Saturday, July 30, 2016

TGIF FEATURE: Matt Damon saves China

Matt Damon - the Great White Savior

IN THE great Hollywood tradition of the Great White Savior, from Tarzan to Dances With Wolves to The Last Samurai, we can now look forward to The Great Wall where another white man saves those apparently incapable people of color.

Maybe the studios thought everybody would be tuned into the Democratic National Convention which featured the historic nomination of a woman candidate for President of the U.S., that no one would be notice the release of the first stills and trailer from The Great Wall. Yes, we're referring to THE Great Wall in China.)

But in this era of #OscarsSoWhite and #WhiteWashedOut, it couldn't be noticed that the hero of the movie made in China, produced by Chinese studios and with a loose pollen of saving China looks an awful like Matt Damon.

Of course, such a transgression and insult could not go by without being noticed by actress Constance Wu, an outspoken critic of whitewashing.

In her post, Wu wrote: “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time. We don’t need salvation. We like our color and our culture and our strengths and our own stories.”


“Remember, it’s not about blaming individuals ... Rather, it’s about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC (people of color) and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength.”
It needs to be pointed out The Great Wall is not a historical drama, it is a science-fiction or fantasy product that is set in China's past. The English-language film stars Matt Damon, who plays a European mercenary detained at the wall and joins forces with Chinese soldiers to repel the mysterious invaders.
The twitterverse exploded in sarcasm and anger.

To add insult to injury, most of the funding for the movie comes from Chinese sources. 
The Great Wall, directed by Zhang Yimou (House of Flying DaggersHero), is the most expensive Chinese film ever made. It is scheduled for U.S. release on Feb. 17, 2017 next year by Universal Pictures.

The movie was produced and largely financed by Legendary Entertainment, the U.S. company behind “Godzilla” and “Pacific Rim” that was bought by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group earlier this year. Other backers include state-backed China Film Group and Le Vision Pictures, a film arm of Beijing-based Leshi Internet Information.

Apparently the Chinese producers are not familiar with the stats that show that movies with a diverse cast, i.e. leading roles with people of color, do very well at the box office. In fact, some say, proportionately, the films do better than movies with all-white casts.