you guys need to worry about.”

According to sociologist Richard Schaefer, individuals of subordinate groups who experience denial of acceptance and the frustration of rejection from the dominant group would tend to withdraw from that group and go back to his/her own culture and seek identification.9 Leo’s personal experience is actually very representative of the marginality that all young Chinese filmmakers experience, although they might not be able to decipher it. As cultural ambassadors, these Chinese filmmakers travel across the ocean with great curiosity of a different culture, only to find themselves after years coexisting in two conflicting cultures, often never completely comfortable in either.

Romanticism of the Underrepresented and the Underprivileged

Drifting in Los Angeles used several excerpts from the student films that the characters in the documentary produced, including Filming the Dark, Dancing Dream and The Pawnshop. Made by filmmakers who didn’t know each other before, these films interestingly shared some incredible similarities and commonalities in terms of content and subject matter. They all involve, to some extent, romanticism of the underrepresented and the underprivileged.

Filming in the Dark, animated by Chen, is about a blind girl who becomes a photographer. She was born blind, and went through several surgeries, but was still not able to cure her blindness. Then, she learned to “dance in the dark,” to accept herself as who she is, and to love the world around her.

Dancing Dream, written and directed by Leo, is about a deaf janitor who wants to become a Ballet dancer. The janitor fell in love with a ballerina, and dreamed of dancing with her. His best friend, a girl who knew sign language, saw him dancing with a mop in the studio. She then arranged a special birthday gift for him to make his dancing dream come true.

Both films follow a person of disability as they pursue a utopian dream of becoming an artist. If an one’s work somewhat genuinely expresses one’s own emotional feelings, then either film could be read as an allegory of the filmmaker’s own hope and struggle as an alien ethnic minority in America with a utopian dream. They are different, and inherently unprivileged because of their birth of origin, native language, skin color, and cultural identification.

The Pawn Shop, written and directed by Catherine, is an adaptation of the short story “The Gift of the Magi” with a mysterious Chinatown set up. A dying woman wants to pawn her life in exchange for the love of her boyfriend, while her boyfriend went to the same pawnshop to pawn his love to extend her life. The story unfolds in a montage sequence as the audience gradually begins to realize that the woman actually set up the man to fall in love with her in the first place, and she is running out of life to maintain his love for her. “Your love was not real,” the woman confesses when she sees the man at the pawnshop. “But it was real to me,” the man replies and erases his love memory to extend her life.

This story eulogizes an ideal love relationship in which two people both decide to sacrifice themselves for the well being of the other. In the meantime, Catherine cast an interracial couple for the film. Structured from the perspective of an Asian woman who has an obsession of a Caucasian man, the film subtly indicates an Asian female fantasy of having a romantic relationship with a White prince.

CONCLUSION

During the editing of Drifting in Los Angeles, I watched the 2012 Academy Award ceremony on television. The show is predominantly a white celebration, with a few black people accepting awards to demonstrate Hollywood’s awareness of diversity. Ironically enough, the only Asian face I saw on the show was the violinist who was performing live music.

Hollywood is not going to give away its power. In fact, it protects its current status quo in favoring the privileged people, who are predominantly setting the rules of the game in the industry. The power needs to be won over, but the Chinese popular cinema is still far from able to compete with its Hollywood counterpart that enjoys bigger budget, more advanced technology and higher production quality.

The contemporary Chinese popular cinema has left its traces in Hollywood, but the Chinese filmmakers going to Hollywood have always been travelling with frustrations, struggles and compromises. Although some of them have made progress in terms of changing and shaping Hollywood’s representation and consumption of Chineseness on screen, the future still remains a great challenge for the next generation filmmakers who attempt to break into the industry. In the meantime, as China becomes the new global super power, its cultural discourse will likely to follow its economic growth. Hopefully the future Chinese popular cinema will have its own international influences, without the need to seek acceptance or recognition in the Western world.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chan, Kenneth. Remade in Hollywood, The Global Chinese Presence in Transnational Cinemas; Hong Kong University Press: Hong Kong, 2009.

Chow, Rey. Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema; Columbia University Press: New York, 1995.

Horn, John. “Reel China: Land of Cinematic Opportunity.” Los Angele Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-china-film-students- 20111002,0,6820434,full.story (accessed March 1st, 2012).

Kaw, Eugenia. Medicalization of Racial Features: Asian American Women and Cosmetic Surgery. In Medical Anthropology Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Mar., 1993), pp. 74-89, http://www.jstor.org/stable/649247 (accessed March 19th, 2012).

“Mission: Impossible II.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission:_Impossible_II (accessed March 19th, 2012).

Nichols, Bill. Introduction to Documentary; Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2001.

Schaefer, Richard T, Racial and Ethnic Groups, 4th ed.; Boston: Little, Brown, 1979.

Storey, John. An Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture; The University of Georgia Press: Athens, 1993.

杨林. “2011 引进片票房分析:好莱坞大片破亿率达 3/4.” 新京报 & 时光网. http://news.mtime.com/2012/01/12/1479790.html (accessed March 1st, 2012).

李俊. “《功夫熊猫 2》这是写给中国的情书.” 外滩画报. http://www.bundpic.com/2011/05/14553.shtml (accessed March 19th, 2012)

陈星星. “中国片商讲述北美卖片经历:为养市场半年赔60万美元.”东方财经. http://finance.eastday.com/Business/m2/20110524/u1a5906933.html (accessed March 19th, 2012)

《一九四二》:当冯小刚模仿张艺谋

刚刚看完《一九四二》,一个西游记+出埃及记的沿途逃难的故事模板(The Golden Fleece),没有太多的戏剧起伏(Drama)和传统三段式故事结构(Three Act Structure)的叙事电影,没有当年的《唐山大地震》的那种震撼与煽情,取而代之的是更多的现实主义的叙事,同时又夹杂了冯氏电影的黑色幽默。和看《唐山大地震》时的泪流满面相反,我几乎是笑着看完《一九四二》的,但是笑声中带着悲伤与同情,片中无处不在的搞笑细节(比如花枝为了一块饼干主动要跟栓柱睡的那一段),是观众释放情感的最佳爆点,也是对人性最赤裸的揭示与批判,是对命运与社会的无奈与感叹。

该片对于河南饥荒这一被遗忘的历史事件的关注和重提的意义或许大于影片本身的感染力。《一九四二》以国民党时期为故事背景,但无处不反映出对当今政府的讽刺(比如官方报道河南饥荒的死亡人数是一千,但实际上有三百万,与政府对于汶川地震真实伤亡人数的报道似乎异曲同工)。这一点上,冯导还是对得起他所代表的人民大众。将影片时期设置在抗战时期,而且全片没有任何共产党的影子,这里的用意就已经十分明显了。片中的国民党也就等象征性地等同于政府。虽然时代变了,但是政府的特权与腐败却没有变化。然而,本片所呈现的价值观与意识形态却是非常消极的:好死不如赖活;人在江湖,生不由已。从这一点看,似乎有着为既得利益者辩护的嫌疑。另外,导演也有意避讳了触碰更为敏感的话题,很多批判与隐喻都是点到为止,不痛不痒。这也让当局面子好过,皆大欢喜。

由于电影是以多个人物主线,因此人物的刻画并不够强。其中最突出的两个人物应该是张默扮演的傻里傻气,但却有着一身正气的马夫栓柱,以及陈道明扮演的,对于河南饥荒问题态度摇摆不定的蒋介石。然而,两个人物都很悲情,勇敢直言的马夫是片中女人的守护神(当然,也是为了娶老婆)。他一路保护星星逃荒,直到星星为了求生,买身进了妓院,接着又和花枝做了一夜夫妻,替她看孩子。孩子在火车上被挤掉后,他又跳车一路找孩子,直到最后为了要回孩子的玩具被日本军官一刀贯喉。而蒋介石则徘徊在对河南灾民的怜悯,和在国际社会竖立良好公关(Public Relations)形象的矛盾中,陈道明的表演将该人物形象的复杂性做出很好的诠释,结尾处,蒋介石对于北伐时期的怀念意味深长。片中有抱负的人,如河南省政府主席李培基,最后都被腐败的体制所吞噬,从而无法有所作为。而受到饥荒的人们,在饥饿面前,可以抛弃了家人,孩子,贞洁,自由,和民族,以求生存。导演在这里采用了一个旁观者的角度,静静地叙述与再现这一个事实。这既是对中华文明,以及中国人劣根性的揭露与批判,却又好像是对其的辩护与开脱。就好像飞机上的日本指挥官所说的,他们首先是人,其次才是中国人。

《一九四二》的成功还在于这是《唐山大地震》之后又一部让人感动的商业片,一部商业片能够引起观众的思考已实属不已。然而,该片最让我失望的也在于此,那就是冯小刚对于市场,尤其是国际市场(西方市场)的妥协,让他几乎步了张艺谋自我东方主义的后尘。《一九四二》中加入了大量基督教传教士的内容,并且选用了的两位著名美国演员,不论是剧情和市场公关策略上,都是《金陵十三钗》的翻版。其中《时代周刊》的记者白修德是典型的带有自我东方主义的白人英雄形象,他不远万里来到中国,冒着生命危险独自到河南(第三世界,水深火热的远东)报道灾情,并不怕阻挠上访蒋介石(腐朽独裁政府的君主),以求政府救济,从而拯救河南难民。他是片中唯一的英雄,而相比之下,片中的中国男人们要么精于算计,苟且偷生(老东家,瞎鹿,老马),要么优柔寡断,没有魄力(李培基),要么天真愚昧,有勇无谋(小安和拴住)。好在冯小刚比张艺谋多了根傲骨,没有自我阉割(张艺谋的电影里要么出卖中国女人的身体,要么用中国男人身体的缺失为西方男人提供意淫的视点)。《一九四二》中的白人英雄并没有捧得东方女人归,而且片子结尾的字幕还提到里,这个普利策奖得主活着回到美国,却被麦卡锡主义给整死了。

而另外带着爱尔兰加法国意大利口音的白人神父的角色,也是可有可无的鸡肋角色。然而,冯小刚比张艺谋更有骨气和高明的一点在于,他悬崖勒马,最后关头给上帝开了个玩笑。当被问到,“如果恶魔总是赢,为什么还要跟随上帝?”老神父无言以对,只好伪善地话题一转,“你累了么?”所以,该片对于宗教的思索浅尝辄止,实则是调侃和讽刺,而背后的商业动机则是用“西方元素”来吸引西方视线。

和李安对于宗教的敬畏不同,冯小刚的宗教观点(Religious View)是“宗教是愚昧和虚伪的”,这迎合了广大中国观众的价值观,毕竟绝大多数的中国人都是“无神论者,”而虔诚操着河南口音的基督徒也一直是以滑稽,愚昧的形象出现。事实上,美国的评论家们对于冯导的“大礼”也并不买账。有趣的是,美国评论家们对于老神父那场戏的解读是,冯小刚并未给老神父这个角色关于上帝无作为的问题提供一个有效的答案。

历史证明,模仿张艺谋的自我阉割策略在欧洲电影节或许行得通,可是到了北美是没有好下场的。上一次,冯小刚和张艺谋的《黄金甲》打擂,拍摄了莎翁戏剧《哈姆雷特》改编的古装剧《夜宴》,试图借用西方的故事冲击奥斯卡,结果却让人大跌眼镜,让人怀疑冯小刚是否创意殆尽。

《唐山大地震》虽然好评如潮,用民族创伤作为票房秘方,成为中国有史以来最受欢迎,票房最高的大众电影,但是剧情中关于救儿子还是女儿的内容却有着美国奥斯卡提名影片,纳粹犹太集中营题材电影《苏菲的抉择》的影子。而该片在美国票房,同样遭遇了滑铁卢。

想当年,曾经红极一时的《不见不散》大有异化美国的“西方主义”气概。而如今,中国最有民族主义意识的大众电影导演也难免开始有了向好莱坞点头哈腰,求分票房一杯羹的迹象了。希望冯导能就此打住,否则,东方主义或许又要复辟了。

Asian Americanness in an Adopted Home City

A Film Review of The Namesake同名人

It has been a long time since I felt touched in U.S. until I watched this film tonight. I was kept in the mood of being in the cinema and I could stop myself from hitting on two Bengali-like strangers on the Cambus about the film. Unlike “Slumdog Millionaire”, which stuffs flashbacks of the ghetto memories into a pastiche of TV quiz show clues with perfect beats and well-shaped structures, “The Namesake” drags its audiences into the story without a hint of formalism. Setups are non-detectable until they are reinforced again in the second half of the film. The story flows naturally, starting with the Father’s encounter of a train wreck, the inspiration and encouragement to see the world that he got from the old man who is not lucky enough to survive, and his complex of Nikolai Gogol.

“Everything after that is a gift.” The father says to his confusing son, whose name, rather than identity, seems to be more bothersome to himself. The film develops as the son gradually finds his Asia Americanness of being in a second generation of an immigrant family.

Racism is merely mentioned. Xenophobia is overwhelmed by nostalgia. The filmmaker attempts to deal with life in the context of an immigration family in New York city, and it is successful in shunning from the conventional Asian American films that are politically and ideologically stressed. The film achieves the epistemological level of finding freeness as its final resolution – Ashima’s going back to her homeland and learning singing from the master again.

中国十大禁播影片与世界十大禁播影片

一. 中国十大禁播影片

1.《蓝风筝》(1993年)

获日 本东京国际电影节大奖。以悲哀、灰暗的基调讲述几十年的故土旧事,透视埋在历史灰烬下的人的命运,审查未通过即参赛,导致中国电影代表团退出东京电影节。因诋毁社会主义形象,诋毁之政党形象,该片迄今不能获准上映。

2.《活着》(1994年)

获戛纳国际电影节评委会奖和男演员奖。根据余华小说改编,表现人在极端艰难的生存环境下可悲的顽强和坚韧,因诋毁社会主义法制,诋毁政党执政能力,迄今不能公映.

3.《邮差》(1995年)

这部电影是导演何建军得到鹿特丹电影节的一个基金的资助拍摄,并在欧洲完成后期制作的。这就决定了本片不可能在国内获得放映的机会。从国外电影节或电影基金获取资金支持是不少青年电影导演的基本运作方式,也是他们完成的电影无法与观众见面的重要原因。涉嫌诋毁中国官员形象。

4.《东宫、西宫》(1996年)

获阿根廷国际电影节最佳导演、编剧、摄影大奖。根据王小波的小说改编,讲述一对同性恋者复杂的心路历程,因诋毁社会主义形象,涉嫌宣传腐化思维,迄今未被准许上映。

5.《小武》(1997年)

导演贾樟柯凭借《小武》在国际影坛一举成名,成为青年导演中后来居上的代表人物。他的拍片方式与其他一些人并无二致,都是走国际融资与发行的道路,基本与本土电影市场不发生任何关系。在国内,《小武》及其他类似的电影作品,因诋毁政党形象,涉嫌煽动都是通过盗版VCD的形式与观众见面。

6.《赵先生》(1998年)

本片获第51届瑞士洛迦诺电影节“金豹奖”导演:吕乐

摄影:王大麟

主演:施京明张芝华陈怡南蒋雯丽

第5代最杰出的摄影师之一吕乐试图通过拍摄处女作《赵先生》,像他的同门师兄张艺谋一样成功转型成电影导演。但这一努力却并未取得太大的成效,虽然本片在瑞士洛加诺电影节获得金奖,不过因诋毁社会主义形象在国内被禁映。

他执导的第二部电影《小说》据说因为情节晦涩,映射中国百姓悲惨生活,也处在封存状态中。

7.《过年回家》(1999年)

获1999年第56届意大利威尼斯电影节最佳导演奖。这是一个关于宽容和爱的故事,主人公过年回家,倾诉了17年的难言人生。因诋毁社会主义形象,导演张元受到处罚。

8.《鬼子来了》(2000年)

获戛纳国际电影节评委会奖。影片以独特的视角揭露了日 本军国主义者的凶残本性,圈内口碑不错,因没有突出某些政治派别的良好形象,迄今不能公映。

9.《苏州河》(2000年)

获荷兰鹿特丹国际电影节最佳影片奖、日 本银座影展大奖。影片以王家卫的电影风格叙述了一个爱情悲剧故事,表现对爱的执著和爱之意义的探讨。因首先在台湾上映遭禁映。

10.《十七岁的单车》(2000年)

该片是第六代导演代表人物王小帅的最新作品。王小帅在没有拿到审片结论之前便携片参加了柏林国际电影节,虽赢得一尊银熊,却被禁止在国内公映。

二. 世界十大禁播影片

1.《索多玛120天》Salo or The 120 days of Sodom (1975年首映)

这大概是有史以来最具有争议,最令人触目惊心的一部电影。改编自法国著名作家萨特(marquisdesade)1970年的同名小说。故事讲述二次大战即将结束时意大利北部的一个小城,四个中年人劫持了18名少男少女,把他们关押在一栋别墅里,对他们肆意侮辱、虐待、折磨、杀害的过程。其中还穿插四个妓女不停地对这些孩子讲着下流的故事。电影的写实手法使许多镜头令人难以容忍。

这部电影由意大利著名导演,被称为“三尼”之一的帕索里尼(pierpasolini)执导(另外“两尼”是费里尼和安东尼奥尼)。这也是帕索里尼拍摄的最后一部电影。他在这部电影公开上映之前不久,被人在罗马凶残地杀死。据说凶手杀人的原因就是因为这部电影!如果该电影不是帕索里尼所拍,一定会被当成垃圾。但是帕索里尼这样的大导演为什么要拍这个电影,他到底想告诉观众什么?对此问题的争论近30年来一直没有停止过,遗憾的是,帕索里尼本人无法亲自出来回答了。

正是由於这部电影的争议性,一开始就被许多国家禁演。允许该片上映的国家也做了很多删节。到目前为止,只有criterioncollection曾经公开发行过未删节的全本。因此可以说是洛阳纸贵,网上未开封的原碟已经炒到1000美元以上。

2.《操我》Baise-moi (2000年首映)

另外一部法国电影。影片讲述两个来自不同世界的女人因为共同的遭遇和经历一起走上了逃亡的旅途,一条杀人,寻找性满足的不归路。影片充满色情和凶杀,但你看过之后绝对不会认为这仅仅是一部简单的色情凶杀片。

这是一部好莱坞永远不会拍的电影,也是一部颠覆传统电影假戏真做的电影。两位女主角以前都曾经是成人电影的演员,所以在片中演出赤裸裸的床戏可以说是驾轻就熟。但这又不完全是部色情片,导演正是要用这种特殊的手法来展现俩人生活中曾经遭遇过的残忍,和由此产生的把男人当成性工具的变态心理。用一句话来形容就是:女人比男人更凶残。

该片的最大争议在于挑战了当今电影分级制度的底线,对今后类似题材电影的拍摄方式造成冲击:演员演出床戏时为了真实,真的需要自己真枪实刀的身体力行吗?

3.《不可撤消》Irréversible (2002年首映)

一直对法国电影十分青睐。中国人比较熟悉的《老枪》、《玛丽亚万岁》、《卡桑德拉大桥》等都饱含人性的光采和浪漫的情调。但是,看过这部极具争议的法国电影后,会颠覆你对法国电影的传统看法。据说该片第一次在canne电影节上演时,有几百观众因为无法忍受其中近十分钟的强暴场面而中途退场。其中灭火器一段的暴力情节更是令人触目惊心。影片开始30分钟的画面和音乐也是争议的一部分。

影片由法国红星monicabellucci和vincentcassel主演(俩人也是生活中的真实夫妻)。故事情节用倒叙的方式展开,讲述两个男人到一家同性恋酒吧找一个叫tenio的人复仇的过程,由此再道出俩人复仇的原因,以及两个男人和一个女人之间的情感故事。

你如果是心脏不好,或者容易呕吐,请最好别看这部电影。

4.《罗马帝国艳情史》Caligola (1979年首映)

caligola是罗马帝国最荒淫,残暴的皇帝之一。这部史诗般的大制作影片描述了这位暴君从杀父篡位到死于乱戟之下的短暂一生,和其中所犯下的种种罪恶和荒淫。影片由意大利著名色情片导演tintobrass执导,演员包括malcolmmcdowell,petero`toole,johngielgud,和helenmirren(著名的莎士比亚剧演员),由色情出版商penthouse赞助。

这部带有强烈色情背景的电影不一定会绝后,但一定是空前的。它完成于西方性解放的高峰时期,正是由于该电影的上映,许多国家开始施行更为严厉的电影审查和分级制度。色情片也开始真正从主流电影中退出。到目前为止,还没有任何一部电影能够拍的如此大气,同时大尺度开放地把人类各种丑恶行径融于一体。

这是一部会在电影史上留下痕迹的,独特的电影。尽管一直充满著争议。

5.《感官世界》Ainocorrida(In the Realm of the Senses) (1976年首映)

这是日 本电影,但是未删节的原版在日 本至今仍被禁演。故事描写的是二战时期日 本偏远山村一个女佣和男主人之间惊心动魄的爱情故事。特别是本片触目惊心的结尾,可以说是即在情理之中,又在想象之外。

该片是根据一个真实的事件改编的。当时这个事件曾轰动整个日 本。这个电影所描写的爱情模式,对后来日 本文学影响深远。几年前轰动一时的渡边淳一的小说《失乐园》,就曾受到这部电影的影响。这个电影可以让你相信幸福和悲剧常常就在一念之间,乐极是要生悲的。

6.《魔法圣婴》The Baby of Mâcon (1993年首映)

你如果看过《枕头书》这部电影,就一定对petergreenaway这位导演拍片的独特风格有所了解。这是一位极具争议的导演,崇拜他的人说,如果世界上有诺贝尔电影导演奖的话,greenaway一定是当之无愧。反对他的人则认为他拍的电影完全是浪费金钱,整个垃圾一堆。总之,这是一位超越时代的电影大师。

这部影片则是他拍的最触目惊心的一部电影。故事以greenaway擅长的舞台剧的形式展开:当一个处女生了一个婴儿,整个世界所有的秩序和规范都全部荡然无存时,这个世界会是个什么样子?

和大多数电影把色情和暴力作为卖点不同,greenaway对贩卖色情和暴力没有兴趣。他是用这些元素,以自己的方式来演绎世界末日的景象。无论你看过这部电影后是什么感觉,这都是一部很独特的电影,一部cult电影,如果你知道cult的涵义。

7.《杀人不分左右》The Last House on the Left (1972年首映)

该片是美国著名恐怖电影导演wescraven(scream, anightmareonelmstreet)的处女作和成名作,也是他最具争议的一部电影。故事讲的是四个罪恶累累的恶棍劫持了两个中产家庭的少女,把她们囚禁在离她们家不远的一座房子里进行轮暴,虐待,折磨,最后残忍地杀害。随后他们无意中逃到其中一个被害女孩的家里躲避追捕。孩子的父母在弄清楚这些人就是杀害他们女儿的罪犯后,把他们灌醉,然后用更加残暴的方式来惩罚这些恶棍,为女儿复仇。

这部电影最大的特点就是真实,残忍的真实。以至于你在观看时要不断提醒自己:这只是一部电影!这只是一部电影!这只是一部电影!其中的特技为后来其它许多恐怖片所采用或是效仿。作为一部30多年前的电影,它对于后来美国恐怖电影的走向有深远影响。

再重复一遍:这是一部恐怖电影,但只是一部电影,尽管曾被许多国家禁演。

8.《迷上瘾》Requiem for a Dream (2000年首映)

这是一部看后让你在内心流泪的那种电影。你好像不是在“观看”,而是在“体验”。影片讲述四个人为追求自己幸福的真实经历。追求满足是人类最大的愿望。但是当这种愿望变成了瘾以后,你就开始失去自己,变得不可自拔。你的尊严,人性,和对生活的期望就一点点地被剥离。人,最后就变成了不再有灵魂,有尊严的一个躯壳。

这是一部不是好莱坞风格的美国电影,是一部震撼人心的佳作。它的触目惊心主要不是视觉的,而是心灵的,你会在看完以后永远记住这个电影里的故事。

9.《切肤之爱》Oodishon (Audition) (2000年首映)

一个中年丧偶的男人通过录音的方式选择自己的意中人,于是迷上了其中一个文静清秀的女孩。开始了浪漫的旅程,然后竟是意想不到的结局。

听上去象部爱情剧?告诉你,这是一部恐怖片。但绝不是好莱坞能拍出来的恐怖片。该片是日 本新一代导演miike的代表作。

该片曾被世界上11位最著名的电影评论人推选为2000年10部最佳电影之一。这部集神秘、惊悚、恐怖为一体的电影在大部分都好像是一部轻喜剧,但又悬念重重,以至于观众老想知道接下来会怎样?在这个过程中,恐怖的元素已经不知不觉地潜到了你的脑海里。当最后那东方式的变态恐怖一幕一幕接踵而来时,你已经不能自拔,只有跟着一起毛骨悚然,目瞪口呆!

你如果不喜欢恐怖片,最好不要看这个电影。如果不反感,那么这是从故事到技巧都很好的一部作品。特别是故事的结构,把梦境和现实混在一起,让你看完以后还要想上半天。

最后再提一句,你如果一直对外表清纯温柔的日 本女人抱有好感,那么看过这部电影以后大概就不会这么想了,呵呵。

10.《我唾弃你的坟墓》I Spit on your Grave (1978年首映)

这可能是被最多国家禁演的电影。也是最遭非议、最臭名昭著的一部电影。导演兼编剧meirzarchi在电影上映后的很长一段时间里对各种议论保持沉默。但值得注意的是,片中女主角camillekeaton在演晚此片后不多久就变成了zarchi夫人。

故事讲述一个单身女人在渡假时遭到四个男人的强暴后,痛定思痛,用不同的方式将四个男人以不同的方式逐一杀死,以出心头的那口恶气。这是一部典型的色情加暴力的平庸之作。如果你是位女权主义者,那么这部电影一定会让你觉得扬眉吐气。但我的忠告是,单身女人最好还是不要一个人出去渡假。

该片之所以入选,完全是因为它符合“最具争议和最令人触目惊心”两个标准。特别是近20分钟的强暴场面和女人杀死男人的不同方式,在70年代的电影作品中算是非常触目惊心的。