The Chinese people who have watched "Mulan" have a strong empathy with the Russians who watched the American version of "War and Peace", the French who watched "Peerless Pornstar", and the Japanese who watched "Memoirs of a Geisha".
Weibo user @hamster’s Xue Ding’er’s remarks were supported by tens of thousands of netizens. What followed was the different discussions among netizens about the "cultural appropriation" of the "Mulan" movie, coupled with the controversy between fans and fans, and the different evaluations of the film by domestic and foreign audiences. For a time, "Mulan" became the most magical movie, you don't know if it is good or not.
At that time, it was 4 days before "Mulan" was officially released in China, but you can already see the negative reviews and protests of the audience on different social networks. However, I walked into the cinema without expecting any film quality.
The live-action version of "Mulan" has made domestic audiences at a loss what to do?
To be fair, the Douban score of 4.7 points for "Mulan" is indeed a bit too low, but I can understand those audiences who give one or two stars. There is no other reason, because the content presented in the movie does not match the expectations of the audience. At the same time, as an ordinary person who grew up and lives in China, you will feel at odds with the plot and details in the movie.
"Mulan" is a movie dedicated to Chinese audiences and feminists. The heroine in the movie goes through the process of self-identification and identity identification. The mutual help between women makes Mulan go to glory. In terms of pleasing the Chinese audience, the film has actually done a lot of homework.
The two rabbits in the opening are the familiar phrase in "Mulan Ci", "Two rabbits walk next to each other, and An Neng can distinguish me as a male and female." Marrying a good family, the background setting for the glory of the family can also be set To a certain extent, it has been recognized by some female audiences, and loyalty, courage, truthfulness and filial piety are also one of the traditional qualities promoted by China.
▲ The sword that runs through the whole film is very similar to the surrounding area, and the yellow character of the iron sword makes people feel inconsistent
But there are more elements full of a sense of contradiction in the movie, and there are many non-Chinese local things that have been incorporated into the movie, which will make the audience watching the movie slowly raise a question mark.
The scene where the witch and fairy played by Gong Li mixed colorful spices in her appearance is very Indian. The details of Mulan's effort to close her waist when she dresses up are very European. The gorgeous decoration of the war horse and saber in the film is reminiscent of the France that gave birth to the luxury brand Hermès. , The design of the costumes in the movie is not in line with everyone's traditional impressions. The concubines standing in the hall make the audience who grew up watching the court drama at a loss.
In short, many expressions are not very Chinese.
If you watch it with the heart of watching a live-action Hua Mulan movie, you will most likely be disappointed. Because the plot and story in the film seem to be adapted, but it is quite different from the original.
The difficulty of having no choice but to join the army for his father has been watered down, and personal identification has become the protagonist. Obviously it is a story that was forced and helpless, but Disney filmed a heroic sense of fate. Coupled with the addition of the witch character in the plot, it turns a historical story into a fantasy story.
▲ The Royal Garden in the movie
But this is a very Disney live-action movie.
If it is not a Chinese cultural background, and it is not called Mulan, it may be well received by many Chinese audiences. But it is called Hua Mulan, and it has been promoting the IP of Hua Mulan in the early stage. The disappointment of the audience seems to be predictable.
Instead of using Hua Mulan as a promotional point, Disney might as well use the "first princess in the army" as a gimmick, which might attract more audiences.
Inescapable "cultural appropriation", inescapable misunderstanding
While Hua Mulan's domestic reputation is declining, some people are also concerned about cultural appropriation. Before discussing this issue, we need to know what "cultural appropriation" is?
Cultural misappropriation refers to when a stronger individual or cultural group does not understand, misunderstand, maliciously or harmfully interpret a weak culture when a relatively weak individual or cultural group does not understand, misunderstand, or interpret the weak culture; or make fun of, discriminate, or disrespect the weak culture; or directly adopt, The phenomenon of embezzlement, exploitation, plagiarism, or copying (declaring possession) of a weak culture.
People with louder voices have more influence, and audiences around the world are likely to hear only the loudest story, which may leave the original voice unattended. In this example, Disney’s global audience is likely to think that Mulan’s story is like this, and it makes more people think that the core of Mulan’s story is that a person must be honest in order to realize all their potential.
The 1998 "Mulan" animation film made more people aware of this IP, while several domestic film and television adaptations of Mulan could not gain the same influence globally. Since Disney has a huge fan base all over the world, we can also say that Mulan’s interpretation power is largely outside of our hands. After all, there must be fewer foreigners who know "Mulan Ci" than those who know the movie "Mulan".
And this misunderstanding does not only exist between Disney and "Mulan".
Speaking of Monkey King, almost everyone in China knows that it is Monkey King Monkey King. But in the eyes of people who know Japanese anime well, that may be the protagonist of Japanese anime "Dragon Ball", Saiyan Goku. When the domestic game "Black Myth: Wukong" released a trial clip that attracted the attention of many foreign gamers, foreign technology media commented on this game-the characters in the game are the same as the Wukong in "Dragon Ball". It's Monkey King.
Jazz itself is the soil for the existence of oppressed black musicians, so "City of Philharmonic" allowed white boys to save jazz music has also caused controversy; Hanfu itself is one of the traditional Chinese costumes, but today many people see these costumes , Most people guess they are Hanbok or kimono, because Hanbok is less well-known; in the fashion industry, many exotic designs tend to overturn, because designers mostly borrow elements instead of understanding the connotation, "Victoria's Secret" Chinese style The show is the best example.
But this is indeed a misunderstanding.
▲ "City of Philharmonic" by the hero is a jazz master
This kind of cultural appropriation appears in different fields such as culture, art, fashion, and entertainment, but the original culture that has been misinterpreted cannot change all of this.
Gucci misused the Sikh headscarf in the show, but this could not prevent the appearance of similar hats; Japanese ninjas in Hollywood movies are stubborn and stubborn, which is not all the ninja images in Japanese culture; black dreadlocks began to appear On the heads of people all over the world, black people think that these people may not understand the cultural characteristics represented by dirty braids.
▲ Picture from: "Special Forces: The Rise of Cobra"
The phrase "being beaten if you fall behind" is also applicable in cultural communication.
If you don’t have enough right to speak, your traditional story will be created by others, and the reverse output will be performed by others. In the end, other people’s things will gain more recognition.
"Mulan" is indeed cultural appropriation, but don't overcorrect
We have indeed seen many cases of cultural appropriation, but we have also seen more overcorrection.
The term cultural appropriation was first known to the Chinese as a cheongsam in 2018. That year, an American high school student with no Chinese descent chose a red cheongsam to attend the graduation prom. Later, she was accused by netizens of "My culture is not your dress." This sparked a lot of discussion at the time.
After that, when ordinary people try clothes and elements from other cultural backgrounds, they will be discussed whether this is cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation.
This is a somewhat overkilled case, because an ordinary person or individual can hardly be called a strong culture. Many people accused this high school student of not knowing the cheongsam culture to choose clothes at will, they may not know the design ideas of their own clothes. Require an ordinary person to understand the traditional cultural background when choosing products with traditional characteristics, not only is not conducive to cultural output, but also asking others for things they cannot do. It's a bit like "If you are not my race, your heart must be different."
This accusation of cultural appropriation has been further amplified by public figures.
The bikini worn by British singer Adele at the Notting Hill Carnival is believed to have stolen Jamaican culture because it is printed with the Jamaican flag. In addition, she wears Bantu knots, which are unique to black hair, and is considered to have stolen black culture. American actor Sebastian’s girlfriend uploaded photos of wearing kimono to social networks in 2018, which was considered cultural misappropriation. Jeremy Lin's dirty braids were also accused by black players of cultural appropriation.
Is culture so easy to "appropriate"? Or is their normal use put on a bigger cap?
These public figures are actually using these culturally-element commodities normally. They are not malicious and do not want to plunder the culture of a certain nation. Just like when we go to Japan, we will rent kimonos and take pictures. We are very interested in the hairstyle of dirty braids and wear cultural shirts with stars and stripes. It is hard to say that we are embezzling culture.
Because when we do these things, we do have goodwill towards these cultures, and our single choice will not have much impact on this culture.
▲ Photos of Sebastian's girlfriend being scolded
Disney's movies are different. Disney, which has distribution agencies all over the world, has many fans. The global influence of a Disney movie may be greater than that of many countries. In this case, a strong cultural group (Disney) will indeed destroy cultural subjects with a smaller voice. At least on a global scale, more people will think that this is the story.
You see more and more Mulan imitation makeup videos on YouTube and you will know how influential a successful commercial film will be on a global scale.
▲ Mulan imitation makeup of foreign imitation makeup bloggers
After the US version of "War and Peace" was released, the Soviets who were dissatisfied with the misunderstanding of the United States cost 560 million to produce the most luxurious and highly rated "War and Peace" in history. With the determination regardless of the cost, he brought back a game for his own culture.
To reject the misunderstanding and harm caused by "cultural appropriation", the best way is not to resist, but to present one's own cultural story with better works.
A work with a sufficiently high degree of completion is far more effective than resisting and condemning it.
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