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Reblogged from danapolis  439 notes

danapolis:

sometimes i like to sit here and remember that in the year 2012 of our lord, the watchowski siblings directed a film that had yellowface in it. not as a commentary or satire (not that either of those would be ok either) but just because they couldn’t be bothered to find some asian dudes and wanted to fucking tape back hugo weaving’s eyes instead.

amazing.

Reblogged from whitewashme  98 notes

Messages Across the Ages: Thoughts on “Cloud Atlas”

whitewashme:

Jim-Sturgess-and-Doona-Bae-in-Cloud-Atlas_gallery_primaryHugh-Grant-Doona-Bae-and-Jim-Sturgess-in-Cloud-Atlas_gallery_primary

The fifth storyline, and perhaps the most troubling storyline, is the story of Somni-451, set in Neo-Seoul, the 22nd century.

I want to say this, first, before I begin: Neo-Seoul didn’t have to be so. It could have been anywhere else and it would have been the exact same story. As it is, Neo-Seoul draws up all the Asian stereotypes that have haunted Asian Americans in media since media has existed.

In Neo-Seoul, Papa Song serves up fast food and genetically engineered Korean woman to patrons. These Korean women are only slightly varied in appearance and features, being genetic clones of one another, easily manufactured and replaced. Not only does this reinforce the idea that all Asians are the same, but it also reinforces that stereotype of the beautiful lotus blossom, the beautiful Asian prostitute whose doll-like appearance allows her to be swapped for another person. The Asian women are stripped not only of their personal agency, but of their physical agency as well–they are predetermined from birth to look and act a certain way, to be used for the pleasure of men who view them as objects and consumer items. Somni-451 even says, “Honor thy consumer,” which sounds suspiciously like the Biblical saying, “Honor thy father” but also the Confucian ideal of honoring one’s family.

The film’s depiction of Asian women is not one of its only faults. The major problem I had with this whole storyline is, of course, the yellowface in which Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, and James D’arsy are depicted. Their eyes are made to look narrow and slimmer and their noses changed. Jim Sturgess plays Hae-Joo Chang, a revolutionary who frees Somni-451 from her daily routine of being a fast food server. While this is a typical storyline in a dystopic story, its meaning becomes eclipsed in Hae-Joo Chang’s uncanny resemblance to Adam Ewing and the other characters Jim Sturgess plays because, unlike the other characters Jim Sturgess plays, Hae-Joo Chang is Korean while Jim Sturgess is not.

Make-up and 3D effects can improve film and television by leaps and bounds. What was previously impossible has become possible. That does not mean that filmmakers should throw all caution to the wind. Yellowface was offensive in The Good Earth, when White actors and actresses played Asian characters, and yellowface is still offensive now, when a perfectly good Korean actor could have played “Hae-Joo Chang.” It is even more insulting when one takes the other yellowfaced characters into consideration. The Archivist, the one interviewing Somni-451 as she recalls her life and involvement with Hae-Joo Chang, is played by James D’arsy. There is no reason why he couldn’t have been played by a Korean actor.

Read More

Reblogged from mohandasgandhi  218 notes
mohandasgandhi:

No, no, Huffintgon Post, that’s not a question.
The two directors of the film don’t quite seem to get it:

For their part, the Wachowksis understand the criticism, but hope people will actually see the film first to better understand the significance of the decision.
“That’s good that people are casting a critical eye. We need to cast critical eyes toward these things. What are the motivations behind directors and casting? I totally support it,” Andy Wachowski told HuffPost Entertainment. “But our intention is the antithesis of that idea. The intention is to talk about things that are beyond race. The character of this film is humanity, so if you look at our past work and consider what our intention might be, we ask that those people give us a chance and at least see the movie before they start casting judgement.
Echoed Lana Wachowski: “Their suggestion is that our tribes have to always remain separate. That the things that makes us different are essential elements to our representation and our identity. Why we were attracted to the book is that the book has a bigger perspective. The book suggests that there is a humanity that is beyond our tribe, our ethnic features. A humanity that is beyond our gender. A humanity that unites all of us and transcends our tribal differences. As long as we continue to build these intractable and insurmountable walls between us to make these distinctions, we will continue to have intellectual apparatus that allows us to make wars and that allows to dominate, exploit and destroy others. Because we don’t think of them like we think about our own kind, our own tribe.”

The way to “look past race,” which is another way to describe “colorblindness,” or the ineffective neo-liberal approach to racism, is to utilize traditionally racist depictions of East Asians and incorporate yellowface into a film to accomplish the goal of showing our inner humanity for one another? I’m not quite sure they thought this through entirely.

mohandasgandhi:

No, no, Huffintgon Post, that’s not a question.

The two directors of the film don’t quite seem to get it:

For their part, the Wachowksis understand the criticism, but hope people will actually see the film first to better understand the significance of the decision.

“That’s good that people are casting a critical eye. We need to cast critical eyes toward these things. What are the motivations behind directors and casting? I totally support it,” Andy Wachowski told HuffPost Entertainment. “But our intention is the antithesis of that idea. The intention is to talk about things that are beyond race. The character of this film is humanity, so if you look at our past work and consider what our intention might be, we ask that those people give us a chance and at least see the movie before they start casting judgement.

Echoed Lana Wachowski: “Their suggestion is that our tribes have to always remain separate. That the things that makes us different are essential elements to our representation and our identity. Why we were attracted to the book is that the book has a bigger perspective. The book suggests that there is a humanity that is beyond our tribe, our ethnic features. A humanity that is beyond our gender. A humanity that unites all of us and transcends our tribal differences. As long as we continue to build these intractable and insurmountable walls between us to make these distinctions, we will continue to have intellectual apparatus that allows us to make wars and that allows to dominate, exploit and destroy others. Because we don’t think of them like we think about our own kind, our own tribe.”

The way to “look past race,” which is another way to describe “colorblindness,” or the ineffective neo-liberal approach to racism, is to utilize traditionally racist depictions of East Asians and incorporate yellowface into a film to accomplish the goal of showing our inner humanity for one another? I’m not quite sure they thought this through entirely.

To tell you the story, I was in a costume fitting with [director] Tom Tykwer trying to bring Jocasta to life, and he was bringing out one costume after the next to try them on.

He was like, “Oh, you look so beautiful, you must have worn dresses like this from 1932 before.” And I just looked at him and I said, “You think I have, really? You think so? As an actor, you think I’ve done this before?”

All the sudden, he goes, “Oh you’re black; you’re not really white. You wouldn’t have been this kind of woman in 1935 ever, right?”

By

Halle Berry sharing an anecdote from filming Cloud Atlas.    Later in the interview she says:

Berry says the chance to throw out former notions of what she was eligible for as an actress was a big reason she joined the project in the first place

“I did love being turned into Dr. Ovid,” the actress remarks about her scenes playing an Asian man. “Never before in my life would I ever have thought anybody would ever hire me to be an Asian man for any reason.”

There may be all this race and ethnicity switching in the movie, but same treatment does not mean it is equal. Sameness is not fairness. Halle Berry and Bae Doona wearing making up to look white? That action has no historical oppression behind it; it has not barred white people from enjoying great roles. Tom Hanks and Hugo Weaving portraying women? It’s been done since Shakespeare’s time (probably before his time) but not to the extent that women aren’t prevented from playing rich, complex roles today (although honestly the roles which women could play can still improve).

However, white actors being made up to look Asian? THAT has history steeped in systematic racism which still effect Asian American actors today (often a sad choice between playing stereotypical roles or simply being a background/invisible). Cloud Atlas is only perpetuating that systematic racism. The fact that they resorted to yellowface is not negated just because it is pillowed by other switching acts because these acts don’t carry the same history of oppression as yellowface does. That history can’t and doesn’t magically disappear within the context of the film. And the film can’t be treated like it’s in a vacuum of space and time - it’s situated in the bigger picture of today’s society where we can’t deny that there is a painful lack of Asian Americans in the media.

So why - why is the context of the movie privileged over the context of our society where Asian Americans are continued to be discriminated against?

By

-Nicole Mango, on the Racebending Facebook page, on the yellowface in Cloud Atlas.

"why is the context of the movie privileged over the context of our society where Asian Americans are continued to be discriminated against?"

Reblogged from koreamjournal  576 notes
koreamjournal:

‘Cloud Atlas’ Slammed for Lack of Asian Actors, ‘Yellow Face’ Makeup By Advocacy GroupHollywood Reporter

“In the modern age of movie make up, it is disturbing to see poorly done Asian eye prosthetics to make Caucasian men look Asian,” the Media Action Network for Asian Americans said.


The problem with Cloud Atlas is not that the make up was “poorly done” or that in addition to eyelids the make up artists should have also changed the “facial structure and complexion,” to improve the quality of the yellowface.   Also wincing at the “would you have done this to black people?” question.

koreamjournal:

‘Cloud Atlas’ Slammed for Lack of Asian Actors, ‘Yellow Face’ Makeup By Advocacy Group
Hollywood Reporter

“In the modern age of movie make up, it is disturbing to see poorly done Asian eye prosthetics to make Caucasian men look Asian,” the Media Action Network for Asian Americans said.

The problem with Cloud Atlas is not that the make up was “poorly done” or that in addition to eyelids the make up artists should have also changed the “facial structure and complexion,” to improve the quality of the yellowface.   Also wincing at the “would you have done this to black people?” question.

    Vocalo 89.5 Interviews Racebending about Cloud Atlas

    The multimillion-dollar blockbuster “Cloud Atlas”—written and directed by the creators of The Matrix trilogy—has stirred up some controversy with its use of yellowface, a racist practice in which white actors dress up to look Asian. Overdrive intern Mia Warren discusses the movie’s questionable representations with Mike Le, the media liaison for the website Racebending.

    Click above to listen to the interview!

    • Plays: 409
Reblogged from sonicorca  257 notes
sonicorca:

god-my-oh:

an-irresistibly-sexy-person:

god-my-oh:

sonicorca:

michaeldantedimartino:

David Mitchell is quickly becoming my new favorite author. This is part philosophical exploration of civilization, violence, corporate america, freedom, art, and reincarnation. But all the stories that make up the whole are each fascinating and exciting in their own right, with complex main characters and thrilling plots. And I love that you get all kinds of genres and styles in this book — historical fiction, sci-fi, dystopia, 1970s conspiracy thriller… It’s one of those books that satisfies in ways novels these days rarely do. I was in awe how it all came together on the very last pages. Really looking forward to how this is adapted into a movie.

When I first saw the trailer I thought the premise was really interesting, haven’t gotten a chance to read the book yet but it’s definitely on my list!
Unfortunately there are reports that the film, instead of casting Asian American actors (who already rarely get a chance to star in major roles) chose to digitally alter white actors’ faces to make them look Asian instead. While they’ll tout this as new advancement for CG, all I can see is a new modern form of yellow-face. I don’t think I’ll be seeing the film, which is a shame since the trailer looked promising.

They did cast some Asian actors who will be playing lead roles and also some white characters (and one of them, Doona Bae, apparently got the biggest applause in Toronto). I guess the racebending-all-around might put people off on principle, but at the very least you can’t say this was Last Airbender-style discrimination.

Except the problem is that they only select Asian actors/actresses as extras or minor characters to be “saved” by the white guy in yellowface. Yellowface is really racist. That’s not the same thing as racebending, because Asian features (which are completely stereotyped and inaccurate the way they’re portrayed by the yellowfacing in the movie btw) are not costumes you can take on and off.

Only minor characters? Somni’s the main character in the future Korea story.

I think it’s quite commendable that they did cast her in a main role, however if they are capable of casting her, they are also capable of finding other Asian actors to play these parts instead of having to resort to some awful looking CG that is not convincing at all and resorts to stereotypes to define them as a certain race. (slanted eyes much?) Just because they did something right doesn’t excuse them from being racist and problematic. While I think the production values and quality of the story in this film will definitely trump TLA, the racism issue should be taken just as seriously as it was in TLA.

Originally, the directors of Cloud Atlas planned to cast Natalie Portman to play Somni.
After Asian American advocacy groups advised against that whitewashed casting, they reconsidered.
And then they gave us yellowface instead.
The Cloud Atlas adaptation had the potential to be amazing.  Instead, the use of yellowface in the film undermines the story’s humanist message.

sonicorca:

god-my-oh:

an-irresistibly-sexy-person:

god-my-oh:

sonicorca:

michaeldantedimartino:

David Mitchell is quickly becoming my new favorite author. This is part philosophical exploration of civilization, violence, corporate america, freedom, art, and reincarnation. But all the stories that make up the whole are each fascinating and exciting in their own right, with complex main characters and thrilling plots. And I love that you get all kinds of genres and styles in this book — historical fiction, sci-fi, dystopia, 1970s conspiracy thriller… It’s one of those books that satisfies in ways novels these days rarely do. I was in awe how it all came together on the very last pages. Really looking forward to how this is adapted into a movie.

When I first saw the trailer I thought the premise was really interesting, haven’t gotten a chance to read the book yet but it’s definitely on my list!

Unfortunately there are reports that the film, instead of casting Asian American actors (who already rarely get a chance to star in major roles) chose to digitally alter white actors’ faces to make them look Asian instead. While they’ll tout this as new advancement for CG, all I can see is a new modern form of yellow-face. I don’t think I’ll be seeing the film, which is a shame since the trailer looked promising.

They did cast some Asian actors who will be playing lead roles and also some white characters (and one of them, Doona Bae, apparently got the biggest applause in Toronto). I guess the racebending-all-around might put people off on principle, but at the very least you can’t say this was Last Airbender-style discrimination.

Except the problem is that they only select Asian actors/actresses as extras or minor characters to be “saved” by the white guy in yellowface. Yellowface is really racist. That’s not the same thing as racebending, because Asian features (which are completely stereotyped and inaccurate the way they’re portrayed by the yellowfacing in the movie btw) are not costumes you can take on and off.

Only minor characters? Somni’s the main character in the future Korea story.

I think it’s quite commendable that they did cast her in a main role, however if they are capable of casting her, they are also capable of finding other Asian actors to play these parts instead of having to resort to some awful looking CG that is not convincing at all and resorts to stereotypes to define them as a certain race. (slanted eyes much?) Just because they did something right doesn’t excuse them from being racist and problematic. While I think the production values and quality of the story in this film will definitely trump TLA, the racism issue should be taken just as seriously as it was in TLA.

Originally, the directors of Cloud Atlas planned to cast Natalie Portman to play Somni.

After Asian American advocacy groups advised against that whitewashed casting, they reconsidered.

And then they gave us yellowface instead.

The Cloud Atlas adaptation had the potential to be amazing.  Instead, the use of yellowface in the film undermines the story’s humanist message.

Reblogged from thekevinmarshall  54 notes

A response to another inquiry re: Cloud Atlas

thekevinmarshall:

(re-posted by request; original answer here)

How exactly is putting makeup on a white actor to make them look Asian racist? Would it also be racist to make an Asian actor look white? Isn’t racism defined as the belief that one race is superior to all others? If so, how is Cloud Atlas being racist? You keep using the term “Yellowface” in the same way the term “Blackface” is used, though the term blackface was popularized by the 19th century minstrel shows which purposely mocked African-Americans. I see no mockery of Asians in Cloud Atlas.

Okay, firstly…

“How exactly is putting makeup on a white actor to make them look Asian racist? ”

…seriously?

You keep using the term “Yellowface” in the same way the term “Blackface” is used, though the term blackface was popularized by the 19th century minstrel shows which purposely mocked African-Americans. I see no mockery of Asians in Cloud Atlas.

I didn’t invent the term yellowface. For more information, here might be a good starting point. And this and this and this and this and oh you get the idea.

There’s precedence. It’s a long, ugly history, and it’s perpetuated through ignorance and outright prejudiced thinking.

You’re attempting to define racism and prejudice through a very narrow lens here, but what it comes down to is you’re not offended or, perhaps more importantly, you don’t want other people to be offended. Which I do and don’t get.

I have the benefit of being 30 and totally over the whole concept being a fanboy for total bullshit that I need to defend if anyone slights it in any way. In other words, I know where you’re coming from. But just because it’s not an intentionally malicious place doesn’t mean it isn’t a really ugly one.

Reblogged from eleanorfknguthrie  18 notes

redrubyridinghood:

ladyofmany replied to your post: I THOUGHT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ALIENS. Pretty much reread every article I could be find when I learned that they were supposed to be Asian. I just don’t see the sense in any of it. Forget the fact that someone made the conscious decision to be like, “I got this. Yellowface.” wouldn’t it have been easier and faster to just get Asian actors? Don’t the actors have to spend hours in the makeup chair getting that dumb ass makeup put on? Come on, Hollywood.

The trailer just reminded me of Inception’s brother shot up on acid, or something. It probably would have been easier to follow if there were the different faces for the universes. They definitely did not try with that makeup. It’s just a sad mess.

i haven’t even seen the trailer. i don’t even want to, i think it’s going to be so horrendous.

but the writer even said that it’s basically one soul in six lives, and you could tell they were the same person because of a birthmark. that would’ve been so much easier to do make-up wise on different actors than shit yellowface on a few actors.

and it pisses me off even more that they like, filled their quota of asian actors with the two they already have in the film. it’s like, “oh, we filled our diversity hire requirements with halle berry and our two asian actresses, so instead of having more diversity in our film, let’s just use yellowface on our white guys and call it a diversity day”.

and it got a ten-minute standing ovation at its premiere.

theishtargate:

Forgive my post, but as I have just finished one of the best books I’ve read all year, I feel I must defend it. To begin, I should say that I’ve been tracking the tag for Cloud Atlas- which is what this is all about. I’ve noticed some rightfully agitated people posting about the film and claiming it is absurd that Jim Sturgess should be cast as an Asian man. I feel I must defend the book, though it’s not necessarily place, as I’ve grown so attached to it. Here goes, simple and brief:

The book deals with themes of “eternal recurrence” as the book puts it. That is to say reincarnation, even betwixt nationalities. Thus the casting director and directors of the film faced a difficult dilemma when casting the characters now portrayed by Jim Sturgess; they could either cast two different actors and disregard the novel’s important theme of “eternal recurrence” or make one actor first appear to be American, then later in the film, Korean- Thus making the film more true to the book. 

I hope this clears things up.

By “eternal recurrence” does the book mean the eternal recurrence of the enduring practice of dressing up white people to depict people of color?

Because otherwise, I call shenanigans.

To make all the race-bending more fun, Jim Sturgess also transforms into an Asian character.

By Line from Yahoo’s media coverage of “Cloud Atlas.” While the term “racebending” (can you believe when we first coined it, it was only in reference to a specific movie?) is becoming more visible, there’s some context-fail in this sentence. Sigh. Yellowface makes things more fun. More fun for whom?