an analytical film paper
Select ONE Question:
1. Compare the two films Rush Hour and Romeo Must Die in terms of Black/Asian masculinities in opposition. According to Gayle Wald Rush Hour while attempting to affirm a cross – racial solidarity ends up allowing subtle racisms to exist on both sides by the Jackie Chan character and the Chris Tucker character. How do these subtle underpinnings in the film, according to Wald reinforce dominant “nationalist discourse” rather than the multiculturalism that is supposedly offered through the film? What kind of subtle and not-so subtle racisms exist in Romeo Must Die according to James Kim who suggests, that the hyper masculinized, unruly Black masculinities and Black bodies are controlled, disciplined by the “model minority” masculinity of Han in Romeo Must Die. Include very specific examples brief relevant quotations from the required readings.
2. Compare the films Romeo Must Die and Once Upon A Time in China and America with specific examples to analyze how race and gender are represented in each film. According to James Kim, Romeo Must Die represents Black masculinities as hyper masculine and antagonistic while Asian masculinity in Han is left bland and “identityless”. Kim adds that Han is not a refreshing alternative to stereotyped Asian males, but “an errand boy” for the dominant culture and one whose masculinity is Legitimized at the expense of the African American male—i.e. Maurice and Mac. How is Asian masculinity represented in Once Upon A Time in China and America compared to the above film? Contrary to the masculine antagonisms of the above film, Once Upon A Time in China and America there seems to be an attempt at creating a transnational Chinese identity and solidarity across ethnicity and race and even gender is renegotiated through Aunt Yee. Discuss the Asian masculine figure is renegotiated through Aunt Yee. Discuss the Asian masculine figure of kung fu marital artist at the center of the “Western” genre (the cowboy film) who can be seen as a powerful figure of masculinity, through whom different races can come together. In your discussion include Billy and the Native Americans. Include very specific examples from the film and brief relevant quotations from the required readings.
3. Discuss how the strong female characters in martial arts films like Yes, Madam and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon demonstrate the potential to disrupt and challenge the power of masculinity and show its inconsistencies. Writing about Yes, Madam, Kwai cheung-Lo states, “these martial arts women’s ‘female masculinity’… constructs for them an ambivalent subject position…The real impact of female masculinity resides in its being feminine and masculine at the same time- a female who derives masculinity not from her own but from the patriarchal norm, her masculinity simultaneously supporting and transgressing the norm from within.” Discuss the transgressive potential of female characters played by Inspector Ng and Inspector Carrie in Yes, Madam and Jade Fox, Jen Yu and Shu Lien in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Discuss the potential of the characters to subvert and interrogate masculine power. Include very specific examples from the film and brief relevant quotations from the required readings.
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